The Wikimedia Foundation kicked off its first-quarter fundraiser last Friday, with a goal of raising $75,000 (all figures US dollars) over the next three weeks. While this marked an increase from the $50,000 target in the previous fundraising drive, the first wave of donations had the Foundation well on its way toward its goals.
Preparations for the fundraiser were discussed last Tuesday during an open Board meeting, after which the final details were arranged. As usual, the drive relies on sitewide notices to appeal for donations, with links to a fundraising letter drafted by Wikimedia CFO Daniel Mayer (with a little help from other Wikipedians). Mayer was also providing regular reports to the mailing list with each day's results.
At press time, the progress bar on the fundraising page showed that the amount needed to reach the goal had already dropped below $50,000. In just over three days, donors had come up with more than 35% of the desired amount. The initial pace of donations was nearly $10,000 per day, and seemed to be holding fairly steady at this rate at least over the first few days. By comparison, only a single day of donations even approached that level during the fourth-quarter fund drive Archived 2005-04-04 at the Wayback Machine in 2004.
The three-week period is also longer than the previous fundraiser, which only lasted for two weeks. However, a note added to the fundraising letter indicated that if the $75,000 target was reached early, which seems possible, the sitewide messages could be removed so as to reduce the intrusion. (They will be up for one week at minimum, but even at the current pace it would take somewhat over a week for the fundraiser to reach its goal.)
In response to complaints about reliance on PayPal, Mayer indicated that plans to handle credit card donations directly were underway, and would hopefully be in place by the next fundraiser. He said PayPal would remain available as an alternate source of payment.