Wikipedia, the 10th most frequently accessed websites for information, recently launched a campaign to raise funds for their fledgling site. Funds that were more liken unto the tune of over $6 million. Wikipedia is community driven, does not allow advertisements and relies solely on donations for its livelihood. As difficult as this sounds, and as difficult as it is to actually do, Wikipedia’s founder, Jimmy Wales, had a bright idea. He quickly discovered he had to be innovative in finding ways to fund such a popular and necessary addition to internet resources for the masses. And what better way to make his appeal than through the channels of the internet?
Wikipedia’s Founder’s Video Interview
(Courtesy of Advertising Age)
Even if some high-brow education supporters scoff at “asking” for money, Wikipedia understands that it simply takes money to operate. And so as not to offend or discourage visitors by bombarding them with advertiser’s marketing tactics, they decided to forgo this plan. When you visit the site, you get nothing but pure, unadulterated resources and information that is not tainted by prolific advertiser’s.Will donors be slow to give or will they be readily excited to further Mr. Wales project? This too concerns the folks at Wikipedia:
The Wikimedia Foundation’s executive director, Sue Gardner, said that like others in the nonprofit sector, she is concerned about how the sluggish economy could hurt donations. But with supporters around the world, she said, “I think we are buffered and insulated a little bit by the breadth and depth of our donor pool.”
Wikipedia must have funds to operate, as does every other online business that expects to turn a profit and stay successful. But just what is and what is not acceptable in terms of fundraising? Should companies ask for donations or should they be self-sufficient? Does it detract from the business’ image because they ask? Will donors respond favorably or simply ignore the requests?
I applaud Mr. Wales for having the courage, plan of action and wherewithal to make such an appeal to the masses. Because in the end, it doesn’t matter how you get the money, just as long as it is gotten (legally, of course) and that the business can continue serving the customers and keeping everyone happy. That is what it’s all about isn’t it?
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