The Wikimedia Foundation just announced successful fundraiser. In two months over 230 000 people donated money for the Foundation, resulting $US 8 million. This is a great result. With a simple math, the average giving was something like 30-40 dollars.
I find it amazing, that almost a quarter million people are committed to the mission of the Foundation, in a level that they were willing to give money for it. Interesting thing with the Foundation is also that there isn’t memberships, like in most NGOs, but an annual fundraiser. Because of this the Foundation has to deserve its existence every year in the eyes of the public.
This puts a lot of pressure on everyone working with the Foundation: from the paid staff to the hundreds of thousands of volunteers (I am a volunteer). We should all be aware about our mission and to think hard how we can achieve it.
“The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally.
In collaboration with a network of chapters, the Foundation provides the essential infrastructure and an organizational framework for the support and development of multilingual wiki projects and other endeavors which serve this mission. The Foundation will make and keep useful information from its projects available on the Internet free of charge, in perpetuity.” (Mission statement from the Wikimedia Foundation)
For me the key words in the mission are “empower and engage people”, “around the world”, “educational content”, “globally”, “multilingual”, “free of charge” and “in perpetuity”. Huh!
The people involved in the Wikimedia movement must be self-critical. The fact that Wikipedia is today relatively good source of education content in 20 European languages, Japanese, Chinese and Korean does not mean that it would be already “around the world” or “global” (if you want to know more about the Wikimedia’s global reach you may check the statistics yourself from the brilliant stat.wikimedia.org –site at: http://stats.wikimedia.org).
It is reasonable to say that we are not even close to achieve the mission. The mater is, however, well recognized by the Foundation and actually it is right now developing a five-year (2010-2015) strategic plan for the Wikimedia movement. You may participate to the process in here: http://strategy.wikimedia.org/
I think that the Wikimedia movement, and the Foundation supporting it, should aim to have exponential growth. Only with a strong growth it may reach its mission: be truly global movement.
Why Wikimedia then should be a global movement?
I think that the world greatest challenges of the next hundred years — from poverty to climate change and humanitarian disasters — can be solved only with education. We know that the current educational system(s), the formal school education, is not the solution. It simply do not scale. In a global scale, systems based on schools will not produce “educated people”. We need systems that are better in scaling.
Is Wikimedia able to scale? I think it holds the potential to scale.
Still, it would mean that next coming years the number of people donating for the Foundation, should be in millions and the Governments’ should include Wikimedia in their multilateral development cooperation “payroll”. I think it would payoff.
In the Wikimania 2009 Erik Möller, the Deputy Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, gave a talk promoting the objective “to make Wikimedia a 300 Million People Movement By 2020“. In the presentation there are many great and practical ideas for scaling. Check out the great presentation (video) and the slides.