If you’ve been on Wikipedia anytime in the last year (and possibly before), you’ve seen the message in the header asking for support of the site. I’ve seen it probably a hundred times since I’m always on it. But it wasn’t until a few days ago that I decided to click the banner. It sent me to a page asking for a monetary donation to help keep Wikipedia free.
When I do donate I’m very selective of where my money goes, and being unemployed this is even more true. But when I am freely utilizing content, obtaining information, or downloading a program that will increase my productivity, I feel it’s my obligation to show appreciation and thanks for the effort of someone else that has made my life a little easier.
I decided to donate a small nominal amount of $5. It wasn’t much, but you know what they say about every penny/dollar counting. I figured $5 was more than they would’ve gotten had I decided not to donate.
Less than an hour later, I got an automated thank you email from Sue Gardner, Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director. I normally don’t even bother reading these types of emails because they’re so formal and monotonous, and I already know what they’re going to say. But with the 5 line email preview option on iPhone, I was able to glance at the message, and what I saw made me open it.
Although I knew it was an auto-generated message, it was written as though Sue was personally talking to me. And it felt that way, too. I really believed her own heartfelt gratitude. It’s very possible that Sue is the one who drafted this email; and I have no doubt that she might have.
You are amazing, thank you so much for donating to the Wikimedia Foundation!
This is how we pay our bills — it’s people like you, giving five dollars, twenty dollars, a hundred dollars. My favourite donation last year was five pounds from a little girl in England, who had persuaded her parents to let her donate her allowance. It’s people like you, joining with that girl, who make it possible for Wikipedia to continue providing free, easy access to unbiased information, for everyone around the world. For everyone who helps pay for it, and for those who can’t afford to help. Thank you so much.
I know it’s easy to ignore our appeals, and I’m glad that you didn’t. From me, and from the tens of thousands of volunteers who write Wikipedia: thank you for helping us make the world a better place. We will use your money carefully, and I thank you for your trust in us.
Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director