Wikipedia:Fundraising/2022 banners

Welcome

The Wikimedia Foundation fundraising team has drafted new messages, written with ideas from volunteers. We're here to co-create this messaging with the community with an aim to test some of the new banners this weekend to prepare for next week's campaign. Please share your ideas for how we can improve our message to readers in the campaign this year.

Previous message and changesEdit

For reference, here's an example of the banner message the team ran in early November 2022:

To all our readers in the UK,

Please don’t scroll past this. This Friday, for the 1st time recently, we interrupt your reading to humbly ask you to support Wikipedia’s independence. Only 2% of our readers give. Many think they’ll give later, but then forget. If you donate just £2, or whatever you can this Friday, Wikipedia could keep thriving for years. We don't run ads, and we never have. We rely on our readers for support. We serve millions of people, but we run on a fraction of what other top sites spend. Wikipedia is special. It is like a library or a public park where we can all go to learn. We ask you, humbly: please don’t scroll away. If Wikipedia has given you £2 worth of knowledge this year, take a minute to donate. Show the world that access to neutral information matters to you. Thank you.

Here are specific changes to the messages that the team has implemented based on community discussion in the past two weeks. Thank you to all those who suggested changes.

Extended content
Change Suggested by
Added: "incredible sister projects" to the message. Ciridae, BilledMammal, Ineffablebookkeeper,  WereSpielChequers
Added: a signature at the end attributing banner to "The Wikimedia Foundation" Ineffablebookkeeper, AllyD, Kudpung
Removed: "Please don't scroll past this. This DAY, for the 1st time recently, we interrupt your reading to humbly ask you to support Wikipedia's independence." Nosebagbear, Andreas, BilledMammal, AndyTheGrump, XenonNSMB, Intothatdarkness, Ken Arromdee, Danre98 and Scott
Removed: "Only 2% of our readers give. Many think they'll give later, but then forget." Ineffablebookkeeper, XenonNSMB, Blaze Wolf
Removed: "Many think they'll give later, but then forget." Ineffablebookkeeper and anonymous feedback sent directly
Removed: "For the 1st time recently"   Geni and anonymous feedback sent directly
Removed: The second mention of the day of the week Anonymous feedback sent directly
Removed: "We serve millions of people on a fraction of what other top sites spend." Anonymous feedback sent directly
Edited: "Protects Wikipedia" Andreas, BilledMammal, AndyTheGrump, XenonNSMB, Intothatdarkness, Ken Arromdee, Danre98, Scott
Edited: "If you give £2, or whatever you can" to "If you give £2, or whatever you can comfortably afford" Anonymous feedback sent directly
Edited: "Millions of readers" to "hundreds of millions of readers" WereSpielChequers
Edited: Replaced "reliable, neutral information" with "credible, neutral information" Anonymous feedback sent directly

In addition to the changes above implemented from the comments in the RfC and direct feedback, you can see other changes the team has made in the past year in direct response to community feedback.

Extended content
  • The message more prominently highlights Wikipedia as a place of learning and knowledge.
  • A message from past campaigns was reintroduced: "Wikipedia is something special. It is like a library or a public park where we can all go to learn."
  • "Resources to help the Wikimedia Foundation advance the cause of free knowledge in the world." was added.
  • The line "98% of our readers don't give; they simply look the other way" was removed
  • The word "reliable" was removed from the message.
  • Our vision was more prominently highlighted: "We are passionate about our model because at its core, Wikipedia belongs to you. We want to make sure everyone on the planet has equal access to knowledge."
  • "Wikipedia is a place to learn, not a place for advertising" was removed
  • An "I already donated" feature was added in all banners
  • Extra information was been added on the thank you confirmation page to help donors dismiss banners across all their devices.
  • The Foundation discontinued the direct acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of donating after a global community RfC.


New banner messages for feedback & idea generationEdit

Here are five versions for the desktop large banners for feedback and new message generation. We’ll use the ideas created here to implement into the other banners (Desktop small, Mobile large, and Mobile small) as well.

For each message:

  • What do you like and do you have any alternative versions we could test?
  • What would you change and how?

Edit

To all our readers in the U.S.,

This Tuesday your support is requested by the nonprofit that hosts Wikipedia and other free knowledge projects. If you can comfortably afford it this year, please join the readers who donate. These donations not only help to support the technology that makes our projects possible but and also provide legal protections that help to advance the cause of free knowledge in the world and expand information access in countries struggling with censorship. Today, we invite you to donate $2 or whatever seems right. Show the world that access to credible, neutral information matters to you. Thank you. — The Wikimedia Foundation

Credit to Kusma for the concept "...expand information access in countries struggling with censorship"

Feedback (Banner 1)Edit

What do you like and do you have any alternative versions we could test? What would you change and how?

  • This version focusses on technology and legal protections, and I particularly like a mention of problems of censorship. I'd like to see a version of this that also highlights support for the local chapters and other affiliate organizations!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:47, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
  • These donations not only help to support the technology that makes our projects possible but also legal protections that help to ... This sentence needs work; it doesn't flow well. Otherwise, fine! --Andreas JN466 10:57, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
    I have provided suggested copy edits above. It is still unclear whether the "donations ... help to support ..., and also provide ..., and expand ..." (the donations do three things: support tech, provide legal protections, and expand info access) or the "donations ... help to support ..., and also provide ... that help ... and expand ..." (two things: support tech, and provide legal protections that both help to advance knowledge and expand information access). It still needs clarification. Two sentences are probably needed. I support the overall message here, which seems a lot more honest than the previous versions. – Jonesey95 (talk) 17:30, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
    legal protections is a little off-putting, i pay enough to my own lawyer to feel happy about paying for others. Could this be turned into more of a defending a right to receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers? fiveby(zero) 19:02, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
    Seconding some version of the "defending rights" language as opposed to "legal protections" - I think it reads stronger and is a bit clearer than "legal protections." ThadeusOfNazereth(he/him)Talk to Me! 04:41, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
  • "Credible" (this applies to Banner 4 as well) – I realise this word is a replacement for "reliable", but to me (I'm British, in case it's an ENGVAR thing) "credible" has the ring of "plausible", and seems like a fairly weak statement. Having said that, I can't think of a better word that would make sense in this context ("verifiable" would be the best fit, but this may be something of a term d'art not well understood by readers). It might be best to move away from synonyms of "reliable"; if I were writing this banner, I'd replace "credible, neutral" with some variant of "independent and unbiased", since I think this is the real strength of the collaborative model. Sojourner in the earth (talk) 07:44, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
    Agree; "independent and unbiased" is more appropriate. "Credible" is not appropriate because it has connotations with creating arguments that are "convincing" and "persuading", which is something that as a neutral encyclopedia we are opposed to. SilkTork (talk) 12:07, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
  • I am curious about "and expand information access in countries struggling with censorship". What is the intention here? What has WMF already done in this direction? I assume we are not talking about interfering with the laws, cultures, and mores of other countries? SilkTork (talk) 11:36, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
    "the Wikimedia Foundation has made restoring access to Wikipedia in Turkey one of our highest priorities" fiveby(zero) 17:23, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
  • purely focusing on the text its fine although the reading age may be higher than ideal.©Geni (talk) 15:20, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
  • Note. I had comments here which have disappeared. SilkTork (talk) 21:14, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
  • I like that it mentions both the technology and the legal work. Both feel concrete. I'm not opposed to “defending the rights” angle, but note that legal protections vs defending rights may appeal to various readers differently. Perhaps a case for running two variants. I like the part about countries struggling with censorship – though this has been true for a long time, it's very much in the public consciousness right now with the Ukraine war and protests in China. ⁓ Pelagicmessages ) 20:06, 28 November 2022 (UTC)
  • “support is requested by the nonprofit that hosts …” Whilst true, I think we could lose a lot of readers at the first sentence. How about This Tuesday please support the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that hosts Wikipedia and other free knowledge projects. If you can comfortably afford it this year, join the readers who donate. But then having “— The Wikimedia Foundation” at the end may be made redundant. Alternatively, “please support the nonprofit that hosts …” (active instead of passive). ⁓ Pelagicmessages ) 20:06, 28 November 2022 (UTC)
    It looks like the current version of this banner reads "Hi, this Tuesday your support is requested by the Wikimedia Foundation." The passive voice is pretty weak there. I would try for the more direct "Hi, this Tuesday the Wikimedia Foundation requests your support." Pinging JBrungs (WMF), with thanks for incorporating a lot of our feedback. – Jonesey95 (talk) 15:34, 29 November 2022 (UTC)

Edit

To all our readers in the U.S.,

Today marks the first day of our annual fundraiser. The Wikimedia projects, which include Wikipedia and 12 sister sites, are something special. Like a library or a public park where we can all go to learn—a refuge for the mind. Each year, we ask readers to pitch in whatever they can comfortably afford to make access to free knowledge possible. Most people don't give, and that's totally ok. That's the beauty of it—the work and donations of a few make something beautiful possible for everyone in the world. We are financially secure because each year, enough people choose to donate $2 or whatever seems right. If you'd like to help this year, give whatever you like. Thank you. — The Wikimedia Foundation

Feedback (Banner 2)Edit

What do you like and do you have any alternative versions we could test? What would you change and how?

  • I will be interested to see the performance of this one, and to iterate on it. It very strongly moves away from any hint of "crisis" messaging, and states quite plainly both that we are financially secure *and* that the reason for this is small donors. It's worth remembering as we reflect on banners and fundraising strategy that the alternatives to small donor fundraising are quite unappealing really - major donors are great, but I doubt many people want to see us beholden to large corproate donors or high net worth individuals. So if this one performs poorly, I think we should really invest time and thought in trying to isolate what about it turns people off and try really hard to find a way to make this kind of "we are financially secure because of your support" work well.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:50, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
  • My initial impression of this one is positive; I think it has addressed the objections.
I would suggest one testing one variation where we note that Wikipedia and the sister sites are available in hundreds of languages. BilledMammal (talk) 11:01, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
  • I like it. --Andreas JN466 11:03, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
  • I especially like the line, "We are financially secure because each year, enough people choose to donate $2 or whatever seems right," which I think is a much better way of phrasing that messaging than we've had in previous banners. Levivich (talk) 16:25, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
  • Needs copy editing. I would write "twelve" even though numbers over ten are typically written as numbers. Also, the bit starting with "Like" is not a sentence. A colon before "like" would be a quick fix. I would change "Most people don't give, and that's totally ok." to "Many people can't afford to give, and that's totally OK." That would change the message framing to describing not giving as a norm to acknowledging that a few globally wealthy people can afford to give. – Jonesey95 (talk) 17:34, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
My only concern about that is that we really don't want to be funded by "globally wealthy people" - that's the independence bit. Globally wealthy people are more likely to make unpleasant demands. I'm also not sure that language like "can't afford to give" falls into the guilt-tripping mode that we want to avoid. A huge number of people - far more than ever donate (and that's totally ok!) can actually afford 20 bucks or 20 euros or 20 pounds. I don't think we want to hint that not being able to afford to give is the only acceptable reason not to give - it's just, you know, if you want to give, and you can afford to give, then please do.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:48, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
I think we are talking about the same thing. "Globally wealthy" people are the ones who have a spare 20 pounds lying around. The vast majority of people do not. The bottom 50% of the wealth distribution own something like 2% of global wealth. I don't think these messages are intended for those humans. – Jonesey95 (talk) 00:01, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
Oh I see, yes, I thought by "globally wealthy" you meant people like Zuckerberg or Bezos. One step short of Galactic Wealth, haha. Anyway, yes now I understand you and we agree on that point. I think "Many people can't afford to give, and that's totally OK" is a good one to test because at least some people will see it and think, oh, alright then, 20 quid I do have that, I can pitch in. Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:58, 1 December 2022 (UTC)
  • This is my favorite message of the bunch and is the sort of thing that would get me to donate if I didn't already. ThadeusOfNazereth(he/him)Talk to Me! 04:42, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
  • I think the "library or a public park" wording needs work, both here and in Banner 4. I don't go to a public park to learn. I assume the inspiration for this line comes from the Jimmy appeal quoted below; it makes sense there, but here the idea is too condensed. At a minimum, I'd suggest "Like a library or a public park; a space where we can all go to learn." (Although as Jonesey95 notes, this is still a sentence fragment.) Sojourner in the earth (talk) 08:08, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
  • I like this one and I appreciate that the WMF is moving towards more collaboration with this EnWP community. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 15:11, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
  • All five versions are significant improvements over previous versions, but this is the one that I like the best. I would substitute "museum" for "public park". I like the mention of beauty as well. Free knowledge is a beautiful thing. Cullen328 (talk) 01:28, 27 November 2022 (UTC)
  • Suggestion: Reword "The Wikimedia projects, which include Wikipedia and 12 sister sites, " to something more like "Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects". --Yair rand (talk) 21:34, 27 November 2022 (UTC)
    That seems fair, although I think "sister sites" or "sister projects" can remain, I just feel listing the number feels odd. I don't mind it, it just feels like it would be less effective. Nosebagbear (talk) 13:10, 28 November 2022 (UTC)
  • The phrase "the work and donations of a few make something beautiful possible for everyone in the world" really grabbed me. It subtly acknowledges the volunteers alongside the donors. I like that these proposals are inspiring, not “humbly” pleading nor invoking a sense of crisis. Are we doomed to a situation where only the crisis-talk of previous campaigns will bring in the dollars? I agree with Jimmy, if positive messaging doesn't work, can Fundraising figure out why. And please, please share the findings. Of course marketers and fundraisers don't want to reveal their secret sauce, but Wikipedia and other projects are built on an ethos of open collaboration: openness is needed to maintain healthy communities and avoid conflicts like the current one. ⁓ Pelagicmessages ) 21:03, 28 November 2022 (UTC)
  • I prefer “annual fundraiser” over “for the first time recently”. Apologies to whomever wrote the latter phrase, but as a reader it feels a little off to me, though I can't articulate why. I think it doesn't hurt to point out we only do this periodically, in contrast to something like The Guardian which runs a donation message at the bottom of the all the articles all the time. Their approach is okay because it's at the bottom of the article; where we put an intrusive banner at the top, we can balance that by pointing out that it's for a limited time. ⁓ Pelagicmessages ) 21:03, 28 November 2022 (UTC)
  • This is so much better than any of the previous banners (still looking at the others). I don't really see why it's important for the reader to know that this is the first day of the fundraisers. This no longer seems to be negative and like "if you don't donate you can say goodbye to Wikipedia" or imply that the WMF needs money. Instead it actually goes for the complete oppostie and basically says, "Hey, thank you for your help. You've helped Wikipedia stay alive and given us the money to do so. It'd be nice if you donate but you don't have to and we won't hunt you down for it". I really love this more positive tone. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 03:53, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
    Although one criticism I do have is that it states "The Wikimedia projects, which include Wikipedia and 12 sister sites". As an average reader I Feel they may find this a bit confusing and it may make them think there are only 12 other Wikipedias (since most people aren't aware of things such as commons, meta, etc). Maybe just removing the number and replacing it with "various" would work better. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 04:06, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
  • I have been lurking on the banner discussion page, and I want to say two things about that banner.
First, I love it, and I would encourage other editors to not bikeshed it to death.
Second, I am surprised that it is even on the table. I will post a question about its performance on the talk page. TigraanClick here for my talk page ("private" contact) 18:05, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
I also love this banner, and hope something like it can be part of regular campaigns, even if it is not the best performing. It is informative, sets context well, and welcomes readers into the community of practice and mutual support that makes all of this possible: the way you might a family member. – SJ + 22:02, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
  • Could be perfected by some small changes that have been suggested, but gives good feels and is just so much better than the old shit that even as it is it is a massive improvement. It actually makes me want to donate after years of resenting the crap we were bombarded with. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 16:04, 1 December 2022 (UTC)
  • Appreciating the sentiment, but I think "Most people don't give, and that's totally ok" is counter-productive. The bandwagon effect is pretty strong, and telling people that loads of others don't donate might make them switch off immediately. A statistic on how many people donated previously may actually be more compelling. JeffUK 13:59, 5 January 2023 (UTC)
    @JeffUK: There is an interview that sheds light on that – apparently, it's a data-based decision: "One of the big things that’s unique about our fundraising, that I think marketers are always really surprised by this, is that the concept of social proof…. In our messages, we found that telling people they’re exceptional, that they’re one of the 8 million that give, actually encourages more people to give than telling them that everybody’s doing it, and you should, too. And that goes against a lot of conventional wisdom." Andreas JN466 15:36, 5 January 2023 (UTC)

Edit

To all our readers in the U.S.,

Today marks day 1 of our fundraiser. It is a great honor for us to ask you to support our non-profit dedicated to free knowledge. Hundreds of millions of people rely on Wikipedia and the other free information websites hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation each day, but maintaining them and expanding free knowledge globally has a cost. Today, we invite you to donate $2 or whatever you can comfortably afford. Help us support free knowledge and expand the reach of these incredible resources. We want everyone to have equal access to knowledge. Be part of the movement: support us with a donation or support us with an edit. We thank you for your time. — The Wikimedia Foundation

Feedback (Banner 3)Edit

What do you like and do you have any alternative versions we could test? What would you change and how?

  • Perhaps because I live in the UK, I immediately noticed "honor" versus "honour". I don't know if we have the ability to geotarget spelling and I really really don't know if it matters all that much! UPDATE: Ignore this comment, I see it says "readers in the U.S."!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:51, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
    • “readers in the U.S.” would come from geotargeting; it is possible to apply that to honor/honour so it’s a good thing you pointed it out as the need might have been missed otherwise. BilledMammal (talk) 10:32, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
  • Like it; "Support us with an edit" is a nice touch. --Andreas JN466 11:10, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
  • I like it. Thanks Bilorv. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 16:07, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
  • I fixed the punctuation where there was a comma splice near the end. I would like to see the number spelled out ("one", not "1"). – Jonesey95 (talk) 17:39, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
  • This is a far cry from my original suggestion:
    Wikipedia is facing a crisis: a crisis of volunteer shortage. A typical reader views [x] articles and spends [y] hours per year on Wikipedia. Consider giving just one hour of your time signing up with an account and clicking on [link e.g. user homepage for SuggestedEdits tasks] to help us fix the errors in our articles and give back to the website that wants to make the sum of all human knowledge freely accessible. You can also give financial donations to the Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia and other educational websites, by clicking [here]. Read our [donation FAQ] for more.
    You can see some rationale here.
    As such, I would not like any credit in this banner, nor for it to be implied that I endorse it. — Bilorv (talk) 22:27, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
I've removed the credit mentioned above. I agree there's a lot we could explore in using banners and other spaces to invite readers to edit. The experiment we ran with the Growth team in Latin America, India, and South Africa a few months ago was an encouraging step and I think there's definitely more to explore here, in preparation and collaboration with communities. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 06:14, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
Thank you for removing the mention of my username, MeganHernandez (WMF). — Bilorv (talk) 10:34, 27 November 2022 (UTC)
  • I like this one as well, especially the last line. I don't think the "crisis" language is necessary w/regards to volunteering and I worry that it would feed into the same sort of worries people have voiced about the "financial crisis" language. ThadeusOfNazereth(he/him)Talk to Me! 04:44, 26 November 2022 (UTC)

Edit

To all our readers in the U.S.,

Wikipedia is a phenomenal resource, but most content is available only in languages spoken by Earth's wealthiest residents. Help us expand our offerings by providing important funds that allow us to operate our programs, such as those that reach new readers across the globe—particularly in places that others tend to overlook. Wikipedia is something special. It is like a library or a public park where we can all go to learn. We want to make sure everyone on the planet has equal access to knowledge, for free. Today, we invite you to donate $2 or whatever you can comfortably afford. We're here to advance the cause of free knowledge in the world. Show the world that access to credible, neutral information matters to you. Thank you. — The Wikimedia Foundation

Credit to Ajpolino for the concept for the first two sentences.

