Wikipedia continues to ask for donations


Wikipedia looks for more donations from its users.

Shari Boiskin, For Eastside

When the holidays sweep in, so does donation time. Toys for Tots, food kitchens, the Salvation Army and other various companies and organizations begin to ask for money. Some websites even take donations. Wikipedia, however, has started to ask for donations all year round.

“Commerce is fine. Advertising is not evil. But it doesn’t belong here. Not in Wikipedia,” said Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales in 2010. Opinions about Wikipedia have changed since then. Wikipedia now makes millions of dollars off of donations every year.

Wikipedia claims that the company relies on these donations to update its software and to pay its employees. However, Wikimedia reveals that it only hires 224 people and in the 2013-2014 year, collected 50.1 million dollars.

There are many critics who say that Wikipedia collects money for other reasons. One critic goes as far as to suggest that Wales uses the donated money to “buy cameras and travel to pop concerts.”

However, many people do donate to Wikipedia. New York Magazine talked to four Wikipedia donors and asked them why they donate. Their reasons were all similar: Wikipedia had helped them, and they wanted to help the website in return.

When students at East were asked why they think Wikipedia asks for donations, there was a similar theme.

“Schools won’t let students use [Wikipedia] because there can be false information on it,” Jackie Rappaport (’18) said, “The website is dying so it wants help and money.”

“I did not know Wikipedia was taking donations,” said Rachel Ackerman (’16). “I guess it’s taking donations because it needs more funding considering less and less people are using [it]…because it’s not a legitimate source.”

Whether the website needs the money or not, it will likely continue to fundraise.