Wikipedia Plea, Jimmy Wales Plea for More Money in 2011

The decision is as easy as 1, 2, 3

Well, if you enjoyed my rant about Wikipedia’s Plea For Money last year, you are in for a real surprise this year!  I’ll show you how great things went for Wikipedia last year while most normal businesses were suffering.  Let’s start with the basic question…


Wiki Plea for Donations Picture
Wiki Plea for Donations Banner

note: Just wanted to warn you before you invested too much time… there is a new version (for 2012). The most recent How Much Money Does Wikipedia Need (2012) and if you felt like reading them all go back one to Why Should We Donate To Wikipedia (2010)

1.)  WHY does Wikipedia need our money?

To protect and sustain Wikipedia.  (source)     Fair enough, Wikipedia is a nice website, it offers a lot without advertisements so I can understand wanting to protect it and keep it running.  I’ve used Wikipedia, however I don’t donate and don’t plan to.

2.)  How much money does Wikipedia have?  What are they worth?

The balance sheet is the gold standard for determining the financial health of a company so that is what we’ll use here.  We need to see how much danger Wikipedia is in not being able to sustain operations.  To put things into perspective I’ve included the financial health of two well known US companies, General Motors & Pfizer.

General Motors was founded in 1908 and is headquartered in Detroit, Michigan. The company operates as a subsidiary of United States Department of The Treasury. GM operates as a global automaker.

Pfizer is a US based bio-pharmaceutical company that offers prescription medicines for humans and animals worldwide for dozens of diseases including Alzheimer, Epilepsy, Renal Cell Carcinoma & Life-long bleeding disorder… see all

All amounts are in Millions of dollars, based on most current balance sheet data, Wikipedia has a net worth greater than General Motors & Pfizer combined!  Wikipedia’s net worth is just short of doubling every year.  From $8.6 million in 2009 to over $26 million in 2011!

Company 2009 2010 2011
Wikipedia $8.6 M $15.4 M $26.1 M
General Motors -$23.9 M -$7.4 M $4.3 M
Pfizer  -$20.3 M -$13.6 M -$10.9 M*

* Quarterly Report used — yearly unavailable


Hold on a second…  Can this be right?

Wikipedia is just about doubling their net worth every year, and they employ less than 100 employees,  somethings is fishy there.   They are worth about $32 Million more than Pfizer & GM combined.  It looks like Wikipedia is plenty protected and sustainable, but let’s look at the consequences should we lose it!

WHAT IF we lost _______ ?


  • You would be forced to use search engines more, dig harder for info.
  • The US economy would lose under 100 jobs.
  • The cost of advertising on the internet would drop helping all companies trying to advertise and competing (bidding the price up) with Wikipedia for keywords on Google Adwords.
  • The millions donated to Wikipedia could be used as vouchers for medication for those who cannot afford helping sustain Pfizer and other pharms.
  • The millions donated to Wikipedia could be used as incentive to GM and other automakers to develop alternative fuels and reduce our dependence on oil.


  • We may lose many life saving medicines.
  • The US economy would crumble with the loss of 106,500 full-time jobs
  • All humans and animals would expect a possible loss of life quality.

General Motors a subsidiary of United States Department of The Treasury

  • We lose one of the icons of American auto makers.
  • More imported automobiles.
  • US economy suffers loss of 210,000 jobs.
  • US Treasury possibly weakened due to investment in GM


Just a little about me…

Let me say that I am all for donating to charity and helping others.  I even made my own a plea for donations once on this site via blog post.  My plea, to get people to help the Red Cross with the crisis in Japan happened to around when I was unemployed and the job situation was bad, we were nearly bankrupt, our electric & water had been shut off, and my family were sleeping in a tent in the back-yard because it was too hot inside the house.  This website got shut down (for a few days) because I couldn’t afford hosting fees.  The reason I share these things is not to make me look like a saint, but rather show that I do have compassion and believe in charity.

Wales said, “I got a lot of funny looks ten years ago when I started talking to people about Wikipedia.”

Not just then…


Wikimedia Foundation Triva

The foundation is exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and from state income tax under Chapter 220.13 of the Florida Statues and Sections 23701(d) of Revenue and Taxation Code of the State of California.

What is Wikipedia spending money on now?  Note: I could not find the report for 2011 and will update data when it is available.

Interesting Summary Data for spending in 2010

  • Travel Expenses per Employee: $19,860.96
  • Average Employee Wage & Salary: $146,180.67
  • Internet Hosting Costs $1,056,703 yet they received .5Million in donated hosting and bandwidth
  • Mysterious Expense Called “Operating” with no other details: $3.846 Million up by over 300% from 2009

So where were the increases from 2009 to 2010?

“Operating”?  Expense was the biggest expense increase at over 300% from 2009 to 2010

$1.2 Million in 2009  more than tripled to $3.8 Million in 2010

The one expense that they don’t provide detail on bloated by 300%

** keep in mind we’ve already paid the lease, wages & salary, hosting, losses on lease sublet, in-kind expenses, Travel, and “Other”

Brand New Expenses for 2010 – Stuff They must have needed

Special event expense: $70,407

Awards & Grants: $208,662

Supporting Details of Data Above

Travel Expenses for 2010: $476,663

$19,860.96 per employee!

Higher than 99% of the real corporate world (e.g. NON non-profit organizations), the one that Wiki competes against for SERP position.

Wages & Salary

Salary & Wages for 2010: $3,508,336 of which was broken into three categories Projects, G&A, Fundraising however it was all recorded as Salary and Wages

Salary & Wages for 2010:

$146,180.67 Average Employee Salary

Don’t you love non-profit organizations?   They are one of the BEST places to work.

3.) Why We Should NOT Donate to Wikipedia?

The economy is in the trash, people are being thrown out of their houses in record numbers, the jobless rate is at an unsustainable rate, the US government has gone so far into debt that they have surpassed the threshold at which not any government with paper currency has EVER recovered.   Many European countries are experiencing financial distress and we are on the brink of a world-wide economic collapse.

Some asked me last year, what does Wikipedia have to do with the national debt.  My answer is that it doesn’t have anything to do with it, but my point was there are far more important causes to donate your money,  help feed the starving,  people in need of medication,  invest in alternative energy sources,  invest in education…

Lets end my personal RANT with Mr. Wales final plea for money… blah, blah, blah, I enjoy the part about  “just enough” people decide to give… just enough to double our net worth every year and increase our benefits & pay per employee.

If everyone reading this donated $10, we would only have to fundraise for one day a year. But not everyone can or will donate. And that’s fine. Each year just enough people decide to give.

This year, please consider making a donation of $5, $20, $50 or whatever you can to protect and sustain Wikipedia.


Jimmy Wales

Wikipedia Founder

Thanks for the Wiki Mr. Wales.  By the way, you should have done your homework before the plea, sincerity is one of the most difficult things to fake.

A Suggestion

Put the darn ads on Wikipedia nobody cares.  You’ll generate so much revenue from the ads that you won’t know what to do with it, being a non-profit.  Wikipedia can take some of the extra ad-revenue spread it around the world where it is needed most.

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Rich (aka DisplacedGuy)

p.s.  To my beloved readers. I have avoided topics related to politics and other sensitive areas until now.   I apologize if this offends anyone.


8 Responses

  1. Thanks for the summary bud. Almost had my paypal out for these suckas. I’d donate teh $10 to your blog, if you promised to donate some to google 😛

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