Feedback (Banner 4)Edit

What do you like and do you have any alternative versions we could test? What would you change and how?

  • I like how this clearly highlights both "new readers" and "non-English". I know from reading the big RfC that there are some in the community (but not many) who think that fundraising on English Wikipedia for the rest of the world is wrong - but I don't share that view. I also think it can be inspiring and worthwhile to remind people that we have a global charitable mission, as opposed to just being a great website that you use to look up whatever you can think about in English!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:54, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
  • I am not sure whether the level of WMF spending in the countries concerned, even if you add any US spending devoted to such efforts to the total, warrants focusing on it to the exclusion of everything else. Also, "We" should be replaced with "The Wikimedia Foundation". --Andreas JN466 12:24, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
  • I like that it makes English-speaking readers aware of Wikipedia's size disparity between languages—most laypeople I speak to think the articles are just translated into different languages, rather than built separately by different communities according to different policies and guidelines. Internationalism is a core value of our community. But I don't like the factual accuracy, given the proportion of WMF money that goes to U.S. salaries (not saying this is a bad thing, but saying that it is a fact). — Bilorv (talk) 22:21, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
  • I appreciate (and agree with) Jimbo's comment above but would also like there to be a distinction between "we" as the English Wikipedia and "we" as the WMF. ThadeusOfNazereth(he/him)Talk to Me! 04:46, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
  • The ambiguity of "we" seems apt. Making the sum of human knowledge available to everyone has been our goal as Wikipedians since before there was a WMF. – SJ + 03:06, 27 November 2022 (UTC)
  • "but most content is available only in languages spoken by Earth's wealthiest residents" this phrase kinda bothers me as it seems to sort of imply English is only spoken by those with lot of money which is definitely not true. Maybe it could be reworded to say something like "but most content is available only in the most common language: English." which directly says what language you are referring to. Also, 2 of the top 10 wealthiest people (according to Forbes which I am taking from the article The World's Billionaires) aren't from (exclusively) english speaking countries. Bernard Arnault and his family are from France, and Mukesh Ambani is from India, neither of which are primarily English speaking (I specify primarily since India's official languages are Hindi and English. So this doesn't really hold up anyways. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 04:02, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
    I took the meaning here to be different, not about billionaires at all, but about the general wealth of societies. Definitely French fits just as well as English into that. I would imagine if you drew a graph of "articles per capita" versus "GDP per capita" by language there's a pretty good correlation, with some interesting outliers of course. Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:03, 1 December 2022 (UTC)
    Yes I knew it wasn't just billionaires (it's just that the top 10 wealthiest people just happen to be billionaires). But I do see your point in that it's more about the general wealth of societies, rather than the actual people. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 18:07, 1 December 2022 (UTC)
  • Banners 1-3 would be my choices. This one would seem to imply that donating would somehow directly expand the other language Wikipedias — I assume that's what you're getting at with "most content is available only in languages spoken by Earth's wealthiest residents" (I don't know where wealth comes into this either, to be honest). The smaller wikis need volunteers; donations won't help much without more hardworking volunteers that develop the content. --Frogging101 (talk) 16:06, 2 December 2022 (UTC)

Edit

Below is the translation of a banner drafted by the Dutch Wikipedia community in September. We ran this banner during the Dutch campaign and now translated it to English for inspiration. We recognize that this was written before the English Wikipedia RFC, so might not be in line with all its feedback.

To all our readers in the U.S.,

Do you value the free accessibility of Wikipedia? Then your donation is very welcome! Wikipedia is a non-profit, non-advertising volunteer project whose primary mission is to make independent, reliable information accessible to everyone. To make it possible to continue to cover the additional costs of such a large project in the future, you could consider donating a contribution of $2, for example, or whatever you can spare. Thank you very much in advance!

Feedback (Banner 5)Edit

What do you like and do you have any alternative versions we could test? What would you change and how?

  • My personal views align with some of the feedback in the RfC but not with all of it. I very much agree that there needs to be a strong shift away from any "crisis" messaging, but I also think that highlighting that our donation model (small donations in particular) is crucial for our independence is important. Wikipedia depends on donations (there is literally no other meaningful revenue source) and donations go to support Wikipedia both directly (software, hardware, bandwith, operations engineers) and indirectly (chapter activities of all kinds such as local press relationships, GLAM activities, new editor recruitment, etc.). It is important for donors that we be transparent about that, but also it is important because that's what donors want to do: support Wikipedia.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:00, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
  • As noted the timing was off on this one, but I think it is missing some of the key elements of the others that could be added; primarily the "who is asking" part (— The Wikimedia Foundation). — xaosflux Talk 11:50, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
  • This one is much weaker than the others, especially the first two. It still has the flavor of "crying poor", which leaves a bad taste, per many of the comments at the RFC. – Jonesey95 (talk) 17:42, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
  • Putting aside the issues Jonesey raises, it also feels like it won't perform especially well in terms of actual donation success. That said, obviously it was given as an idea basis. Nosebagbear (talk) 18:04, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
    Unlike the others we should have actual performance data for this one but I agree with Jonsey and NBB. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 18:15, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
    @Nosebagbear @Barkeep49 In our testing this banner received 57–67% fewer donations/impression than the then control banner (with a 95% confidence interval). The average donation amount was a little higher than control, but it still raised 52% less money in total over the test. We didn't see statistically significant changes for any of our other metrics, such as the share of donations which are monthly. Peter Coombe (WMF) (talk) 17:04, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
    Thanks Peter. This just reinforces my belief that 1-4 are stronger banners. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 17:19, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
  • Possibly this reads better in Dutch, but it's quite strange phrasing. On the other hand, I seem to disagree with Jonesey95 because I think this one is the opposite of crying poor—more like an earnest nudge to readers than in-your-face exaggeration. And it's the better for it. — Bilorv (talk) 22:05, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
  • Hi all. We want to pull out some lines from this variant and do some testing. For example, testing the opening line "Do you value the free accessibility of Wikipedia? Then your donation is very welcome!" If there are suggestions for alternative versions; or feedback on specific parts that you like or don't like -- please let me know. Thank you --CDenes (WMF) (talk) 15:48, 30 November 2022 (UTC)
    @CDenes (WMF) As I noted above, this biggest challenge I see with this one is that it has zero mention of WMF, potentially misleading donors to thinking that donations would be going "to Wikipedia", and in this content specifically "this Wikipedia". This sort of transparency was part of the problems brought up in the community discussion. At the very least can the The Wikimedia Foundation part be appended? — xaosflux Talk 15:56, 30 November 2022 (UTC)
    Absolutely. The idea is to pull out and test just a couple lines from this variant (not test it exactly as-is again). This is a rough draft I came up with, a hybrid between this and variant 1:
    "Do you value the free accessibility of Wikipedia? Then your donation is very welcome! Wikipedia is a non-profit, volunteer-driven project whose mission is to make independent, unbiased information accessible to everyone. Your donation supports the technology that makes Wikipedia and 12 other free knowledge projects possible and helps us provide resources to the groups who build local communities of contributors to create millions of articles and images. They also help us advocate for public policy to advance the cause of free knowledge worldwide and defend information access in countries struggling with censorship. Today, we invite you to donate £2 or whatever seems right to you. Thank you for your time.— The Wikimedia Foundation"
    Let me know what you think! (Note if we add more characters, we need to also remove characters so the banner length does not grow) CDenes (WMF) (talk) 17:49, 30 November 2022 (UTC)
    Please see the RFC. Implying that the free accessibility of WP is under threat is highly undesirable to the en.WP community. – Jonesey95 (talk) 18:14, 30 November 2022 (UTC)
    Could you please elaborate what part of the text, for you, implies that anything is under threat? CDenes (WMF) (talk) 18:41, 30 November 2022 (UTC)
The first sentence: "Do you value the free accessibility of Wikipedia?" The implication is that if donations are not received, that free accessibility will be compromised, and that donations primarily support Wikipedia. The RFC close is crystal clear:

Specifically, participants clearly identified that banners that state or imply any of the following are not considered appropriate on the English Wikipedia:

  • Wikipedia's existence or independence is under threat or dependent on donations
  • Donated funds are used primarily to support Wikipedia and/or its volunteer editors
  • Readers should feel obliged to donate regardless of their means ("guilt tripping")
The above message implies that the first two points are true. – Jonesey95 (talk) 21:08, 30 November 2022 (UTC)

Write your own banner ideaEdit

Do you have suggestions for messaging you would like to see or even have an idea for a whole banner? Please share in this section.

Some guidance:

  • You can write an entirely new banner or write just a sentence or concept you're interested in
  • Messages can include dynamic variables: reader's country, day of the week, amounts in local currency. If you have other suggestions then we may be able to implement them.

  • In the ancient times, "A personal appeal from Jimmy Wales" performed extremely well, and I would not object to that being brought back for some testing.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:04, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
I dug up an ancient appeal. I think this might be the message you wrote on a long flight years ago. Are you feeling inspired to refresh your appeal this year?
"I'm a volunteer. I don't get paid a cent for my work at Wikipedia, and neither do our thousands of other volunteer authors and editors. When I founded Wikipedia, I could have made it into a for-profit company with advertising banners, but I decided to do something different. Commerce is fine. Advertising is not evil. But it doesn't belong here. Not in Wikipedia. Wikipedia is something special. It is like a library or a public park. It is like a temple for the mind. It is a place we can all go to think, to learn, to share our knowledge with others. If everyone reading this donated $5, 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, $10, $20 or whatever you can to protect and sustain Wikipedia." MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 05:50, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
"If everyone reading this donated $5, we would only have to fundraise for one day a year." I definitely would not like to see a return of that phrase while the WMF pursues constant revenue growth, takes in eight-figure surpluses and exceeds its own, ever-increasing fundraising targets by tens of millions of dollars. Andreas JN466 07:53, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
I'm trying very hard to assume good faith, Andreas, but it is very hard to read a message from you like this as being anything other than "I have no objection to the honesty and transparency of this messaging, I merely object because it appears to be successful, and my goal is to prevent the WMF from raising so much money." If that's your position, fine, but I don't find it in any way persuasive.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:35, 1 December 2022 (UTC)
I read Andreas' comment as being an objection to the honesty and transparency of this messaging. It's not honest because if everyone reading this donated $5, the WMF would still fundraise more than one day a year. There is no scenario under which the WMF would only fundraise on one day a year, no matter how much money previous fundraisers brought in, they would always choose to fundraise on more than one day a year--you know this, I know this, we all know this is true. So it's not honest to say "If everyone reading this donated $5, we would only have to fundraise for one day a year." This implies there is actually a limited fundraising goal--like we're having a telethon trying to raise X dollars--but that's not how it works. WMF's fundraising is open-ended, not capped. The WMF won't stop fundraising no matter how much money it raises, so let's not suggest otherwise to our readers.
It's also not honest for another reason: the use of the word "have". That implies that the WMF is forced to fundraise. This is also not true. The WMF actually could just not do any fundraising for a whole year and still operate Wikipedia during that year without any problems. It could do this for many years in fact. Sure, it'd have to lay off a bunch of staff and it wouldn't be able to do many of the other things it does, but running Wikipedia would not be threatened. This website would continue; the WMF doesn't have to fundraise to keep Wikipedia online, it used to, but not anymore. (Mostly thanks to these quasi-deceptive prior fundraising campaigns.)
What's behind all of this is the dichotomy of maintenance v. growth. The WMF wants growth, and it uses donations to fuel growth. But it says it needs the donations for maintenance. The WMF suggests to readers that maintenance is threatened, when it really is doing a poor job of maintenance (e.g., phab backlog), because it spends too much money on growth and not enough on maintenance. So people like me -- who have volunteered to edit on this website almost every day for the last four years -- we see this on a daily basis, year after year. It is so obvious that we haven't had a real upgrade to Visual Editor in the entire 4 years I've been editing, even though the people makin the software have raised like more than half a billion dollars (!!!) in donations during that time. But I still can't edit reference names in Visual Editor. The WMF focuses on growth and neglects maintenance, but, in the past, raised money by suggesting maintenance was threatened. This was dishonest, and I'm glad it's now stopped.
Also not totally honest: When I founded Wikipedia.... Should be "co-founded." Levivich (talk) 14:56, 1 December 2022 (UTC)
  • I would like to see testing something that focuses on reciprocity - something that emphasises that "over the years we have helped you, now we ask for you to help us". This is still an appeal to emotion (rather than the cost of operating etc) but it would emphasise the personal connection that many people have with WP. Very few other charitable organisations raise money from the same people they serve - Most need to appeal in order to help a worthy 'other' group. "Reciprocity" is a powerful social construct - you give me a gift, I feel the need to give you one too. So if we run banners that focus on how we helped you specifically and personally that might be effective (and honest). Wittylama 11:43, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
I agree with this. I have spoken face to face with a great many donors, large and small, over the past 20 years and for the small donors it is very common for them to say things like "I use it all the time, I figured I should chip in."--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:53, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
But if someone is expressing the sentiment "I use it all the time; I figured I should chip in", the primary way they should chip in is by editing. We have a chronic shortage of volunteer labour that severely restricts our ability to grow/improve articles—a crisis of editor recruitment and retention (or lack thereof) that fundamentally threatens the English Wikipedia's prominence and reputation. We do not have a chronic shortage of WMF money that threatens this, nor is a small donation to the WMF an effective way to aid us in this crisis.
A more symmetric reciprocity is "you have made information accessible to me, so I will make information in my area of expertise more readily accessible to others". — Bilorv (talk) 22:00, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
Reciprocity has definitely worked well in the past. A couple of lines we've used are If Wikipedia has been useful to you and If Wikipedia has given you $2.75 worth of knowledge this year, please take a minute to donate. Interested to hear what people think of those. Peter Coombe (WMF) (talk) 18:27, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
I've always liked those messages, Peter. – SJ + 03:06, 27 November 2022 (UTC)
  • I originally proposed to the fundraising team that we add "Thanks to you, we don't run ads - and we never will" - indicating that not just are we not asking money to avoid that (when we clearly wouldn't run ads) but that their support has had success. That it hasn't just been poured into a drain. This would of course require the BOT to commit to it - I argue that it is not tying your hands to do so - if the WMF ever reached a level where ads were necessary to survive fiscally, then Wikimedia will also have reached a point where it was doomed in non-fiscal ways. If the WMF is not going to run ads anyway, then there is perhaps benefit to be gained to publicly owning that. Nosebagbear (talk) 17:15, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
    "Thanks to you all, we don't run ads – and never will" is a great line and I think Advancement should seriously consider it. More generally, Proposals 1-4 look great to me and I think Advancement should, after copyediting them, feel free to test them this weekend with the intent of running the best ones starting next week, as planned. All four seem like they respond directly to the consensus articulated in the RfC close. Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t · c) 17:43, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
    Advancement were happy to discuss it (and did so actively on this and otherwise over the last three weeks) - but obviously they can't make such a statement off their own bat because they (quite rightly!) can't tie the BOTs hands Nosebagbear (talk) 17:47, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
    Good point. The Board should pass a resolution committing the Foundation to not running ads. Then fundraising could let potential donors know about that. Levivich (talk) 18:22, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
    I think a direction like this would be valuable regardless of the BOT approving a resolution. Jimmy steps close to it below: "We don't run ads and we don't sell your data, which means nobody gets your data from us." Izno (talk) 02:59, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
  • This consultation is over the text of the banners, but I would like to hear from the WMF what they have understood about the community feedback to the size, placement and frequency of the banners. What changes are they planning to make in terms of this feedback?
    In case it's not obvious, I'll spell it out: the community's concerns about "guilt tripping" and "crisis messaging" include (implicitly or explicitly) the size, background colouring and text size of the banner ads. They need to be reduced in size and toned down in harshness. Volunteers have even suggested placing them at the bottom of the page. You shouldn't feel accosted by the ad and unable to read the article without clicking out of it.
    I think it should be the size and placement of a normal logged-in internal banner advert, like the ones to vote on Commons' Picture of the Year or whatever. These are unintrusive but still noticed by all who are interested. — Bilorv (talk) 22:16, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
I think this is worthy of discussion. I don't think the answer is necessarily obvious. It's easy enough to click to say no, or click a little x to make it go away, and in order to determine how intrusive it is in practice I would love to see some data or analysis. I get that you don't like it but I actually think most people don't mind it at all. There's certainly no evidence that it is harming our readership as far as I know. People get that Wikipedia is different - they don't mind that we raise money and in fact I find that many people I talk to are reassured that we are raising money from donations rather than selling data, cutting corporate deals for content placements, or all the horrible things that we could be doing.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:54, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
Do we have any data on how frequently someone quickly leaves an articles? It wouldn't tell us the entire impact on the banners, but it would be an indicator of whether readers are being deterred by the banners. BilledMammal (talk) 00:01, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
I would say that the sample banners for this year, in terms of visual design, I was vastly more pleased with than last year's "big blue". I also was fine with its text size. I accept that a level of success is needed and think that moving from top to bottom would undermine that to too great a level. Nosebagbear (talk) 00:33, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
I overlooked the suggestion to move the banners to the bottom; given that most readers don’t read the entire article I agree that would not be a good idea. However, I do think we can improve on the format of the banners in general. BilledMammal (talk) 02:01, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
The outcome of that RfC is to make the ads run longer.
The RfC was, at best, a mixed success. We succeeded in getting the WMF to rethink their wording, but we failed to get them to rethink their fundraising target. Therefore the ads have to raise the same amount of money as before, but using more honest messages. People will donate less per ad than before, because going forward, they won't think the servers are about to get shut off for lack of funds. Therefore the ads will run longer in future: QED. I would also expect a trend towards larger or more prominent ads.—S Marshall T/C 09:18, 30 November 2022 (UTC)
I just want to re-iterate the point that has been made many times. The WMF has a long term strategic plan determined by an enormous multi-year community process that set out certain goals and strategies. The fundraising target reflects those aims. If your aim is a radical reduction of the ambition of the movement, then a English language banner RfC is not the place to do it. I encourage you to join the hundreds of other community members who are involved in long term strategic thinking about what the WMF should be doing.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:33, 1 December 2022 (UTC)
Where is the most impactful place for volunteers to participate in this process/discussion? A page on meta (which one)? The movement strategy forum? Video conferences? Somewhere else? –Novem Linguae (talk) 10:32, 1 December 2022 (UTC)
@Novem Linguae The most impactful process to discuss the roles and responsibilities of the Foundation (and any other Wikimedia stakeholder) is the drafting of the Movement Charter. There is an ongoing community consultation of the first drafts and a declaration of intentions about the chapter covering roles and responsibilities. Feedback is welcome on Meta, the Movement Strategy Forum, and via a survey. The Movement Charter will be a document defining roles and responsibilities for all the members and entities of the Wikimedia movement, including the Foundation. The are other Movement Strategy initiatives expected to affect what the WMF should be doing (and not doing) :) like the Hubs, the Global Council, the Technology Council, a Flexible resource allocation framework... We welcome everyone to join these discussions and the implementation work. I hope this helps! If you or anyone else has any questions or suggestions related to Movement Strategy, please reach out (on my Talk page, on Meta, the Forum, Telegram, Discord........ just ping me).  :) Qgil-WMF (talk) 13:51, 1 December 2022 (UTC)
  • My aim isn't to harm the WMF, but rather to mitigate harm to others. I think there's both harm to donors and harm to readers to consider.
Last year, my mother, who is 78 years old and on a fixed, limited income, donated £50 to "Wikipedia" (in her mind) because she believed that the servers were going to be switched off. I told her that her donation would likely go to some kind of activism or outreach. She said that she didn't think Wikipedia allowed that. She thought Wikipedia, who she thought she was paying, was strictly politically neutral and didn't tolerate activism of any kind.
I think that this is what a lot of the public believes. I think that if the donors knew how their previous years' donations were really used, many would be very surprised and some might be angry.
I also think the ads harm our readers. They distract the reader from whatever task the reader was on; that's the whole point of ads. By stealing the reader's attention we slow them down and curtail their task focus. Ads make people dumber, and I'm on Wikipedia to try, in a small way, to help people be smarter.
Yes, I do think that in these times when people can't pay their heating bills, it's extraordinarily tone deaf to target a 20% increase in donations year on year; but I will certainly never convince Jimbo or WMF staff of this, so I won't try. And it isn't what motivates my participation in this discussion. I'm mainly here to mitigate the damage the ads cause insofar as I can.
Making the ads less obtrusive and making them run for less time are good measures to achieve this.—S Marshall T/C 00:48, 2 December 2022 (UTC)
  • Looking ahead, whatever we agree here as a starting set of banners will be subject to continuous optimisation and A/B testing in the months to come. And as I mentioned during the recent Dutch community consultation, I am fairly certain that what got us into this pickle in the first place is that A/B tests consistently favoured banner texts and designs that were subtly more disquieting to the reader. I don't think anyone set out to mislead readers; it's simply that people who are worried Wikipedia might die for lack of funds will donate more, and the A/B tests reflected that. This is something to be guarded against, because if the team uses the same methods again, picking dollars per impression as its main optimisation criterion, we may sooner or later end up in the same situation, with most people thinking the WMF is struggling to have enough money to keep Wikipedia up and running. --Andreas JN466 23:55, 25 November 2022 (UTC)
  • Thank you, everyone, for the ideas coming up from this first batch of banners. This is a really helpful discussion that will make the next batch better. Just a quick note to say we have a couple people working this weekend to get a test ready based on the input here. We'll keep you posted and share more banners soon. Thanks, all! MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 05:50, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
  • If I were in charge of writing the banners I would probably have it read something like this: "Hello there reader in COUNTRY! The various Wikipedias and also Wikimedia Foundation related products cost money to maintain, and while we have the money to run them thanks to various donators, we would like it if you donated anyway. Some people don't donate, and that's just fine. If you don't have the money to afford a donation there are other ways you can donate to the projects, such as contributing content or images. If you want to help feel free to donate in any way you can. Thank you. – The Wikimedia Foundation". This takes inspiration mainly from Banner 2 however is much more friendly and also says that monetary donations are not the only kind of donation that can help support the various projects. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 16:49, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
  • Suggested Banner: Please join us in supporting Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia edited by dedicated volunteers who work cooperatively across all of the barriers that traditionally divide the human family - race, nation, language, religion, gender and political differences - to create a repository of knowledge that benefits the entire planet. This repository of fully cited information is provided at no cost and is free of all advertising, which is possible because people like you donate 90% (this percentage needs to be verified) of the cost to keep the site up and running. No donation is too small and we appreciate any contribution you can comfortably afford. THANK YOU.Giraffe46 (talk) 02:08, 3 December 2022 (UTC)

Timing ProposalEdit

  • I want to lead with the fact that the WMF and the BOT have made genuinely huge, massive, meaningful steps with their communications and banners above. I believe we the Community should show the same good faith efforts. Given that we need to do various trials and (I think we should accept) our banners are likely to be less efficacious than the norm - I wanted to raise a proposal that the banners run for (specifically) 7 days longer than normal. I'm aware that funding success per day drops off, but I assume that there would remain a gain in overall terms and it would compensate for some delays at the onset. Nosebagbear (talk) 01:24, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
I want to quickly push back on this idea; both the testing and the campaigns have already been getting longer, and I don’t think we should encourage the WMF to make them even longer still. BilledMammal (talk) 01:57, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
Agree with BilledMammal. Andreas JN466 22:58, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
I'd like to provide a little clarification on the length of fundraising campaigns. When I started in 2009, the fundraising campaign lasted 67 days. At that time, readers would see banners every time they visited Wikipedia during the entire 67 days. Over the years, the team has worked to make the banners more effective to reduce both the length of the campaign and the number of banners each reader sees. Years ago, we stopped showing banners to logged in users. In recent years, the end of year English Campaign has been reduced to about a month and we reduced banner traffic for part of the month. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 14:52, 1 December 2022 (UTC)
Our good faith is not blocking the banners, organising a blackout or campaigning to get mainstream media coverage critical of the banners. The length of the fundraising is a key issue that volunteers have which the WMF have not addressed. I agree that the WMF have made legitimately meaningful steps in the right direction, but I believe this is because we applied the pressure. If I was a decision-maker at the WMF, I might have assessed that barrelling ahead with the fundraising without addressing the en.wiki community had an unacceptable level of risk of causing a PR nightmare. — Bilorv (talk) 10:46, 27 November 2022 (UTC)
I appreciate the conciliatory intent of NBB's proposal. If W?F had listened earlier, then I would fully support the trade-off that a lower-yielding campaign ought to run for longer to compensate. But we had to go full Cuban Missile Crisis to get here. I think they should take a blip to their projected increase in takings. If the hit does end up being seriously big (I doubt it), then we could discuss a supplementary campaign run, after they openly share information on the results. ⁓ Pelagicmessages ) 08:41, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
I just want to note that there's a clear and obvious tradeoff between the length of a campaign and the effectiveness of the banners. While I think there is clear and good consensus around "no alarmism in the banners" I think banners which emphasize how small donations support our intellectual independence (surrrre, we could go get a ton of money from Facebook, but... really?) and that hit home the point that Wikipedia depends on donations (both of those messages perform better, even without alarmism) are both honest and effective - but at least one readig of the RfC says no to those message, despite them being truthful.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:14, 1 December 2022 (UTC)

Some linesEdit

Here are a few lines Julia shared on the RfC that the team has been working on. We'd love thoughts on these or any new riffs we could work into new tests next week.

  1. While so much of what you find online these days is questionable, we strive to provide you with an unbiased source of quality information when you need it.
  2. ..readers give so we can bring more of the world’s knowledge to Wikipedia, protect against disinformation, and keep the site running smoothly.
  3. We’re here to make sure you have access to unbiased, quality information when you need it. We have a long way to go to provide readers with all the world’s knowledge. We’re not there yet.
  4. We are passionate about our model because at its core, Wikipedia belongs to you. We want everyone to have equal access to knowledge.
  5. Access to knowledge around the world is under constant attack. As a nonprofit, we work to give access to knowledge to everyone, for free, forever. We still have work to do.
  6. Wikipedia is different. No advertising, no subscription fees, no paywalls. Those don’t belong here. Wikipedia is a place to learn, free from bias or agenda.
  7. No one person controls Wikipedia. We’re not influenced by advertisers or corporate interests. It belongs to you, the readers and editors. Wikipedia rests in your hands and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
  8. One donation may seem small, but when millions of readers each give, we can do great things.

Thanks a lot for the ideas shared on this page so far. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 10:16, 26 November 2022 (UTC)

Hi Megan (and I see the team is working on a weekend!), I've just switched for numbers so we can refer to them more easily. I really liked the following: 6, 7, 8. I also quite liked and was fine with 3, 4, 5. I'm reserving judgement on 1, as our advertising isn't normally negative towards others. Point our positives, and if we're doing well, readers will come to their own conclusions. With 2. Hmm. The addition of money does not really help with adding content - but there may be a phrasing that works on the basis of everything that pulls editors away from content work (outside pressures, technical issues, etc) means less knowledge. Nosebagbear (talk) 14:47, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
I think 4-8 all work. I particularly like 6&8. I think 1-3 all run afoul of the RfC outcome. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 14:57, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
Please don't say "We", speak about the Wikimedia Foundation. For example, it's the editors that provide information; you provide the platform where editors can share that information. By the same token, for example, YouTube doesn't provide people with video entertainment: it is a video sharing platform where people share their videos. Perhaps you could explore presenting your role that way, i.e. as a platform provider enabling people to share knowledge? As for assessing the numbered examples above, I believe Barkeep49 has got it right: 4-8 are fine, 1-3 run afoul of the RfC. Best, --Andreas JN466 22:20, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
Thank you for being here and the helpful input. Over the years, we've run messages from Jimmy, personal appeals from editors, and messages from the Foundation. Might this be the year we try a message written collaboratively by volunteers? We have a group of people here who clearly care a lot about this work and how we tell our story. Anyone want to kick it off? MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 00:21, 27 November 2022 (UTC)
Be careful what you wish for. – Jonesey95 (talk) 02:17, 27 November 2022 (UTC)
Are there personal appeals from past years that could be revisited? They were delightful and humanize our work, and also often spoke to the beauty of the projects. An annual compilation of personal messages and appeals could be used in other places as well (including non-$ banners inviting participation). – SJ + 03:03, 27 November 2022 (UTC)
SJ I like this idea a lot! I loved those old editor appeals. They are roughly 10 years old so I don’t think we can bring the exact banners back today but we’ll look through the old messages and see what we can incorporate into the current message. Jimmy also offered to have his appeal run so we can work with him on getting that ready. On the editor recruitment banners, I agree there’s a lot of ideas to explore how we use banners and other spaces to invite readers to edit. We ran a brief pilot experiment with the Product newcomer team a few months ago and we want to explore what we may be able to try in the future. There’s a lot left to learn. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 12:01, 3 December 2022 (UTC)
I was just reading that meta report on the experiment, it gave me ideas :) – SJ + 13:00, 3 December 2022 (UTC)
Perhaps "or corporate owners" rather than "corporate interests". – SJ + 18:57, 28 November 2022 (UTC)
Suggestions #1 and #5 hint at crisis messaging ("under constant attack" and the threat of "questionable" information in an uncertain world "these days"), so I would leave them out.
I would really like #7, but it's not true: the WMF lost the ability to use independence from "corporate interests" as a fundraising slogan when creating the commercial product Enterprise and formally beginning work with Google. The sentence "It belongs to you, the readers and editors" is a powerful thing to keep, though. And "we wouldn't have it any other way" moves away from the crisis messaging by making it clear that you are not about to start running (non-fundraising) ads all over the site.
Suggestion #2 implies (to me) that the WMF ("we") or financial donations are used to pay volunteers to "bring ... knowledge" and "protect against disinformation". That's not really what the WMF does.
Suggestions #4, #6 and #8 are thoughtful and well-written, but I would second the point that you need to think really carefully about who the "we" is. You should not imply that the fundraising message is written by the volunteers—it should be clear that it's written by the WMF, which hosts Wikipedia and sister projects. — Bilorv (talk) 11:03, 27 November 2022 (UTC)
@Bilorv: The partnership with Google certainly predates Enterprise. See e.g. m:Overview of Wikimedia Foundation and Google Partnership, or note a project in India where Google advise[d] Wikipedia and suggest[ed] topics on which Wikimedia community volunteers should write articles, based on the most frequent Google search terms. Google Fellows seconded to the WMF have been assisting the WMF with Abstract Wikipedia (not entirely selflessly from the point of view of Google, I am sure), and I've always felt that the U-turn that led to the CC0 licence decision for Wikidata was driven by Google interests. Facebook meanwhile provides translation software used by Wikimedia volunteers, whose volunteer labour with this tool in turn makes Facebook's translation software smarter. [1][2] It is indeed best to be careful about how much independence from Big Tech we want to claim. Andreas JN466 01:08, 28 November 2022 (UTC)
I think it is really important to emphasize that especially with some (relatively small in the grand scheme of things) partnerships/products like Enterprise, it is incredibly important that we continue to focus on small donations as our primary revenue source. I don't like the idea of a world where we damage the WMF's ability to fundraise from small donors leading to a situation where the core revenue source becomes corporate partners. Independence matters, and small donations are the best way to ensure that.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:18, 1 December 2022 (UTC)
I absolutely agree with you, Jimmy. While your views on fundraising don't always match mine, I do respect your focus on keeping the WMF primarily funded by small donors. It is valuable for both our donors and our volunteers to be as diverse and representative of the world population as possible. Unfortunately, this is in tension with the inordinate wealth inequality worldwide. Can we expect people in Tanzania to give as much as in the UK? No. There is some balance to be had.
Non-wealthy people donate because they place a huge trust in us, so I am hugely concerned that every part of our fundraising message must be (a) literally true and (b) emotionally true (not crisis messaging). We can't betray our readers' trust, even if most of them will never realise they donated under a misconception, and even if the WMF has to take a revenue hit. I like aspects of #7 but the subtext of my comment is that Enterprise threatens to undermine the values in that statement (I'm watching to see how it progresses). As long as the WMF is working with Google, it is not the literal truth that the WMF is "not influenced by ... corporate interests". — Bilorv (talk) 19:09, 2 December 2022 (UTC)

General discussionEdit

  • I was one of those who was very much against ANY fund-raising banners (including WMF) on Wikipedia. My thinking then (and still now) is that Wikipedia is a powerful tool, and of course it is tempting to use it to "do good". That WMF has control over Wikipedia, and therefore can use it to promote issues WMF is in favour of (and most of us would agree with), is of course very very tempting, and may in fact blind those in WMF to the sense that the very essence of Wikipedia is that it is entirely impartial, and does not set out to persuade people to hold certain views or do certain things.
I am, however, impressed by the changes being made to the banners, and that this discussion is taking place, and taking place here on Wikipedia. There was talk on the RfC that the English Wikipedia community should take up complaints about banners being placed on the English Wikipedia in some other venue because what the banners were about was something other than the English Wikipedia. The irony of those statements is that they completely missed the point that our objections to having the banners here on the English Wikipedia was precisely because the fundraising was about something other than the English Wikipedia. While I feel that the wording here is a vast improvement, and is generally moving in the right direction, there is still the sense that the English Wikipedia is being used to raise money for something other than the English Wikipedia, and my question is why do WMF get that privilege while other, arguably more deserving, charities/non-profits do not? If we are to run WMF banners to enable them to raise money to do good things beyond funding the English Wikipedia, why not have a dedicated space for charity banners to run all year long, with, perhaps, the local Wikipedia communities voting for which charities/non-profits should occupy the space. The banner space could be just on the Main Page, not elsewhere on Wikpedia, so it wouldn't interfere with or distract readers from the main purpose of the encyclopaedia. SilkTork (talk) 11:32, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
  • I look at Wikipedia:About, Wikipedia:Purpose, Wikipedia:Free encyclopedia and see a number of conflicts with what you say is the very essence of Wikipedia, and with the repetition of English Wikipedia. These pages are hosted on en and not at the WMF. "About" is semi-protected but i imagine these are still subject to the wiki process and could be edited to take away for instance: "Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing." fiveby(zero) 14:45, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
    I guess what I am saying is that this is an encyclopedia not an advertising space. The most appropriate place for WMF to advertise for funds is the same as every other charity or non-profit organisation - through the commercial media. Yes, that's going to be more expensive than using Wikipedia, but more in keeping with our aims. We can't make claims that we don't allow advertising when that is exactly what we are doing when the fundraising banners are used. And just like any other advertiser when we object to the advertising, we are put under pressure, and it is implied that our objections are a threat to the WMF's operations. No, it's not a threat because WMF has ample other places they can advertise for funds. Clearly WMF would prefer not to spend money on advertising on other websites when they can have this one for free, and it is appropriate that they try to advertise here. Of course it is. But it is also appropriate for us to object, and point out why we feel that they shouldn't advertise here. Of the choices open to us, 1) WMF not advertising on Wikipedia, 2) WMF using the new banners, 3) WMF using the old banners, then that is my order of preference.
    My use of "English" Wikipedia is because that's what we're talking about. We cannot here make statements on behalf of other projects. Each community is self-determining. I understand that advertising here on the English Wikipedia will give assistance to smaller Wikis. But I also understand that advertising on the New York Times will give assistance to smaller Wikis, and at the same time not disturb the aim of Wikipedia to provide impartial and free access to the sum of all human knowledge.
    And if we are to have advertising here to assist with the noble and charitable aims of WMF, then we should also give that space to other noble and charitable causes. But ensuring that the advertising space (for every one, including WMF) is limited to the Main Page so people are not distracted from the "free access to the sum of all human knowledge" when viewing the encyclopaedia pages. SilkTork (talk) 15:16, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
    I have to disagree, Silktork - and for that obvious of reasons - the Wikimedia Foundation is part of Wikimedia with us as their assigned mission, and others are not.
    £10 donated to the WMF will have some impact on English Wikipedia in a way that £10 to the Red Cross would not. Obviously much donated to the WMF does not have a direct impact on en-wiki. But we have a firm history of actions that support our sister projects (that very descriptor indicates that), so I don't believe that a core concept of any £10 raised on English Wikipedia can only be spent here, or on our share of central functions, is distinctly dubious. However £10 raised through the NYT giving £1.50 to a commercial newspaper is counter to our being. Such commercial advertising would actually be far more antithetical and disruptive to our core mission than any disruption that a WMF fundraising banner on-wiki could do. Nosebagbear (talk) 17:22, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
    Fiveby is correct that WP:ABOUT is subject to the wiki process; the "sum of all human knowledge" quote was only added to it a few months ago. Here's what the page looked like before it was revised as a result of this VPIL discussion. Levivich (talk) 20:49, 26 November 2022 (UTC)
  • I am so happy to see these banner texts being put forth by the WMF. The thing that comes to mind when reading them is that these efforts are dignified, reasonable, and good. Thank you. --Yair rand (talk) 21:41, 27 November 2022 (UTC)
    @Yair rand: I totally agree. Reading proposals like #Banner 2 and #Banner 3 above feels like a weight is being lifted. In a chat elsewhere, I too used three adjectives to describe them: decent, honest, inspiring. Andreas JN466 01:16, 28 November 2022 (UTC)
  • It would be polite to add that whether you donate or not, we thank you for reading Wikipedia. --NGC 54 (talkcontribs) 14:16, 28 November 2022 (UTC)
  • I am so happy to see this conversation between the Wikimedia Foundation and the Wikimedia community. I regret that the Wikimedia community had to protest to get to this point, and hope that in the future for future community concerns that the Wikimedia Foundation will be more proactive in recognizing community stakeholders. I want some redistribution of power so that the community can assert itself on matters of ethics and values, and I want some checks on the Wikimedia Foundation so that when there are ethical complaints then the Wikimedia Foundation is not its own arbiter and judge. Democracy is a value of the Wikimedia Movement and we have to protect it to preserve it. It is scary to invest so much power in the Wikimedia Foundation that a few people there have roles of authority which can override the ethical concerns of our global community. Bluerasberry (talk) 15:22, 28 November 2022 (UTC)
  • I have not been one of the many loud voices calling for changes to these banners, but I was struck by the difference seen here from the previously-used banners. These new messages come across as genuine, not manipulative; straightforward, not complex; informative, not reductive. If this is an indication of how the WMF intends to approach fundraising generally going forward, it is a very good sign. Let's see how the campaign goes this year! —Ganesha811 (talk) 02:17, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
    MeganHernandez (WMF), Pcoombe (WMF), JBrungs (WMF): just as an example of the type of reaction we're seeking to avoid, see this tweet from November 24. "i can't explain it but there's just something about the way wikipedia asks me for a donation that makes me instantly feel so angry and defensive.... am i crazy here" Over 500 accounts have liked and agreed with it. As I said below, these banners have a real impact on how people feel about Wikipedia. They should be honest and leave people feeling good about donating, not guilt-tripped or deceived. Some of the new banners are big improvements, so let's keep heading in that direction. —Ganesha811 (talk) 14:17, 1 December 2022 (UTC)
  • In the past I have hated the fundraising banners and was hoping I would never have to see them again. but seeing some of the proposals here (especially Banner 2) has made me actually want to see the banners and has also made me want to donate (and I don't even have money o give). Well done to the WMF for swaying a strong opposer like me to the point of supporting the banners. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 04:09, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
  • I think all of the banner languages suggested above are a vast improvement on what we have had previously. They could all do with ome copyediting though. ~ ONUnicorn(Talk|Contribs)problem solving 18:21, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
  • I love that this discussion is finally happening after so many years, and I hope it's just the start of a much longer conversation to ensure that fundraising banners are both efficient and accurately reflecting the values of the global Wikimedia community. Please don't waste this opportunity in bikeshedding on exact wording and formatting - which would be very counterproductive, and something we should very much entrust to fundraising experts - instead please try to focus on making sure that we're sending the right messages to our readers and supporters through the banners, and that they are encouraged to contribute. Please also bear in mind that many people can't contribute by making edits for many reasons - but they can still support us by donating. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 21:14, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
  • I echo many of the people here in saying that the tone and direction of these proposed banners is night and day with the old banners and I am confident that whatever remaining issues can be hashed out. Axem Titanium (talk) 23:38, 29 November 2022 (UTC)

Update and starting bannersEdit

Thank you everyone for your creative ideas and the valuable discussion over the last few days. The fundraising team have now launched the banner campaign on English Wikipedia. Our starting messages are closely based on Banner 1 (with a few tweaks as suggested on this page). We are working on bringing ideas from the other three banners that received positive comments into the new message. Here are the starting banners:

The team is setting up new messages with the suggestions you have made and would encourage you to keep adding more ideas here so we can run them in banners in the next few weeks. We will share regular updates on how the campaign is going. Thank you again and looking forward to creating the campaign together this year. JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 13:28, 29 November 2022 (UTC)

The desktop large banner is probably too big. It takes up my entire viewport on desktop (my default browser zoom is a bit higher than normal). Consider not running that size. –Novem Linguae (talk) 13:40, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
When I try to load those links, Firefox tells me "Content Security Policy violation detected! Tried to load something from https://xtools.wmflabs.org/api/page/articleinfo/en.wikipedia.org/NASA?format=html&uselang=en." – Jonesey95 (talk) 15:30, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
Same on Chrome. Levivich (talk) 15:48, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
Same here. The link loads but the banner does not. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 16:02, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
Try to open in a private browsing session. — xaosflux Talk 16:16, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
That has been disabled on the device I am using at the moment. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 16:17, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
@Jonesey95, Levivich, Blaze Wolf: Sorry, there's an issue where CSP alerts about any attempts to load external/wmflabs content (e.g. by gadgets or userscripts) when previewing a banner. I added &safemode=1 to the links above, hopefully they will work now. Peter Coombe (WMF) (talk) 16:24, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
It made it worse. See my below comment. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 16:25, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
@Pcoombe (WMF): pinging so you are aware ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 16:38, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
@Pcoombe (WMF): The banner now just does not appear at all even with safemode enabled. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 17:25, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
@Blaze Wolf That's weird. Is there any message in your browser console? Peter Coombe (WMF) (talk) 17:29, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
@Pcoombe (WMF): I'm unable to open my console on this device (for reasons that if I shared would have to be immediately removed and oversighted) ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 17:33, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
Then unfortunately I'm not sure I can help you. It seems you were able to view the banners anyway by logging out. Peter Coombe (WMF) (talk) 17:47, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
Console log on Firefox 107.0:
Extended content

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■ ∃ Madeline ⇔ ∃ Part of me ; 18:21, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
Same issue - do not currently see any banners in any format, whether logged in/out, in a private window or different browser, etc. —Ganesha811 (talk) 18:25, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
I signed out to see what it looks like. It is way too big and gives the impression that it's an emergency with a big red border. The message that I got read as follows:
"To all our readers in the U.S.,
This Tuesday your support is requested by the nonprofit that hosts Wikipedia and twelve other free knowledge projects. Today, we invite you to donate $2 or whatever seems right to you. These donations support the technology that makes our projects possible, and help us provide resources to the groups who build local communities of contributors to create our millions of articles and images. They also help us advocate for public policy to advance the cause of free knowledge worldwide and defend information access in countries struggling with censorship. If you can comfortably afford it this year, please join the readers who donate. Show the world that access to independent and unbiased information matters to you. Thank you for your time. – The Wikimedia Foundation
Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 16:58, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
I personally agree that the banner is too big. I personally disagree that a red border = an emergency. I also acknowledge that all of this personal feedback will likely have less weight for the fundraising team than the thing that had extensive community discussion - the wording. And the wording to me seems in-line with what was asked of them and the feedback they got. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 17:30, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
While a red border does not directly mean an emergency, it does give a sense of urgency since the color red is usually associated with "danger" ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 17:32, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
The WMF wanting people to actually notice their carefully written appeal strikes me as reasonable. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 19:20, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
Yes, however I feel that it could probably be reduced a bit, and maybe just simply reducing the size of the banner will fix that issue since there's (technically) less red as it no longer fills up the entire screen. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 19:27, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
@Barkeep49 makes a good point. And I agree: the visual appearance is a whole other discussion. On 3 Dec (Australia time, 2 Dec 2nd US) I was setting up a freshly wiped device and noticed the live banners. I received two different desktop-site appearances:
  1. first, the big one with the message on the left and donation panel on the right (same layout as Internet Archive donation banner, though IA has tweaked their look with a blue chevron this year; also there are some commonalities in wording), then
  2. second, narrower with a blue "Donate $2" button that expands to reveal more donation options when tapped.
There were also three different style pop-up panels when I scrolled down. I think it's good that they are experimenting with this: some are less visually unappealing than others. ⁓ Pelagicmessages ) 22:20, 3 December 2022 (UTC)
Safemode does not appear to work and in fact makes it worse by (somehow) completely breaking the infobox and also doesn't show the banner. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 16:24, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
Yes, the CSS for infoboxes is in Common.css, and safe mode does not load that CSS. Izno (talk) 04:57, 30 November 2022 (UTC)
I am not against banners but I consider the end of the page much better - and for mobile it is probably best to display a short message saying "wikipedia is fundraising - learn more" thingy instead of the current iteration which holds the whole banner before any content - it will be both irritating and people won't scroll.
A better, makeshift solution is to place these banners at the end of a page, or appear when people click on links instead of the current iteration (maybe some referral to how Google Adsense shows ads on mobile pages?).
I am not against the fundraising effort but placing banners directly within content without very clear signage that this is not real content but a plead to give seems to be a very bad thing and trashes the design as seen in a lot of design best practices. 1233 ( T / C 17:21, 29 November 2022 (UTC)
Thanks for this update. The short messages read better than the long ones! The first two sentences could be less circuitous. Something like "Dear Reader, your donations support the technology that makes Wikipedia and its sister projects possible [...] This Tuesday, please donate $X or whatever seems right."
mobile-large is over one screen at many common screensize + textsize combos. – SJ + 22:02, 29 November 2022 (UTC)

I absolutely oppose such large and disruptive banners and am deeply disappointed, but not surprised, that the Foundation decided to go ahead with it. Benjamin (talk) 22:50, 29 November 2022 (UTC)

I do agree that making the banner 50% of the page size on desktop and about 75% on mobile is not a good idea. If only the banner could be slimmed down to 35% or so. RPI2026F1 (talk) 02:55, 9 December 2022 (UTC)


First day updateEdit

Hi everyone,

We wanted to give you an update from Day 1 of the campaign and ask for more of your help and ideas on a next batch of banners to test out while we are all still learning together what works. This is our biggest testing moment of the year and we need to take advantage of it!

On the first day of the campaign with the new banners, we raised roughly 50% less than we originally projected for the campaign. We're sharing a new batch of messages here based on a fusion of messages on this page and messages from past years to ask for input and help in figuring out this creative challenge together. If we keep the conversation and testing going, I'm confident we can find improvements to make sure we have enough support for the work of our movement. Thank you for all the thoughtful notes and care shown throughout this page - we'll continue to share data here as we iterate and improve together!

Results from the first four banners

We started with the first four banners above, with edits based on the discussion. Banner 1 was the top performer in bringing in donations and also brought in some positive comments on this page. Banner 2 was trending behind banner 1, and banner 3 and 4 brought in between 15-25% fewer donations than banner 1. We quickly moved to using banner 1 as the new banner to kick off the campaign launch day.

We also brought back a line to bring the "reciprocity" message back that was discussed in the "write a new banner" section below. We saw a 10% boost in donations in bringing this idea back: If these resources have given you £2 worth of knowledge this year, please join the readers who donate.

Now is the time for us to ramp up trying out new messages to find more improvements. Here are a few more ideas:

"Second day"Edit

On this, the second day of our annual fundraiser, the nonprofit that hosts Wikipedia and its sister projects asks for your support. Most readers don't donate, and that's totally ok. Each year, just enough people decide to give to support our mission. Donations support technology, infrastructure, and staff. They also help us advocate for the cause of free knowledge worldwide and defend information access in countries struggling with censorship. If you value this quiet, ad-free space on the internet, where everyone in the world can come to learn and share their knowledge, then we invite you to donate $2 or whatever seems right to you. Show the world that access to independent and unbiased information matters to you. — The Wikimedia Foundation

Feedback (Second Day)Edit

What do you like and do you have any alternative versions we could test? What would you change and how?

  • Saying "just enough" people give each year suggests a financial insecurity that the WMF simply doesn't have. I would change to "some people" or "we are grateful that people decide to give". I would also remove "$2 or". —Ganesha811 (talk) 20:25, 30 November 2022 (UTC)
  • Might be considered a bit long but I don't know what the data is on that.©Geni (talk) 00:08, 1 December 2022 (UTC)
    Thanks for the feedback @Geni, this text will run in our ‘large’ banner, which we try to show the first time someone gets to Wikipedia during our fundraiser. It’s our best opportunity to tell a story with a little bit more room (still only 800 characters!). After this, we swap the reader to seeing smaller banners that are around 400 characters in length. We’ll continue to  experiment this year with different length messages to try some shorter messages. SPatton (WMF) (talk) 16:43, 1 December 2022 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback @Ganesha811,  I like your suggestions and am planning a few variants of this:
  • Each year, some readers decide to give to support our mission. Please join them.
  • Each year, enough people decide to give to support our mission.
  • We are grateful to the readers who decide to give to support our mission.
As far as removing $2; interestingly, these numeric anchors have always proven very effective for us. When we remove them (and just say something like “we invite you to donate”) or even when we genericize them (e.g. “we invite you to donate a few dollars” or “a small amount”), we tend to see fewer readers decide to give. Anchoring is typical in non-profit fundraising. SPatton (WMF) (talk) 16:42, 1 December 2022 (UTC)
These variants look good. Thanks for taking the suggestions onboard, and explaining about anchoring - it's still not my favorite, but makes sense and is far from egregious. Let's see how these messages do! —Ganesha811 (talk) 16:51, 1 December 2022 (UTC)

"Right to it" (an intro that was used a few years ago)Edit

To all our readers in the UK, We'll get right to it: This Tuesday your support is requested by the nonprofit that hosts Wikipedia and its sister projects. If you can this year, please join the readers who donate. Now is the time we invite you to give £2 or whatever seems right. Wikipedia is different. No advertising, no subscription fees, no paywalls. Those don't belong here. Wikipedia is a place to learn, free from bias or agenda. If Wikipedia has given you £2 worth of knowledge this year, please support the technology that makes our projects possible and advance the cause of free knowledge worldwide. One donation may seem small, but when millions of readers each give, we can do great things. Show the world that access to independent and unbiased information matters to you. — The Wikimedia Foundation

Feedback (Right to it)Edit

What do you like and do you have any alternative versions we could test? What would you change and how?

Needs to be Wednesday now?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:30, 30 November 2022 (UTC)

Thanks for the feedback, Jimmy! This day of week element is dynamic, based off local computer time; I’ve taken all the specific days of the week from the banner previews and added a tooltip to explain this. Peter Coombe (WMF) (talk) 15:40, 1 December 2022 (UTC)

Fusion 1Edit

To all our readers in the UK,

This Tuesday the Wikimedia Foundation requests your support. We're the nonprofit that hosts Wikipedia and other free knowledge projects. Hundreds of millions of people rely on Wikipedia each day, but maintaining it and expanding free knowledge globally has a cost. If Wikipedia has given you £2 worth of knowledge this year, please support the technology that makes our projects possible and advance the cause of free knowledge worldwide. Each year, we ask readers to pitch in whatever they can comfortably afford to make access to free knowledge possible. Most people don't give, and that's totally ok. That's the beauty of it—the work and donations of a few make something beautiful possible for everyone in the world. Please take a minute to show the world that access to independent and unbiased information matters to you. — The Wikimedia Foundation

Feedback (Fusion 1)Edit

What do you like and do you have any alternative versions we could test? What would you change and how?

Needs to be Wednesday now? (Or Thursday by the time it goes live? Just a note! Anyway, I like the reciprocity and I like "pitch in".--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:31, 30 November 2022 (UTC)

Same answer as above re: the weekday is dynamic and I’ve updated that. And I like "pitch in" too. If anyone has ideas for other similar phrases that work well in different countries, please share your ideas. Peter Coombe (WMF) (talk) 15:41, 1 December 2022 (UTC)
Just noting that the lack of commentary I think means this is fine (I'm happy to say specifically, I think this is fine). There might be some more we can add to make it punchy and appealing, I don't know (I try to leave that to the pros), but outside of the effectiveness-consideration aspects, it's good. Nosebagbear (talk) 11:14, 5 December 2022 (UTC)

Fusion 2Edit

We'll get right to it: The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit that hosts Wikipedia and 12 other free knowledge websites. We are supported primarily by small voluntary donations, not ads, not a paywall. Not everyone gives, and that's totally ok. Each year, just enough readers decide to give. Now is the time we invite you to give £2 or whatever seems right for you. Wikipedia is a place to learn, free from bias or agenda, a refuge for the mind. If Wikipedia has given you £2 worth of knowledge this year, please pitch in. Thank you. — The Wikimedia Foundation

Feedback (Fusion 2)Edit

What do you like and do you have any alternative versions we could test? What would you change and how?

  • Would it be good to not just say "12 other free knowledge websites" but also say "Wikipedia in XXX languages and 12 other free knowledge websites?"--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:32, 30 November 2022 (UTC)
    @Jimbo Wales I like this idea too and we’ll try it, or other riffs where we mention the awesome multilingual nature of Wikipedia. As is mentioned in some of the discussion above on our first 4 banner variants, talking about the ‘12 other websites’ seems confusing to our readers who don’t have the same understanding of our projects as our volunteer community.We’re working on other ways to frame the sister projects; but I think it’s more relatable for a Wikipedia reader to grasp that it exists for other readers, in other languages. -- SPatton (WMF) (talk) 16:48, 1 December 2022 (UTC)
  • Same comment as above: Saying "just enough" people give each year suggests a financial insecurity that the WMF simply doesn't have. I would change to "some people" or "we are grateful that people decide to give". I would also remove "£2 or". —Ganesha811 (talk) 20:26, 30 November 2022 (UTC)
    While I was fine with the original banners, I concur here that "just enough" is bizarre (not least, this year will be the first year in many years where we don't/haven't comfortably met the goals). It probably does want a replacement line rather than being removed, but suspect something more specific or "donation-urging" than a straight "some people" can be found. Regarding Ganesha's proposal, I'd disagree with needing to remove "£2 or" - I think that's fine to stay. The WMF doesn't take the "default donation of £25" that many big charities do, and giving a low pinning figure seems fine to me. Nosebagbear (talk) 21:44, 30 November 2022 (UTC)
    +1. The WMF has had regular eight-figure surpluses and constantly increasing fundraising targets for the past decade. So please do not say that "just enough" people have donated. Andreas JN466 23:40, 30 November 2022 (UTC)
I'll just note here that one reason we are financially secure is effective banner messaging. I agree that "just enough" is bad phrasing, but I do not want to see banners so ineffective that we end up in a situation where "just enough" people give to let us squeak by and barely survive. I want Wikipedia to be safe, and I want us as a movement to be ambitious about having deep global impact. I want to see us life up to the strategic plan that was put forward by the community in the strategic planning process, and that requires ample resources to engage in bold experiments. For those who think that the Foundation should only run servers and do nothing else, this is not really the right venue to pursue those goals. Here, what we are trying to do is help the Foundation find highly effective banners that are honest and emotionally meaningful to people.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:23, 1 December 2022 (UTC)
But the banners appear on this site so, above all else, including emotional meaningfulness and effectiveness at raising revenue, they have to be truthful. Considerably more than "just enough" people donate.—S Marshall T/C 10:24, 1 December 2022 (UTC)
Yes, that's why I agreed. "'just enough' is bad phrasing".--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:53, 1 December 2022 (UTC)
one reason we are financially secure is effective banner messaging == one reason we are financially secure is in the past we told people we were under financial threat and so they donated. No kidding! We all know that if you tell people we are about to go under, they'll give more money than if we tell them we are financially secure. The thing is, only one of those two options is true. We gotta go with the true option, even if -- and I want to be absolutely clear -- even if lying is more effective. Putting a picture of a malnourished child next to the banner ads would surely increase their effectiveness as well, but we shouldn't do that, either.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that the banners that are running right now are going to bring in less money than last year's banners. But when it comes to choosing between money and honesty, this community will choose honesty every time. Jimbo and everyone else at the WMF, I hope, now realize that this little rebellion wasn't about copy editing or some power struggle, it wasn't about not wanting a foundation or not wanting it to raise money, it's about the WMF using Wikipedia to raise money with banner ads that weren't honest, or at least weren't honest enough. Repeatedly telling us that they were "effective" really misses the mark. It's insulting our integrity, and it makes Wikipedia look bad, as if we are more interested in money than truth. Levivich (talk) 14:06, 1 December 2022 (UTC)

I strongly agree! Every year when the fundraising starts, you see some people who feel guilty and unhappy about not donating (an example with over 500 likes), you see some other people start saying that Wikipedia is a money-grubbing pit that no one should donate to, and you see even more people simply being annoyed. Like it or not, these banners have a real impact on how people feel about Wikipedia. They should be honest and leave people feeling good about donating, not guilt-tripped, deceived, or taken advantage of. —Ganesha811 (talk) 14:10, 1 December 2022 (UTC)

1 minute readEdit

To all our readers in the U.S., Please don't skip this 1 minute read. This Tuesday November 30th, on the second day of our annual fundraiser, your support is requested by the nonprofit that hosts Wikipedia and other crucial free knowledge projects. Each year, thanks to the 2% of readers who give to support our nonprofit mission, we can expand the reach of free knowledge to new corners of the world. If Wikipedia matters and is useful to you too, please join them and donate $2 today. Give only what you can comfortably give: what matters is your support, not the size of your gift. Together, let's preserve this special space on the internet. Online, Wikipedia is the closest thing we have to a public park or a library where everyone can go to learn. And that's priceless. Thank you. — The Wikimedia Foundation

Feedback (1 minute read)Edit

What do you like and do you have any alternative versions we could test? What would you change and how?

  • It's only 40 seconds long it's not a 1 minute read![Joke] Yes I did actually time myself reading it. Joking aside, I don't see why mentioning a specific amount of time is relevant. Maybe just saying "this quick read" would be better. In my own banner idea above I also proposed the mention that money isn't the only way one can donate to Wikipedia and other related projects (tho this can apply to all of the banners) and I'd like to see that included. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 18:48, 30 November 2022 (UTC)
I'd say that "1 minute read" is clever and resonates in a way that "a quick read" doesn't but more importantly I know that this is just my personal opinion based on how it strikes me, and I acknowledge that your personal opinion based on how it strikes you is totally different! So, given that neither of us seems to have any particular objection to either, it sounds like an empirically testable hypothesis!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:25, 1 December 2022 (UTC)
Yes you are correct in that I don't necessarily object to it. I simply think it could be worded a bit better, though it's not necessarily terrible with how it's currently worded. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 18:12, 1 December 2022 (UTC)
I actually prefer "quick read" or some variation. One minute doesn't seem long in isolation, but it would be one minute spent reading a fundraising appeal (not fun) rather than reading, say, Egyptian pyramids (fun!), which is what I presumably landed on the article to do. One minute therefore looks like a long time, especially if it's splashed across a giant box filling the screen. I'd start scrolling down very quickly. But who knows, maybe I'm more impatient than the next IP editor. 199.208.172.35 (talk) 15:55, 1 December 2022 (UTC)
"One minute read" struck me when I first saw it, which was in a live ad, I mean banner. It's much better than "please don't scroll away" (nor turn away from the starving children, don't turn your back on the needy, you callous person). C.f. Internet Archive "please don't scroll past this" which avoids the subtle guilt connotations of "away". "One minute read" felt odd at first, but that could be because of my background having looked at several of these already: the average reader may find it unremarkable. I did notice that the short version still said "one minute read". Unlike Blaze I didn't time myself! but even a slow reader would take nowhere near a minute on that banner. It felt out of place on something so short. Perhaps for future iterations "quick read" or "short message" or something else ("20-second read" sounds weird) on the short banner and keep 1 minute on the long one? ⁓ Pelagicmessages ) 23:14, 3 December 2022 (UTC)

Feedback (other phrasing)Edit

[I refactored Andreas' comment and my new one under a separate heading, hope nobody minds. ⁓ Pelagicmessages ) 00:00, 4 December 2022 (UTC)]

"Together, let's preserve this special space on the internet" is too close for my liking to the old "Wikipedia is under threat" meme. Please stop doing that. --Andreas JN466 13:15, 3 December 2022 (UTC)

"This Saturday December 3rd, on the fifth day of our annual fundraiser, …" seemed a teeny bit too verbose and specific. I already know what day it is. How about "this Saturday, the the fifth day of our annual fundraiser"? The other version "This Saturday December 3rd, your support is requested …" gives the false impression that the campaign is only running on one day. Or that you're not going to keep asking me on subsequent days. As always, it would be interesting to learn how the different variations resonate with donors. Do you change up the wording when you get to the "thirtieth day of our annual fundraiser"? As I said previously, I do think some specificity is better than "for the first time recently". ⁓ Pelagicmessages ) 00:00, 4 December 2022 (UTC)

Annual fundraiserEdit

A message from the Wikimedia Foundation:

We'll get straight to the point: This Tuesday we are holding our annual fundraiser and looking for any exceptional reader who would like to give. Wikipedia and all the Wikimedia projects are supported by the donations of individuals who chip in what feels right to them. If these resources have given you $2 worth of knowledge this year, please join the readers who donate. We have been proudly independent for more than 20 years, and we owe it all to our readers, editors and donors. Thanks to the incredible financial support from our reading community, we have never run ads and don't intend to. Today, we invite you to donate $2 or whatever seems right to you. Whether you donate or not, we thank you sincerely for reading Wikipedia, and we hope you find the information you're looking for. — The Wikimedia Foundation

Feedback (Annual Fundraiser)Edit

What do you like and do you have any alternative versions we could test? What would you change and how?

  • I strongly feel that "don't intend to" should be replaced by "never will." This is (hopefully) more accurate and (certainly) stronger language. Less importantly, I would remove the "and looking for any exceptional reader....give." clause in the first sentence. It just feels patronizing to use the word "exceptional" and the whole phrase is redundant to the rest of the message. —Ganesha811 (talk) 20:32, 30 November 2022 (UTC)
That's making a commitment beyond the scope of the fundraising team and also beyond the scope even of the current board of directors. Let me explain a bit. There is no way, given the way the law of nonprofits work, for the current board to tie the hands of any future board. It would therefore be dishonest and misleading for us to make a promise that we don't have the power to make. We should promise the maximum that we can - which is that we don't intend to run ads!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:29, 1 December 2022 (UTC)
Frankly, I think that's an excuse. Yes, making a promise during fundraising that Wikipedia will never run ads would make it embarrassing for a future Board to go back on that promise. But they could if they wanted to—their hands would not actually be tied by any legal constraint. The only reason to be hesitant on this point is if the current Board wants to retain the option for future Boards to introduce advertising—which as you know would mean the death of the project. I'm not conspiratorial and I don't think the current Board has any intention whatsoever of putting ads on Wikipedia, but this waffling about restricting the actions of a future Board just doesn't cut it. —Ganesha811 (talk) 13:56, 1 December 2022 (UTC)
You could tie the hands of a future board by giving the community direct influence over certain areas of the governing process - you could make a decision that no ads will ever by run on Wikipedia, and that to reverse or otherwise modify any aspect of this decision (include the aspect requiring community approval) would require a majority vote of the community. BilledMammal (talk) 00:58, 2 December 2022 (UTC)
The Board could add "no advertising of any kind shall be permitted on any WMF website" to the bylaws and the Terms of Use. The fact that a future board can remove it doesn't stop anyone from nevertheless writing bylaws and Terms of Use. There is nothing deceptive about amending the bylaws and Terms of Use. Levivich (talk) 03:30, 2 December 2022 (UTC)
The bylaws can be changed by the board without even telling us, as we've learnt before. The only way to tie their hands would be to cede control of the main assets of the WMF to a foundation in a jurisdiction with stricter laws about this, for example a Dutch Stichting, and write something in the bylaws there. See also m:Wikimedia Trust. Nemo 08:34, 5 December 2022 (UTC)
  • I think that if you start this off with "A message from the Wikimedia Foundation" you probably don't also have to say who it's from at the end, as the disclosure as to who created the message is already there. — Red-tailed hawk (nest) 03:12, 2 December 2022 (UTC)

More linesEdit

We've learned over the years that highlighting the uniqueness of our reader supported donor model resonates with readers. We'd love ideas for how we can express this in banners. Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling:

  1. Each year a small fraction of our readers give and it's enough to support our work to advance the cause of free knowledge in the world.
  2. If you'd like to this year, please join the 2% of readers who donate to support the cause of free knowledge in the world.
  3. Each year we take a few weeks to ask you for your support of free knowledge.
  4. Thanks to the 2% of readers who give to support our nonprofit mission, we can expand the reach of free knowledge to new corners of the world.

MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 16:13, 30 November 2022 (UTC)

Feedback (More lines)Edit

What do you like and do you have any alternative versions we could test? What would you change and how?

One of the things that I've always been interested in is how widely our banner campaigns deviate from some "received wisdom" from behavioural economics. I've had people suggest to me that at least two elements of our campaign are surprising: we "anchor" people on a number far lower than the average donation by suggesting $2/£2/etc or a "cup of coffee" and we do the opposite of the Bandwagon effect by telling people that only 2% of readers donate. I am of the understanding, though not close to the details, that many things have been studied and tested over the years and we are getting it right at least with our audience. I personally suspect this may be because the approach is so refreshing and modest and unusual.

Still I wonder, what about a banner that tells people the average donation last year (for the big English fundraiser, say, to make it an accurate figure for what we are comparing) rather than mentioning the small amount. I'm one of those people who, when asked to support something, often want to "do the right thing" and look to see what's normally done in such a situation. This might increase the revenue per donation?

Under the current model of what we are doing, in terms of responding to the RfC, would it be ok to use lines like "The Wikimedia Foundation depends on your donations"? That is, as opposed to what some people objected to (incorrectly in my view, but that's for another day) which was "Wikipedia depends on your donations".--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:29, 30 November 2022 (UTC)

Thanks for this question! These are two of the most interesting things about our program. And yes, for almost a decade now, we’ve gotten a steady stream of questions and ideas from non-profit fundraising experts and behavioral economists telling us that we’re doing it wrong. We’ve consistently taken the feedback very seriously and tested these questions over and over, often testing verbatim suggestions from experts – including best selling authors and even including a Nobel prize-winning behavioral economist! It’s incredible to see the interest and care people have in our banners.
On the ask amount: many big charities seem to have more success asking for larger amounts and also asking primarily for monthly donations as opposed to one-time gifts. Other kinds of fundraising programs, such as political campaigns, sometimes have more luck asking for small gifts. Over the years, we’ve reduced our average gift and found that it leads to more donors and more money overall. (In 2009 our average gift was $35.67 and last year was $13.91.) Lowering the average donation amount helps in two ways: First, we raise more money overall asking for small amounts. Second, we get far more donors, and new donors. Not only does asking for small, more affordable, amounts feel right to reach our wide readerbase, but it also puts the Foundation into a better position long-term with a broader base of donors. We’ve found mentioning multiple amounts can help give a sense that’s relatable to different people. Right now, we have a “$2” suggestion in the banner message and highlight “The average donation is $16.36” in the donation form next to the amount buttons. We try to provide different suggestions that might feel right to our wide audience.
On the question of behavioral economics (BE): One commonly accepted principle of BE that our banners seem to violate is “social proof.” Many behavioral economists believe that making the action you want people to take seem popular and common will always have the most success. In other words, “Everyone is doing it!” The bandwagon effect. But the opposite seems to be true for our banners. We’ve tested many, many variations on the social proof idea. We’ve even tested verbatim messages written by experts in behavioral economics. For some reason, our messages about only a small fraction of readers donating always beats the “social proof” messages.
Our theory about this has always been that donating to a service like Wikipedia is different than the kinds of applications that social proof has been shown to work for, such as anti-littering campaigns, or campaigns to promote vaccination, safe driving, etc…. If everyone was donating to WMF, then another donation wouldn’t be necessary. We’ve always felt that being honest with our readers about the percentage of readers who donate is the best approach because–well, because it’s honest. And because in every test we’ve done about this, it’s always done better than the social proof approach. On your question about trying "The Wikimedia Foundation depends on your donations,” I don’t think we’ve ever tried this exact wording. Thanks for raising this idea! MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 14:59, 1 December 2022 (UTC)
Thanks for explaining this in such detail, Megan. Fascinating... you could write a [wiki]book! with hot takes from donors about their experience. Overall I find the Wikimedia campaigns have consistently felt genuine, welcoming, unexaggerated -- in an era where even essential political and grassroots campaigns across the spectrum have descended into brinkmanship and clickbait.
And: seconding the interest in the reworded line. I don't think we should shy away from inviting support of [PROJECTNAME] in banners on each project, especially for Wikipedia [on smaller projects there is a stronger argument that the vast majority of technical focus goes to WP + MW, followed by WD + Commons]. But I'd also like to see messages inviting support of the global Foundation & see how that affects participation. – SJ + 09:10, 3 December 2022 (UTC)
I note you've just deleted sources critical of WMF fundraising from the Wikimedia Foundation article. (Edit summary: "cleanup".)   Andreas JN466 13:25, 3 December 2022 (UTC)
@Andreas for someone who argues so stridently for transparency, I would have made sure to mention that at least one of the sources I was complaining about the removal of was written by yourself - and Daily Dot articles in general were being used as wikivoice sources incorrectly as per this RfC Nosebagbear (talk) 19:03, 3 December 2022 (UTC)
I did. Andreas JN466 01:16, 4 December 2022 (UTC)
I like 4, because it clearly states that you are expanding. 2 and 3 are good too. 1, however, once again fails the truth test for me: it's not been "enough to support our work to advance the cause of free knowledge in the world", it's been more than enough. The WMF has increased its assets by over $250 million since 2016 (Endowment included). --Andreas JN466 13:22, 3 December 2022 (UTC)
  • I'm fine with either £2 or the average figure from last year. Points 2 & 3 are good, and in rare agreement in Andreas, I also like point 4. Point 1 is a little odd - I interpreted it quite differently to those above (who look like they interpreted it in at least 2 different ways). it's enough to support our work to advance the cause of free knowledge in the world is inherently ambiguous - any work we managed to fund at all would make it truthful (and £100m/year certainly is doing something!), on the flipside, we could have a £10B annual budget and still not conclude the cause. Perhaps focus on the latter 3, and avoid the former as it's ultimately rather dependent on what viewpoint you hold towards the general question. @MeganHernandez (WMF): Nosebagbear (talk) 11:20, 5 December 2022 (UTC)

"Together, let's preserve this special space" (current banner wording)Edit

To all our readers in the UK, Please don't skip this 1 minute read. This Monday December 5th, we’re asking for your support. We are the nonprofit that hosts Wikipedia and 12 other free knowledge projects. If you can this year, please join the 2% of readers who give. Now is the time we invite you to give £2 or whatever seems right. Wikipedia is different. No advertising, no subscription fees, no paywalls. Those don't belong here. Wikipedia is a place to learn, free from bias or agenda. Together, let's preserve this special space. If Wikipedia has given you £2 worth of knowledge this year, please support the technology that makes our projects possible and advance the cause of free knowledge worldwide. Show the world that access to independent and unbiased information matters to you. — The Wikimedia Foundation

Feedback ("Together, let's preserve this special space")Edit

  • The above is the current banner in the UK. The phrase "Together, let's preserve this special space" might add a bit to your revenue, but it once again goes down the road of stating that money is needed to keep Wikipedia online.
  • The RfC was quite clear that banners that state or imply any of the following are not considered appropriate on the English Wikipedia:
    • Wikipedia's existence or independence is under threat or dependent on donations [...]
  • You promised you'd stick by the outcome of the RfC. In my view, you're breaking that promise by running that sentence "Together, let's preserve this special space." Please drop this sentence; the text flows nicely without it. Regards, --Andreas JN466 23:31, 5 December 2022 (UTC)
    Pinging CDenes (WMF), JBrungs (WMF), MeganHernandez (WMF), Pcoombe (WMF): Please fix this wording by simply removing that sentence as soon as possible, per the RFC close. Thanks. – Jonesey95 (talk) 06:13, 6 December 2022 (UTC)
    @Jayen466, Jonesey95: Sorry, I didn't see this earlier as the ping didn't work. Confirming that we've now removed that sentence where it occurs in the live banners. As an alternative, what would you think of Together, let's preserve and grow this special space? Peter Coombe (WMF) (talk) 13:11, 6 December 2022 (UTC)
    Thanks, @Pcoombe (WMF), very much appreciated. For reference, including the endowment, the WMF took almost exactly $1.1 billion in revenue over the past ten years, of which it spent only $0.78 billion and kept $0.32 billion. So this is no time to speak of "preserving" Wikipedia. Riffing on your suggestion, how about Together, let's support and grow this special space? Regards, Andreas JN466 14:39, 6 December 2022 (UTC)
    Others have pointed out to me that it's also problematic to say that Wikipedia is "free from bias or agenda". I'd recommend a perusal of Heather Ford's book, Writing the Revolution (I recently reviewed it for The Signpost). Much recommended. To put it in a nutshell, Wikipedia is very much a place where conflicting agendas clash and engage in combat. The result can't be relied upon to be either stable or unbiased. This is pretty common knowledge. Andreas JN466 14:53, 6 December 2022 (UTC)
    I think "support" is a good choice. – Jonesey95 (talk) 15:12, 6 December 2022 (UTC)
    On "free from bias and agenda", note recent WMF Trust & Safety action in Middle East/North Africa region: [3]. This demonstrates that there is a wide gulf between ideal and reality. (I understand some of the most active admins on Arabic Wikipedia are among the users globally banned yesterday.) --Andreas JN466 14:20, 7 December 2022 (UTC)

First week updateEdit

Hi everyone,

Now that the campaign has been up for a week, we wanted to share an update with information on what we're learning so far and how the campaign has performed. Thank you to those who have shared ideas to try in the past week, keep them coming!

So far, we've tested 100+ banners based on input on this page and through other channels.

On December 5, we ran a head to head test of the banner that was used on our launch day (November 29) and the best banner as of December 5. Over the course of a week, we were able to improve the donation rate by 58%. We've seen significant donation rate improvements so far, but we are still about 50% below the original revenue projections.

While we will continue to iterate and improve, there was a lot of low hanging fruit with the launch day banners. We don't expect 50% improvement each week with small iterations on these same messages.

One of the things we've learned about fundraising over all these years is that donating "RIGHT NOW" is a very hard thing to make people do - there is always a reason to put it off and donate later. We've found that the first few banners a reader sees are the most important. The donation rate declines by showing readers more and more banners while the disruption to the reading experience increases. What we think will help the performance of our banners is creating more urgency around the moment of giving – not urgency about the state of Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Foundation. We need your help to figure out how we can create a feeling for people to donate in a specific moment with a sense of purpose and urgency — and then quickly move on to other things in their lives. Our shared goal is actually to minimize the interruption to our readers of banners in the first place. If we can get more people to give on the first view, it's the best outcome for us all.


November 29 Launch Day Banner Message

To all our readers in the U.S.,

This Tuesday your support is requested by the nonprofit that hosts Wikipedia and twelve other free knowledge projects. If you can comfortably afford it this year, please join the readers who donate. These donations support the technology that makes our projects possible, and help us provide resources to the groups who build local communities of contributors to create our millions of articles and images. They also help us advocate for public policy to advance the cause of free knowledge worldwide and defend information access in countries struggling with censorship. Today, we invite you to donate $2 or whatever seems right to you. Show the world that access to independent and unbiased information matters to you. Thank you for your time. — The Wikimedia Foundation


December 5 Banner Message

To all our readers in the U.S.,

Please don't skip this 1 minute read. This Tuesday December 6th, we're asking for your support. We are the nonprofit that hosts Wikipedia and 12 other free knowledge projects. If you can this year, please join the 2% of readers who give. Now is the time we invite you to give $2 or whatever seems right. Wikipedia is different. No advertising, no subscription fees, no paywalls. Those don't belong here. Wikipedia is a place to learn, free from bias or agenda. Together, let's preserve this special space. If Wikipedia has given you $2 worth of knowledge this year, please support the technology that makes our projects possible and advance the cause of free knowledge worldwide. Show the world that access to independent and unbiased information matters to you. — The Wikimedia Foundation


Another batch of banners

We've prepared a new round of banners and would love your feedback. Thanks.

My feedback is that these copy edits, which should not have been controversial, should be applied/retained so that these messages conform to the en.WP Manual of Style (except for "non-profit", which apparently should be written as nonprofit per the Wikipedia article name; my mistake) and are consistent from one banner to the next. Pinging Pcoombe (WMF) to request implementation of those changes. – Jonesey95 (talk) 19:19, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
@Jonesey95 I appreciate your attention to detail. While the English Wikipedia's MOS is an excellent guide to writing encyclopedia articles, these banners are not articles and aren't claiming to be. In some cases there are practical reasons for making different choices. For example we are working with a constrained character count to ensure that banners are consistent in size, which means using digits can be better than spelling out numbers.
Also some of the edits were more substantive such as changing "There are no small contributions" to "No contribution is too small". We want to make sure that everyone can see and discuss exactly the same proposed text here, to avoid any confusion. Peter Coombe (WMF) (talk) 20:41, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
Please change all instances of "1 minute" to "one-minute" (adjective) or "one minute" (noun) (adding two characters; I know that you will find a way to fit the message in your self-imposed character count). Change all messages to have the same signature; " – The Wikimedia Foundation" (with a spaced en dash) appears to be preferred. Banner 2.4 is missing a period before the signature. Remove "That's so unique." from banner 2.5, per feedback and common sense (saving characters). Change "Thursday December 8th," to "Thursday, December 8," saving characters. – Jonesey95 (talk) 21:30, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
I don't see why we need to change "1 minutes" to "one-minute" or "one minute". As they said the MOS doesn't apply to the banners. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 22:35, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
"1 minute" looks unprofessional and sloppy, as do the other inconsistencies I had tidied up before they were reverted. When someone asks me for money using language that is unprofessional and sloppy, I wonder how they run the rest of their operation. – Jonesey95 (talk) 01:04, 9 December 2022 (UTC)
@Jonesey95: You are Bikeshedding here. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 19:28, 9 December 2022 (UTC)

"An appeal from Jimmy"Edit

Jimbo Wales, in an earlier post you said you would not be opposed to running an appeal from you this year. Would you please share a message to try this year? Thank you!

Ok, great, I did a bit of accidental research last night and came up with an idea and slept on it and I still like it.

Accidental research - I saw a tweet from a New York Post journalist saying to Elon Musk (who had complained to his fans creating a silly "scandal" about a routine deletion debate) "I wonder how much Wikipedia would cost?" I responded in a quote tweet with a dry "Not for sale". This got an extremely positive response (at this moment over 220,000 likes!) from people including many who said that they hadn't donated before but would donate now. I paid close attention to the negative responses but they were mostly from the sorts of people who claim that that community is basically full of CIA agents, etc.

This gave me an idea - people do love it about us that we are not like other websites. Wikimedia is a nonprofit, a charity, and therefore isn't subject to the kinds of risks and pressures that other major websites have. I also worry that our very long wall of text banners may not be for everyone (although after years of testing, they do work well). So I propose this banner message, and welcome open testing of variants.

<large font>Not for sale.</large font>

"When I set up the Wikimedia Foundation as a charity to operate Wikipedia it meant that we could preserve our core values: neutral, high quality information, not outrage and clickbait. As a result of our being a charity there is no danger that someone will buy Wikipedia and turn it into their personal playground. Please donate, it really matters." -- Jimmy Wales, founder, Wikimedia Foundation

I propose we test that in a few variants. - with and without picture of me - One version as written above, another with the bold text saying "Not for sale - a personal message from Jimmy Wales"

I also welcome a brainstorming conversation here about variants that might work well.

--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:17, 8 December 2022 (UTC)

Feedback (Appeal from Jimmy)Edit

  • Hi Jimmy. Seeing the same, I wrote a somewhat more humorous message off-wiki, but I think a more serious on-wiki one would work well (or, at a bare minimum - is worth giving a go!). Given Advancement's concern that the issue is people thinking they'll donate later, I'd just suggest a tweak at the end to "please donate now, it really matters." Nosebagbear (talk) 12:25, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
Oh I love that change.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:36, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
  • Yeah, you tell 'em, Jimmy! —k6ka 🍁 (Talk · Contributions) 12:40, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
  • I like this! Would suggest changing As a result of our being a charity to Being a charity means; less clunky. -- Tamzin[cetacean needed] (she|they|xe) 13:41, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
    Good one! Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:20, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
  • We should not say that the Wikimedia Foundation "operates" Wikipedia, because it very clearly doesn't – it neither writes nor curates the content of its projects (people are already confused enough about that point). I would suggest "to host and support Wikipedia". Other than that, I think the idea has merit and might work well. --Andreas JN466 14:34, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
    In any ordinary sense of the word, it is 100% clear that the Wikimedia Foundation "operates" Wikipedia. Google operates YouTube, ByteDance operates Tiktok, etc. The word "operates" does not imply that YouTube is creating or curating videos, etc. So this objection is absurd. Having said that your replacement is fine with me.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:25, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
    The WMF is not analogous to other web platform operators. Google, YouTube and ByteDance don't rely on volunteer software engineers the way that Wikipedia does. I agree that "host" and "support" are better than "operate". Levivich (talk) 15:34, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
    The Wikipedia community does far more to "operate" Wikipedia than the YouTuber community (which actually receives some payment for its content) does in the case of YouTube.
    With Wikipedia, for example, community members contribute code, operate bots, and program templates; write and maintain the site's content policies and guidelines; curate and link content, delete inappropriate content and take action to minimise inappropriate content; staff consumer-facing help desks and answer most email inquiries and complaints received about Wikipedia from the general public. YouTubers don't do any of those things.
    Bizarrely though members of the general public are far more likely to be confused about who does what on Wikipedia than they are in the case of YouTube. Everybody knows that the videos are not created and uploaded by paid YouTube staff and that if you complain to YouTube, your complaint will be handled by a paid staff member rather than one of the many video uploaders.
    In Wikipedia's case, however, the notion that the Wikimedia Foundation's paid staff is wholly or partly responsible for writing, checking and correcting content, or at least "moderating" the process, is widespread. I believe the Wikimedia Foundation's track record of presenting itself and its paid staff as synonymous with its content-producing community and taking credit for the content – not least in its fundraising banners – is largely responsible for this. Andreas JN466 19:48, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
  • I don't think the WMF meets the common definition of a "charity", as it doesn't give money to the poor and grantmaking is a small portion of its budget. (As opposed to "nonprofit", "foundation", or "charitable organization".) Levivich (talk) 15:14, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
    Yes, that's something I was getting at in a question down below on a different banner. I'm personally indifferent - my own personal definition of what counts as a charity *includes* what we do - give a free encyclopedia to every single person on the planet. But I really do think it's an empirical question and probably "nonprofit" does all the work we need it to do without some portion of people finding a moment of confusion about the use of the word 'charity'.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:25, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
    I agree and I also think "nonprofit" better emphasizes the point that it's not for sale (not for profit). Levivich (talk) 15:34, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
    Looking at Charitable organization, I think 'charity' is fine - in the educational/public good sense. 501(c)(3) organization also indicates the same. 'nonprofit' also works fine, maybe that's something to A/B test? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 17:29, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
    (replied below) Levivich (talk) 17:42, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
    Your link doesn't work. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 17:43, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
  • Proposed rewrite incorporating some of the ideas above.

<large font>Not for sale.</large font>

"I set up the Wikimedia Foundation as a non-profit to ensure Wikipedia's core values will never change: neutral, high quality information, not outrage and clickbait. The Foundation supports free knowledge and hosts Wikipedia. Being a charity means that there is no danger that someone will buy Wikipedia and turn it into their personal playground. Please donate what you can right now to help us; it really matters." -- Jimmy Wales, founder, Wikimedia Foundation

Jimbo Wales and others, what do you think? —Ganesha811 (talk) 15:57, 9 December 2022 (UTC)

Nice @Jimbo Wales, love the first person voice! And cool version, @—Ganesha811, I feel you made the opening very brisk, leading with "I." We’re excited to bring back a fresh founder appeal. We’ve made a few tweaks based on the ideas here to use “please donate now” and “host and support Wikipedia.” We’re using “nonprofit” in this first test, but happy to try “charity” at some point as well. We’ll keep you posted on this test. Thank you, Jimmy, for your new message and to others for the ideas and suggested edits. -- SPatton (WMF) (talk) 21:59, 9 December 2022 (UTC)

I think that, if there's a significant likelihood this will be viewed as linked to current events, this may be a risky banner to run. --Yair rand (talk) 08:03, 13 December 2022 (UTC)
(Facepalm.) Taking a look at social media, apparently I was quite right about this. Many have interpreted this as linked to Musk/Twitter, thus likely causing serious harm to our reputation among certain segments of the population. --Yair rand (talk) 08:27, 19 December 2022 (UTC)
  • For reference and inspiration, the New York Times published an article by Ezra Klein about Twitter and social media a couple of days ago that expressed similar sentiments: It sounded like utopia to me, before I remembered that a key part of our digital infrastructure is run similarly. Wikipedia remains one of the most-visited sites on the web, and it is owned and managed by the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation. It shows. Wikipedia has never tried to become more than it is. It never pivoted to video or remade itself around an algorithmic feed in order to harvest more of our attention. It is a commons but one that is governed so we may use it rather than so that it may use us. It gives so much more than it takes. It thrives, quietly and gently, as a reminder that a very different internet, governed in a very different way, intended for a very different purpose, is possible. [4] --Andreas JN466 09:09, 13 December 2022 (UTC)

Edit

To all our readers in the U.S.,

Please don't skip this 1 minute read. This Thursday we interrupt your reading to humbly ask for your support. If you can this year, please take a minute to join the 2% of readers who give. Now is the time we invite you to give $2 or whatever seems right. We don't run ads and we don't sell your data, because you're a community to us, not a commodity. Instead, our nonprofit relies on readers for support. Wikipedia today really is part of the infrastructure of the world. It is like a library or a public park where we can all go to learn. Thank you for not scrolling away. If Wikipedia has given you $2 worth of knowledge this year, please take a minute to donate. Show the world that access to independent and unbiased information matters to you. Thank you. — The Wikimedia Foundation

Feedback (Banner 2.2)Edit

What do you like and do you have any alternative versions we could test? What would you change and how?

I like this one - it emphasises some of our core values that people care about: community not commodity, reader support, we don't sell your data, etc.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:23, 8 December 2022 (UTC)

  • "Independent and unbiased information" oversells Wikipedia and is apt to lull naive readers in a false sense of security – again, note that WMF Trust & Safety has just banned over a quarter of Arabic Wikipedia administrators (who have made many edits to Wikipedia's coverage of Saudi Arabia, including in the English Wikipedia). I wonder whether something like "free access to an unprecedented treasure trove of information" (not necessarily those words, but that idea) would work? I remember when I first discovered Wikipedia, I was amazed at how many relatively obscure topics were covered in a way that was very useful for practical purposes (even if the article wasn't necessarily that well written). --Andreas JN466 15:00, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
    Hi @Jayen466, the "independent and unbiased information" line was an idea from two people on the first batch of banners that were shared on November 25. We've also received positive feedback on this sentence in other channels from volunteers and donors. Taking those perspectives into account, it feels like a line that we can continue using. That said, we're always interested in new test ideas, and "The treasure trove" idea is a great one to test and a sentiment we often hear from donors. Thanks for that idea, we welcome more messaging ideas. SPatton (WMF) (talk) 14:29, 9 December 2022 (UTC)
  • Reverse "library or public park" to "public park or library" - makes more sense with the second half of the sentence. Cut the world "humbly" - self-aware humility ironically has the opposite effect. Cut the words "today really", they weaken the sentence with unnecessary verbosity. Actually, the whole sentence could be cut without losing much. —Ganesha811 (talk) 14:53, 9 December 2022 (UTC)

Edit

Dear Reader, please give us 1 minute of your time. 👀

Today is the tenth day in our once-a-year fundraiser. We request your support for the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that hosts Wikipedia and other crucial free knowledge projects. Every year, a generous 2% of readers donate to support our nonprofit mission. With these funds we can continue to expand the global impact of free knowledge. 🌍 ❤️ If Wikipedia is useful to you, please consider giving $2 today. Give only what you can. We value your support in any form, not the size of your gift. We see Wikipedia as a worldwide public library where anyone can learn. And that's priceless. Thanks!

Feedback (Banner 2.3)Edit

What do you like and do you have any alternative versions we could test? What would you change and how?

  • I really like that one. I like that it mentions the idea of expansion and that it includes "Give only what you can". --Andreas JN466 14:38, 8 December 2022 (UTC)

Edit

To all our readers in the U.S.,

Please don't skip this 1 minute read, as time is running out in 2022 to support Wikipedia. We are the nonprofit that hosts and maintains Wikipedia and its sister sites. If everyone reading this right now gave just $2, we'd hit our annual goal in just a couple hours. That's how many readers Wikipedia has. 2% of them donate every year, and thanks to their support, we have never run ads and we don't intend to. We're proud to be supported by you, our readers, who give an average of $16.36. It's easy to ignore our messages, but we hope you'll take one minute to think about how useful Wikipedia is in your life. We're here to provide the platform for fact checked information in a world where disinformation spreads too easily. If Wikipedia has given you $2 worth of knowledge this year, please donate whatever seems right. Thank you. - The Wikimedia Foundation

Feedback (Banner 2.4)Edit

What do you like and do you have any alternative versions we could test? What would you change and how?

I really like the "if everyone gave $2 right now" as I've said elsewhere on the page. It really does emphasize that each donation matters.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:25, 8 December 2022 (UTC)

  • This is also fine - the offset $2 against the average works fairly well - it reduces pressure that some might feel from what (to some) is a high figure, but I think would bump up the willingness for $/£2. Is the average figure geotagged to just change to the appropriate amount of the appropriate currency, or to what the average donation figure is for that country? Nosebagbear (talk) 12:30, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
  • Several concerns: 1. maintains Wikipedia is too ambiguous – there are so many people already who think that the Wikimedia Foundation writes or at least curates Wikipedia and that their donations will be used to that end. It would be wrong to encourage that misconception further. Changing it to the nonprofit that hosts and supports Wikipedia would resolve it. Alternatively, the text should make clear what exactly it is that is being maintained so it is clear that it is not the content. 2. As previously mentioned, If everyone reading this right now gave just $2, we'd hit our annual goal in just a couple hours implies that the WMF would stop once a goal has been reached. As Levivich explained admirably well above, this is not how the WMF has been fundraising – goals set have been exceeded by tens of millions of dollars. On the positive side, donate whatever seems right is good. --Andreas JN466 15:10, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
    Hi @Jayen466, thank you for all the feedback.
    Similar to the appeal from Jimmy above, we’ve updated the message to use “hosts and supports.” 
    As far as the "If everyone reading this right now" sentence, Wikipedia’s pageviews number in the tens of millions every single day, and if all the people receiving fundraising banner impressions gave, we would absolutely exceed our goal, and that is what is stated here. This statement is meant to show our broad base of readers and offset that with the relatively small fraction who actually do donate. SPatton (WMF) (talk) 22:35, 9 December 2022 (UTC)
  • "time is running out in 2022 to support Wikipedia" feels misleading - it's not as if supporting Wikipedia (without taking a position on whether donations actually do that) in 2023 won't have the same effect. * Pppery * it has begun... 22:11, 9 December 2022 (UTC)
    And, since it's possible to donate to the WMF even when fundraisers aren't running (such as via the sidebar link), the implication that time is running out [...] to support Wikipedia in general isn't true. * Pppery * it has begun... 22:14, 9 December 2022 (UTC)
    The message there is probably targeting US citizens primarily, who can make charitable donations and get tax relief for doing so. Izno (talk) 02:43, 10 December 2022 (UTC)

Edit

To all our readers in the U.S.,

Please don't scroll past this 1 minute read. This Thursday December 8th, the nonprofit that hosts Wikipedia and other free knowledge projects humbly asks for your support. We hope that 2% of the readers visiting Wikipedia today will answer. Now is the time we ask: If you donate just $2, or whatever seems right, we could expand the reach of free knowledge and keep improving the technology behind Wikipedia. There have never been ads or subscription fees on Wikipedia. It welcomes everyone, like a library or a public park. That's so unique. Our fundraiser is almost over: If Wikipedia has given you $2 worth of knowledge this year, please take a minute to donate. Support the technology that makes our projects possible and show the world that access to free information matters to you. Thank you for your time. – The Wikimedia Foundation

Feedback (Banner 2.5)Edit

What do you like and do you have any alternative versions we could test? What would you change and how?

I personally don't mind it all that much, but "so unique" is an unusual turn of phrase. Unique means one of a kind, and so doesn't really accept modifiers. But in casual language, people say this sort of thing all the time. I just thought I would raise it for others to contemplate.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:28, 8 December 2022 (UTC)

Is this the last week of the fundraiser (or, more precisely, will it only be running in the last week)? If not, then it shouldn't be saying "almost over". I mean, I personally really dislike modifiers to "unique", but Wikipedia has long since forced me to cope with many incorrect non-standard-British English uses ;) Nosebagbear (talk) 12:34, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
Thanks for this feedback @Nosebagbear. We typically try different “campaign deadline” messaging toward the end of the campaign. For our live test right now, we’ve swapped in “2022 is almost over” since we’re in the last few weeks of the year and removed the concept that "Our fundraiser is almost over." SPatton (WMF) (talk) 18:12, 9 December 2022 (UTC)

I like this one for the way it makes explicit that the Wikimedia Foundation works on the technology behind Wikipedia, and for the mention of expansion. --Andreas JN466 15:15, 8 December 2022 (UTC)

  • If it's like a library or a public park, it doesn't make sense to say that it is unique. – Jonesey95 (talk) 15:37, 8 December 2022 (UTC)

Thanks for the feedback on 'so unique' @Jimbo Wales, @Nosebagbear and @Jonesey95, we've removed that wording from this message. -- SPatton (WMF) (talk) 18:15, 9 December 2022 (UTC)

Edit

To all our readers in the U.S.,

Please don't skip this 1 minute read. This Thursday December 8th, as 2022 draws to a close, our nonprofit invites you to reflect on the number of times you visited Wikipedia this year: the value you got from it, and whether you're able to give $2 back. If you're not, that's ok too. We ask for much less than many other nonprofits: just $2 or whatever is available to you. The reason we ask for these small donations is because Wikipedia and its sister sites are owned and built by everyone. There are no small contributions: every edit counts, every dollar counts. We're proud of how much knowledge Wikipedia delivers to you and to the world. But we need support. Once a year, we ask our loyal readers to make an honest assessment of the value they get from Wikipedia, and give $2 or whatever seems right. Thank you for your time. – The Wikimedia Foundation

Feedback (Banner 2.6)Edit

What do you like and do you have any alternative versions we could test? What would you change and how?

MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 12:00, 8 December 2022 (UTC)

This is a question not just for this banner, but applies in several places. Does the word "nonprofit" work better than "charity"?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:31, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
@Jimbo Wales - I'm personally wondering if this is a regional thing. In the UK, "Charity" works better (so long as we're legally good to say such) than nonprofit, I believe. But I don't know how it stands in other regions. Nosebagbear (talk) 12:35, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
I think we're legally clear to use either - a 501(c)(3) is definitely a charity. The US, too, has different categories of nonprofits, including for example political parties, so charity is more accurate. On the other hand some people (sadly sometimes including the Charity Commission in the UK that decides such matters) have a very narrow idea that charity is "pennies for the poor" rather than other parts of social infrastructure that are nonprofit.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:40, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
I would honestly find "Charity" a bit weird. The WMF isn't a charity in the typical sense (you don't donate money and then they put that money towards a noble cause such as planting more trees or cleaning the ocean), however, it's a charity in that the money goes towards sub-projects (that's what Wikipedia, Commons, Wikinews, etc. could be considered) which uses it to help promote free knowledge. In my opinion "nonprofit" would work better than "charity". For example, PBS is a nonprofit in that they rely on donations to stay on the air (i'm fairly sure anyways. when I used to watch their kids channel there was always something like "and thanks to viewers like you" or something) however they aren't necessarily a charity. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 15:16, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
Just to point out that Wikimedia UK is a charity, as decided by the Charity Commission, which indicates that they would probably also think the WMF to be a charity if it were based in the UK. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 17:36, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
Isnt the WMF based in the US though? ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 17:43, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
Yes, but Jimmy already described the US side with non-profit vs. charity - I was just commenting on the UK side. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 17:52, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
I admit that the difference between "charity," "charitable organization," and "nonprofit" is pedantic-semantic, but nevertheless... the WMF is a US 501(c)(3) organization. 501(c)(3)s are for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, which suggests that "charitable" is different from "educational" (and "scientific", etc.). The WMF is "educational" nonprofit moreso than "charitable" nonprofit IMO. If you look up "charity" in a dictionary [5] [6] -- like any dictionary, I think -- the definitions always talk about raising money for those in need, i.e. collecting donations and giving them out to the poor. The WMF doesn't do that. That's why I think describing it as a "charity" could lead to some confusion. Levivich (talk) 17:36, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
I think the logical fallacy there is '"charitable" is different from "educational"' - things can both be educational and charitable. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 17:50, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
Yes but the two different words have two different meanings. So the question is: what non-educational charitable work does the WMF do? I think none? Levivich (talk) 17:52, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
Um, what non-charitable educational work does it do? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 17:57, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
Everything it does is non-charitable educational work. I think you have to accept that under US's 501(c)(3), "charitable" and "educational" are two different things, not synonyms. If every 501c3 was "charitable", that would make the word "charitable" in the list of purposes redundant. So "religious", "scientific", "charitable", "educational" are four different things. A religious nonprofit is not pursuing a charitable purpose when it teaches religious doctrine, it's pursuing a religious and educational purpose (within the meaning of 501c3). Similarly, a free school is not pursuing a charitable purpose but an educational one. An orphanage is pursuing a charitable purpose but not an educational or religious one. (Unless the orphanage also has a school or is a religious orphanage.) The purpose of the WMF under 501c3 is education, not charity. I note the WMF's Bylaws Statement of Purpose exclusively talks about education and does not use the words charity or charitable, it doesn't talk about helping those in need or the disadvantaged. WMF educates the rich and poor alike. Levivich (talk) 18:12, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
I think you're still making the logical fallacy there of assuming they are completely distinct. Note that 'charitable' is mentioned in the bylaws, further down. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 18:28, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
I am guessing the answer is no, but this seems to be an ENGVAR thing. Could nonprofit be used in the US but charity be used in the UK? Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 20:10, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
This would be my preference - with further geovariance as is possible on our narrow timescale, and non-profit as the default if nothing is regionally set. Nosebagbear (talk) 00:27, 9 December 2022 (UTC)
I don't like the way this one confounds Wikipedia and Wikimedia Foundation. --Andreas JN466 15:13, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
I've read it three times. There's no conflation at all. I know you like to complain about everything but this is getting to be a bit much.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:32, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
Assuming that Andreas' concern is indeed that it's conflating, not confounding, I would say it could only genuinely conflate the two if the reader stopped reading the banner at a very bizarre point. The four places someone will likely stop reading is after each of the first three sentences, or read it through to the end. It's clear at all of those points. I do not believe there to be a conflation issue. Nosebagbear (talk) 18:04, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
I feel like the line We're proud of how much knowledge Wikipedia delivers to you and to the world. starts to approach the issues identified in the RfC and isn't a line that has been used before. Could it be changed to "We're proud of the work we do."? Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 20:09, 8 December 2022 (UTC)
Thanks for this suggestion @Barkeep49, it's a nice sentiment and one I can personally get behind :) We’re happy to try “We're proud of the work we do” as a new line and keep working on other variations based on that theme to try out as well. Thank you for the new line. SPatton (WMF) (talk) 18:38, 9 December 2022 (UTC)
@Nosebagbear: confound – to treat or regard erroneously as identical; mix or associate by mistake; to mingle so that the elements cannot be distinguished or separated. Andreas JN466 12:39, 12 December 2022 (UTC)
I suppose Andreas' point is that it's not always clear who is speaking. Who is the "we" in "we need support"? Who is the "our" in "our loyal readers"? Is it WMF or Wikipedia that is asking for support? Does WMF have loyal readers? It is the WMF speaking and asking for money, but doing so through Wikipedia, and referring to their loyal readers. So, yes, the message is a little muddled. The statement "But we need support" could be made clearer: "But we need money to help support Wikipedia". The phrase "we ask our loyal readers to make..." could be made clearer: "we ask you, Wikipedia's loyal readers, to make...". I suppose it is wording such as "our loyal readers" which gives some members of the Wikipedia community a feeling of being encroached upon, devalued, ignored, used, etc. Such members may feel that they have given their time, skill, effort, into writing the encyclopedia, only to be pushed aside at fund raising time, and have WMF claim that the effort was all theirs, and to take the credit (both money and praise). Minor points perhaps, but these are the ones that tend to irk volunteers. SilkTork (talk) 15:19, 9 December 2022 (UTC)
It's signed – The Wikimedia Foundation I think that makes clear who's speaking just as Barkeep49 (talk) 15:59, 9 December 2022 (UTC) makes clear who is speaking here. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 15:59, 9 December 2022 (UTC)
Yes. That part is clear. I think the point that Andreas is making is that the wording makes it appear as though Wikipedia and WMF are the same thing by using phrases such as "our loyal readers". I don't think that there was an intentional conflation in the wording - it is tricky to find the right wording when the relationship is symbiotic; but I do see what Andreas is saying, and I hoped I was making it clearer for others what Andreas meant. SilkTork (talk) 16:26, 9 December 2022 (UTC)

Second week updateEdit

Hi everyone,

We have an update to share on the second week of the English banner campaign. Thank you for the ideas from the last update. We’ve been able to find nice improvements from those in the past week. Please keep the ideas coming!


Week 2 Banners:

So far, we’ve tested 200+ banners over the last two weeks of fundraising. Thank you to everyone here who has provided edits, suggestions, and feedback on our content.


Some of the changes we've made in week 2:

In the past week, we’ve introduced new messaging that has helped increase donation rate:

  • More messaging around the urgency/immediacy of giving now – not urgency about the state of Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • Personal messages from Jimmy!

"When I set up the Wikimedia Foundation as a charity to operate Wikipedia it meant that we could preserve our core values: neutral, high quality information, not outrage and clickbait. As a result of our being a charity there is no danger that someone will buy Wikipedia and turn it into their personal playground. Please donate, it really matters." – Jimmy Wales, founder, Wikimedia Foundation


Week 2 donation rates: We've seen significant improvements so far, but our donation rate is still below last year's rate.

We have improved banner performance each day since the campaign launched. Typically, donation rate drops throughout the campaign. The improvements we’ve found so far have helped to reverse this typical trend and actually increase the rate over time.


Week 2 Campaign Revenue: We are on track to raise $15M of the original $30M English Banner goal

We will provide more information once the campaign finishes and we have a full view of the campaign. The team is exploring ways to try to make up for some of  the decline in revenue in the second half of the fiscal year.


New messaging

In addition to lining up tests with the great suggestions that have been made on this page (stay tuned, we’ll share results!), as we get closer to the end of the year and of the banner campaign, we are preparing messaging ideas to run in the last week of December. The final week of the year is a vital week for non-profit fundraising. Similar to other nonprofits, we typically see an increase in giving in the final days of the year. Over the years, we’ve tried different messages to emphasize this time-sensitive giving moment and seen a positive response from readers.

Here are some ideas we’re exploring based on past campaigns and some fresh ideas. Please share your ideas for how we can make the most of the last stretch of the campaign!  

End of year messagingEdit

  • There are only 3 days left in 2022 to make a donation to the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • {On New Year’s Eve} It’s the last day to give in 2022.
  • {On New Year’s Eve} There are only 6 hours left in 2022 to donate.
  • {On New Year’s Eve} Dear readers, only a few hours left in 2022 to help Wikipedia.
  • {On New Year’s Eve} If each person reading this today gave $2, our fundraising drive would be done by midnight tonight.
  • We still haven’t reached our year end fundraising goal.
  • Our 2022 fundraiser is almost over, but we need your help to hit our goal.
  • Bye, 2022. This is one of your last chances to support Wikipedia this year.
  • Sorry to interrupt again, but time is running out to help in 2022.
  • On New Year’s Eve, our fundraiser will end; but we haven’t yet hit our goal.

Feedback (End of year messaging)Edit

What do you like and do you have any alternative versions we could test? What would you change and how?

Tax deductible lines (only for tests to readers in the US)Edit

  • There are only 6 hours left in 2022 to make a tax deductible donation to the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • Donations made before December 31st are tax deductible.

Feedback (Tax deductible lines)Edit

What do you like and do you have any alternative versions we could test? What would you change and how?

  • The second one may be unintentionally misleading. Donations made after December 31 are also tax-deductible, unless the WMF is changing its status in 2023. Maybe "... are tax-deductible on your 2022 tax forms"? Copy edit: I think you want "tax-deductible" and "December 31". – Jonesey95 (talk) 01:34, 17 December 2022 (UTC)

Donor goal linesEdit

These lines might be shown with a progress meter

  • We are looking for XXX donors to give to us today to reach our goal. Will you be one of them?
  • We need XXX donors to give today to reach our goal.
  • 2% of Wikipedia readers will give today - that’s YYYY people. Can you join them?
  • Today’s goal: $500,000 from readers in the U.S.

Feedback (Donor goal lines)Edit

What do you like and do you have any alternative versions we could test? What would you change and how?

  • Based on the graph above, it appears that a little less than 0.2% of readers are giving each day. So "2% ... today" in the above would be misleading. Maybe I am misreading the graph. – Jonesey95 (talk) 01:31, 17 December 2022 (UTC)
@Jonesey95 I don't think you are misreading the graph. The English Wikipedia is accessed by an average of 67 million unique devices a day. [7] Even if we assume that these devices represent only about 50 million different users (because people may access on more than one device), that would imply a million users donating each day, and that is out by an order of magnitude. (We have just been told that the WMF is struggling to meet $30M in a month-long fundraiser, and the average donation is well above $10.) So I agree such a wording would be substantially misleading. Andreas JN466 10:25, 24 December 2022 (UTC)

Additional messaging for reviewEdit

  • We believe knowledge is a foundation. A foundation for human potential, for freedom, for opportunity. We believe everyone should have access to knowledge—for free, without restriction, without limitation.
  • If you’re waiting for Wikipedia to be bought out by your friendly neighborhood Internet giant, don’t hold your breath.
  • Less than 2% of our readers give, but we’re able to serve hundreds of millions of people per month. Imagine if everyone gave? We could transform the way knowledge is shared online.
  • We take it for granted that anything worth knowing can be found online. But unless knowledge is recorded, it can be lost forever. At the Wikimedia Foundation, we’re passionate about preserving and sharing the world’s knowledge.
  • When you donate, you ensure that all the behind-the-scenes costs of our nonprofit are met: servers, staff, programming. Wikipedia is a vibrant reflection of humanity: our milestones, achievements, and discoveries. But the way that the world engages with technology is rapidly changing, and we must change to keep up. As more readers go from desktop computers to mobile devices, their reading and giving habits change. If you are reading this, and Wikipedia is useful to you, please take a minute to donate. It's fast and secure.
  • Can you believe Wikipedia has been around for more than two decades? Some people have even called it “The Last Best Place on the Internet”. Unfortunately, not all people can have access to this outstanding resource. The Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization behind Wikipedia and 12 other projects, is fighting for everyone’s right to access knowledge freely, without censorship or the fear of being persecuted. You can help us continue this important and urgent work by making a donation today. Many people give $2, but we appreciate whatever feels right for you. Thank you!

Feedback (Additional messaging for review)Edit

What do you like and do you have any alternative versions we could test? What would you change and how?

  • Not sure where to put this, however it states "More messaging around the urgency/immediacy of giving now – not urgency about the state of Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Foundation." if the urgency isn't about the state of Wikipedia or the WMF then what is the urgency about? ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 21:01, 16 December 2022 (UTC)
  • The one about the Internet giant should be removed from consideration. The one about passion should be reworded: "At the Wikimedia Foundation, we’re passionate about supporting volunteers who preserve and share the world’s knowledge." – Jonesey95 (talk) 01:38, 17 December 2022 (UTC)

Thank you from our readers

At this time of year, we receive thousands of messages from readers and donors expressing their gratitude to the volunteers who create Wikipedia and everyone who makes it possible. Take a look at some of these comments directly from our readers!

Donor feedback from the U.S.:

In the college English course I taught, students were required to write a research paper. I knew they would resort to the web for information about their topic. So I wrote a sample research paper about Wikipedia, the dangers of using it as a source, and noting the difference between comments made by random editors and facts substantiated by links to primary sources. I also explained that Wikipedia is a free resource funded entirely by donations and encouraged my students to each give a dollar or two when prompted to help it stay that way.

Several of them have told me what an impact this presentation made on them…and I am also a dedicated donor, since I’m a frequent reader (and editor) of Wikipedia.

So thanks for your work. It’s helping us all become more educated citizens of the world.

Donor feedback from the U.S.:

I have found Wikipedia to be the best source of medical information to my patients and myself. There are other sources, more brainy, opinionated, filled with cookies , invitations and adds. I feel dirty most times as I navigate thru them. “Citation needed” is a powerful message from your editorial team , a basic form of peer review so meaningful… Your transparency at least in the field of medicine I find inspiring. Thank You!

Donor feedback from Australia:

For the first 25 years of my life all I wished for when I blew out the candles on my birthday cake was for our Encyclopaedia Brittanica to be actually useful, let alone fascinating and limitless in educational wonder and relevance. Wikipedia still constantly blows my mind. I’m just so grateful for its existence. Keep up the great work :)

SPatton (WMF) (talk) 20:56, 16 December 2022 (UTC)

Third week updateEdit

Hi everyone,

As the fundraising team is preparing to wrap up the English banner campaign next week, we wanted to provide an update on week 3 of the campaign. Thank you for all the ideas you’ve provided throughout the campaign. This month, I would like to think that we’ve produced the fruits of everyone’s labor: improving how we tell our story to readers together while making donation rate improvements throughout the campaign.


Week 3 Donation Rates: We are seeing small upward trends in donation rates, and have been able to make up for more lost revenue.

Donation rate = donation per banner impression. In 2021, banners did not run on day 19 and 20


Week 3 Campaign Revenue: We are seeing revenue improvements but still won’t hit the original $30M banner campaign goal.

The last week of December is an important week for non-profit fundraising. Next week, we are planning to run some of the year-end messaging shared in the week 2 update along with new ideas you may have. Thank you for your help in making the most of this important fundraising moment!

Since the banners have evolved throughout the campaign, we wanted to share a reminder of where the content stands now versus where it was in the pre-campaign testing phase in early November. Below you’ll see a side by side comparison of the banner message used in the pre-campaign tests and then where the appeal stands today. In the latest version, the headline jumps out as a powerful and effective new element straight from Jimmy in his suggestion on December 8. Over the years, Jimmy’s founder appeal has been an important way to connect with readers. Thank you, Jimmy, for refreshing your appeal this year! In the current message, we also clarify the role of the Foundation as well as the importance of donations in supporting “Wikipedia and our other projects.” The reciprocity theme was an idea that was discussed on this co-creation page just as we were preparing to launch the campaign. It is now a key part of the new message. We have also introduced time-sensitivity to highlight the importance and urgency of this fundraising moment.

The week-to-week dialog on this co-creation page around different messaging was integral to arriving at the content that is running now. Thank you for helping shape a new kind of campaign this year. I invite you to share your ideas to further improve the new messages, so that we may take these into the final days of the campaign in 2022 (and beyond!).

Comparison of November banner to current campaign controlEdit

Please note: In our live content, we've adjusted the font-size and margins down on our new December banner to maintain height parity with the November banner.

November test banner December 22 banner
To all our readers in the U.S.,

Please don’t scroll past this. This Thursday, for the 1st time recently, we interrupt your reading to humbly ask you to support Wikipedia’s independence. Only 2% of our readers give. Many think they’ll give later, but then forget. If you donate just $2, or whatever you can this Thursday, Wikipedia could keep thriving for years. We don't run ads, and we never have. We rely on our readers for support. We serve millions of people, but we run on a fraction of what other top sites spend. Wikipedia is special. It is like a library or a public park where we can all go to learn. We ask you, humbly: please don’t scroll away. If Wikipedia has given you $2 worth of knowledge this year, take a minute to donate. Show the world that access to neutral information matters to you. Thank you.

Wikipedia is not for sale.
A personal appeal from Jimmy Wales

Please don't scroll past this 1 minute read. This Thursday December 22nd, as 2022 draws to a close, I humbly ask you to reflect on the number of times you visited Wikipedia this year, the value you got from it, and whether you're able to give $2 back. If you can, please join the 2% of readers who give. If everyone reading this right now gave just $2, we'd hit our annual goal in a couple of hours. The price of a cup of coffee is all I ask.

Wikipedia is different. No advertising, no subscription fees, no paywalls. Those don't belong here. Instead, the Wikimedia Foundation relies on readers to support the technology that makes Wikipedia and our other projects possible. Being a nonprofit means there is no danger that someone will buy Wikipedia and turn it into their personal playground.

If Wikipedia has given you $2 worth of knowledge this year, please donate now, it really matters.

What other suggestions do you have for this desktop large banner? Please provide them here!

Here are the current versions of the other banner formats:

Thank you for creating this new campaign together this year! Sending you all the best wishes for your year-end celebrations.

-- SPatton (WMF) (talk) 20:12, 22 December 2022 (UTC)

Thanks, SPatton (WMF), and thanks for listening. These banners feel so much cleaner ... and looking at https://frdata.wikimedia.org/yeardata-day-vs-ytdsum.csv it seems to me your $30M target is still within reach. It should also be remembered that there is a war and an acute cost-of-living crisis going on in Europe, so if donations (in this part of the world at least) fall short of last year's numbers, the change in banner texts will definitely not be the sole reason for this.
Some specific feedback:
  • I like the mention of "every edit counts" in the mobile banner.
  • User:Jonesey95 mentioned punctuation errors in the first line of the banners. I believe to be WP:MOS-compliant the relevant passage should read: Please don't scroll past this 1-minute read. This Thursday, December 22, as 2022 draws to a close, ...
So there is:
  1. a hyphen missing between "1" and "minute" ("one-minute" would be an alternative some might prefer, but I believe MOS allows either),
  2. a comma missing after the day of the week, and
  3. the day of the month should just be a plain number (22, not 22nd).
Making those fixes would really help to make the banners look more professional from a Wikipedian's (and a writer's) point of view.
Season's greetings! Andreas JN466 22:49, 22 December 2022 (UTC)
Thanks for re-flagging these suggestions from @Jonesey95, @Jayen466. I’ve made these edits in all our live banners. Happy almost 2023. --SPatton (WMF) (talk) 16:19, 24 December 2022 (UTC)

Write your own bannerEdit

Edit

To all our readers in the U.S.,

We just have one question: How has Wikipedia helped you this year? Hundreds of millions of people read Wikipedia, but just 2% donate to support the nonprofit that delivers knowledge and information to everyone for free. If Wikipedia has been useful to you this year, we invite you to donate whatever you can comfortably afford. Even just $2 helps. Thank you. — The Wikimedia Foundation

Feedback (Banner 2.7)Edit

What do you like and do you have any alternative versions we could test? What would you change and how?

  • Note: I based this on the suggestion of Wittylama to make a request for reciprocity. Steven Walling • talk 04:19, 13 December 2022 (UTC)
  • Suggestions: Replace "this", which has no antecedent here, with "knowledge" or "knowledge and information". Replace the em dash with an en dash for consistency with the messages above. Also strike "humbly", per the good feedback above. – Jonesey95 (talk) 06:30, 13 December 2022 (UTC)
    • Great suggestions.   Done Steven Walling • talk 06:42, 13 December 2022 (UTC)
      @Steven Walling, thank you for this + your other creative ideas! I really appreciate the language you developed in this variant plus your ideas below. We're in a good point to test some of your suggestions and I'll follow-up when the work week begins with more specifics on tests we can line up. SPatton (WMF) (talk) 19:41, 17 December 2022 (UTC)

Edit

To all our readers in the U.S.,

Did you know that Wikipedia is available in more than 300 languages? Everything from Amharic to Zulu. Sadly, only a tiny handful are as big and as useful as the English Wikipedia. We need your support to nurture them and help them grow. Right now, you have the power to give everyone the gift of free knowledge in their own language by donating. What matters is your support, not the size of your gift, so even just $2 helps. Donate today and join a worldwide movement to share free knowledge. Thank you. — The Wikimedia Foundation

Feedback (Banner 2.8)Edit

What do you like and do you have any alternative versions we could test? What would you change and how?

  • Note: I recently read the Wikimedia blog post about recruiting editors in Yoruba. One of the new editors said that "I learnt about Yoruba Wikipedia through a banner displayed (on English Wikipedia) while reading an article on English Wikipedia in November 2021." This banner message is also honest that a lot of the budget goes to grantmaking for volunteer groups around the world trying to grow Wikipedia outside the developed world. Steven Walling • talk 04:19, 13 December 2022 (UTC)
You say, This banner message is also honest that a lot of the budget goes to grantmaking for volunteer groups around the world trying to grow Wikipedia outside the developed world. What is "a lot"? When I looked at the WMF's most recent Form 990, I found that reported total WMF spending in the Global South was $3.8 million, or less than 2.5% of revenue. "Grantmaking" in Global South regions amounted to just 1.2% of the WMF revenue. The WMF had a $50 million surplus that year; it could have increased grantmaking in the Global South tenfold and still would have retained a healthy surplus.
The text also says, Sadly, only a tiny handful are as big and as useful as the English Wikipedia. In fact, none are anywhere near as big as the English Wikipedia.
There are multiple concerns here; this text doesn't work for me. Andreas JN466 11:19, 13 December 2022 (UTC)
You're nitpicking and interpreting everything in an overly literal fashion. We're not going to have a banner that lists out the spending in a Form 990 line by line. The point is to try a message that focuses on what the money is used for without implying an existential crisis, which this accomplishes. Steven Walling • talk 19:39, 13 December 2022 (UTC)
I concur, and generally think it's good. I would suggest the addition of "[...] useful to as many as the English Wikipedia." - to someone who doesn't speak English, we aren't useful at all, but a project with 50,000 articles in their language is hugely helpful Nosebagbear (talk) 14:03, 14 December 2022 (UTC)
The Yoruba Wikipedia has 32,000 articles. That sounds impressive but ... About half of them, judging by the results of the "random article" function, are short, bot-translated "stub" articles on asteroids saying nothing but "9267 Lokrume is a minor planet in the asteroid belt." ("9267 Lokrume jẹ́ plánẹ́tì kékeré ní ibi ìgbàjá ástẹ́rọ́ìdì"). Almost all the other articles appear to be one-liners. Andreas JN466 19:47, 15 December 2022 (UTC)
Right now, you have the power to give everyone the gift of free knowledge in their own language by donating is another problematic passage. It's just not true. The WMF doesn't pay anyone to write content, in any language. People have been donating for many years; the money has little impact on volunteer community growth in the developing world. Most of it has gone elsewhere -- investments, endowment, U.S. salaries. After 20 years, and more than $1.1 billion in donations, over 150 Wikipedia language versions have fewer than 25 people making at least one edit per month. Andreas JN466 19:17, 15 December 2022 (UTC)
It's literally true that dollars used by the Foundation are used to serve Wikipedia content to readers. Steven Walling • talk 06:34, 19 December 2022 (UTC)
Paltering. Andreas JN466 09:26, 19 December 2022 (UTC)
Trolling. Steven Walling • talk 23:01, 20 December 2022 (UTC)
There is a difference between dollars being "used to serve Wikipedia content to readers" and donors having "the power to give everyone the gift of free knowledge in their own language by donating". If you were required to provide a case study, describing the most successful use of donated WMF funds to promote expansion of an underdeveloped Wikipedia language version, which would you pick? Andreas JN466 09:23, 22 December 2022 (UTC)
  • Support. @Andreas, exactly. well said.
Sm8900 (talk) 13:28, 23 December 2022 (UTC)

Edit

To all our readers in the U.S.,

There are [60,026,658 — this should be a live ticker counting up based on the estimated rate of articles created per minute] articles on Wikipedia and counting. It’s the biggest free educational resource in human history. While Wikipedia is written by volunteers, hosting isn’t free, and neither is all the other work we do to make sure Wikipedia continues growing for many years to come. We’re building this not just for today, but for our children’s children. That’s why we’re humbly inviting you to support the not-for-profit organization that keeps Wikipedia online. What matters isn’t the size of your gift—even just $2 helps—but that you gave at all. Just 2% of Wikipedia readers donate each year. Join us, and support this free resource forever. Thank you — the Wikimedia Foundation

Feedback (Banner 2.9)Edit

What do you like and do you have any alternative versions we could test? What would you change and how?

  • Note: This banner will attract people's eye a lot if designed correctly, and it improves on our messaging by calling attention to the fact that the project is written by volunteers for free, but the Foundation spends money on other ways to grow the project. I especially like the phrase that "We’re building this not just for today, but for our children’s children." which I stole from Phoebe. Steven Walling • talk 04:19, 13 December 2022 (UTC)
  • Suggestions: add a line break after the greeting. If you're going to show a count, it should be the count of articles, not pages (nobody cares about User talk archive pages). Use straight quote marks. Strike "humbly". Use "nonprofit" for consistency. Change "gave" to "give". Put a period after "Thank you" and use an en dash for consistency, and capitalize "The" in The Wikimedia Foundation. Does this message exceed the self-imposed word count? It seems long. – Jonesey95 (talk) 06:34, 13 December 2022 (UTC)
    • Helpful feedback thanks. To be honest I didn't even check the wordcount, but I'm sure we can trim it. Steven Walling • talk 06:43, 13 December 2022 (UTC)
  • Note that the WMF's internet hosting costs have been consistently below $3 million. [8] Even if you add staff costs to that, "hosting" costs are clearly not what drives WMF fundraising. Wikipedia can be (and has been) hosted on a tiny fraction of the present budget (revenue has been well in excess of $150 million for the past two years). --Andreas JN466 11:34, 13 December 2022 (UTC)
    • Hosting is just an example that non-technical readers will understand, hence the following phrase "and neither is all the other work we do". There's no pithy way to accurately describe every single part of the budget. I have other suggested banner ideas that focus more on grants/outreach and other work the Foundation funds. Steven Walling • talk 17:27, 13 December 2022 (UTC)
  • 1) Concur changing "pages" to "articles". 2) To assuage concerns about cost dominance, I'd change "While Wikipedia is written by volunteers, hosting isn’t free, and neither is all the other work we do to make sure Wikipedia continues growing for many years to come" to something like "While Wikipedia is written by volunteers, maintaining, hosting, and improving software isn't free - and neither is all the other work we do to make sure Wikipedia continues growing for many years to come". I debated including a mention of how many languages we do this in, but couldn't come to a term that didn't either undervalue the volunteer side (300+), by saying a couple of dozen - or overstating the WMF's lingual capacity by suggesting they did their stuff in all 300. 3) Even if my addition was included, I don't think it violates word count once the words in the square brackets are removed. Nosebagbear (talk) 16:59, 13 December 2022 (UTC)
    • "While Wikipedia is written by volunteers, maintaining, hosting, and improving software isn't free" That version is a little bit too technical/wordy I think. Most of our readers don't have any idea how software development works. Steven Walling • talk 17:27, 13 December 2022 (UTC)

Edit

Instead of a banner with an appeal, just a randomized set of one sentence trivia questions (and maybe a relevant hero image). Sample ideas:

  • How tall is a giraffe in millimeters?
  • Who's the verified oldest person who ever lived?
  • How big does a blue whale really get?
  • How tall is the tallest building in [user's country]?
  • Who was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize?
  • What the @#$%&! is a zither?
  • How many years did Queen Elizabeth the II reign?
  • Which country drinks the most beer?

The user would then click to expand the banner and reveal an appeal, something like:

With more than 60 million pages, you can find the answer to almost anything on Wikipedia. 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, Wikipedia is free for everyone. Today, during our annual fundraiser, we ask for your support. Page by page, edit by edit, we're on a mission to give everyone the answers to whatever you're curious about. Just 2% of our readers donate, so whatever gift you can afford helps, even just $2. Thank you — the Wikimedia Foundation

Feedback (Banner 3.0)Edit

What do you like and do you have any alternative versions we could test? What would you change and how?

  • Note: This is wildly different from any other banner we've used and maybe a little risky, but the actual unexpanded banner size would likely be smaller than the current ones that show an entire block of text up front, so they would ultimately be less diruptive to readers who want to ignore them, I think. This one would probably read very well being signed by Jimbo Wales too perhaps. Steven Walling • talk 04:19, 13 December 2022 (UTC)
  • Suggestions: Do not hide the body of the message and make readers click to show it. Perhaps use rotating text or different formatting for the questions. Again the page count should count articles, not pages, and do you want the count of articles in all languages, or just in English? If you are going to pull from a set of questions, consider posting them somewhere for feedback so that they do not contain obvious errors like "Queen Elizabeth the II". Put a period after "Thank you" and use an en dash for consistency, and capitalize "The" in The Wikimedia Foundation. The message itself is good and concise. – Jonesey95 (talk) 06:37, 13 December 2022 (UTC)
  • Someone with a better memory than me please weigh in: Wasn't something like this briefly tried, maybe in 2006-ish? (I may be misremembering.) --Yair rand (talk) 08:05, 13 December 2022 (UTC)
Yeah I'd be curious if we tried this already. Megan would probably know. Steven Walling • talk 17:23, 13 December 2022 (UTC)
  • I'd strongly discourage rotating text, but different format for question to main text could work. I also agree that the body shouldn't be hidden as default. Yes to q list being checked (although I'm sure we can find a decent handful to at least trial with). Might be worth trialling as both the primary and the secondary banners distinctly? While I'm pretty confident this won't compete in effectiveness terms with the banners of last year, but are worth trialling in comparison due to the lower rate of this year's. Base message I like. Nosebagbear (talk) 17:10, 13 December 2022 (UTC)
If you show the body by default you're kind of missing the point. Using a trivia question is aimed at attracting people's curiosity while also reducing the default size of the banner. Steven Walling • talk 17:31, 13 December 2022 (UTC)
Generally this strategy doesn't hold up to testing. Seddon talk 18:06, 13 December 2022 (UTC)
Have you tried it with a headline that doesn't say "Please read this appeal?" I know the results were that showing the appeal was better than that, but this is quite different. Steven Walling • talk 19:30, 13 December 2022 (UTC)

Undismissable bannersEdit

Those keeping an eye on the banners will want to check on mobile, logged out. Today (17 Dec), the fundraising notice now takes up over two screens, and can't be dismissed - there's only "Maybe later", and a demand for an email address.

There's no way to dismiss it at all at this point that I could see.

This is the "Wikipedia is not for sale: A personal appeal from Jimmy Wales" campaign banner.

The fundraising department are making the site actually unusable again, for our casual readers.

Honestly, this comes across as just trying it on to see what they can get away with. There's assumption of good faith, and then there's the track record of behaviour - David Gerard (talk) 18:41, 17 December 2022 (UTC)

Thanks for sharing the screenshots with me offlist. There are 'Maybe later', 'Donate now', 'I already donated' and 'No thanks' links at the top, but they aren't too obvious in the UI, since they're on a white background rather than coloured. A second 'No thanks' link at the bottom next to 'Maybe later' would be an obvious improvement. As would something a bit smaller on a mobile device...! Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 18:59, 17 December 2022 (UTC)
Putting the dismissal link two screens away from where the user is is quite creative, in its own way. My phone screen is 20:9, by the way - a screen is quite long - David Gerard (talk) 19:19, 17 December 2022 (UTC)
It's right at the top, not two screens away? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 20:26, 17 December 2022 (UTC)
 
17 December mobile screenshot
Yeah I see the banner to the right, with a 'Close' button clearly visible at the top of the screen, which scrolls me straight to the article proper. Not sure what David means about the dismissal link being two screens away. Sam Walton (talk) 23:13, 17 December 2022 (UTC)
In the green mobile banner I just saw, the Close option was a square with an underscore in it, which was placed top right, one line above all the other options. I only spotted it after making an effort to look for it, based on this discussion. As an ordinary user, I would have scrolled through three screens of banner to get to the article. An X to dismiss would have been more intuitive. --Andreas JN466 10:33, 27 December 2022 (UTC)
Hi @David Gerard, I just posted in the wiki-l thread but wanted to followup here, too. As Mike noted, there is a "no thanks" option at the top of the banner that scrolls the user down to the article, as this banner gets positioned right above it. They can also simply scroll down to see the article without needing to click on the banner at all.
I appreciate the feedback and we're going to line up some close option tests this weekend to see if we can make the dismiss functions a bit more intuitive. SPatton (WMF) (talk) 19:20, 17 December 2022 (UTC)
Convenience link to the Wikimedia-l thread. --Andreas JN466 19:53, 18 December 2022 (UTC)
Echoing David's message, on Saturday my partner (a non-techie, occasional reader: a reasonable representative of the core readership) tried going twice to Wikipedia using the phone browser for info and was completely disconcerted by what was perceived as this overwrite of the site, regarding it as having been rendered unusable. Such a reaction from the sort of reader who should be of core concern should be a major worry to anyone whose role covers customer experience. AllyD (talk) 07:45, 19 December 2022 (UTC)
I totally agree with @David Gerard, in their initial comment at the beginning of this section. Sm8900 (talk) 13:26, 23 December 2022 (UTC)

I particularly started this section because I have had people complaining to me personally about the obnoxious two screens of banner.

Pray tell, what is a suitable response to complaints from the actual readers about the banners? Should we direct them to the fundraising team? @SPatton (WMF): do complaints about an obviously terrible and obnoxious banner not matter if it makes more in the A/B test? What's the criterion? - David Gerard (talk) 23:23, 17 December 2022 (UTC)

And I note "track record of past behaviour" because it's been ten years of this stuff. The fundraising team seems frankly to be taking the piss. You are behaving like you got away with the RFC, and are going right back to behaving with contempt for both the contributors and the readers. (If you don't want to be perceived like that, the first step is to stop doing it.) - David Gerard (talk) 23:28, 17 December 2022 (UTC)
Speaking of taking the piss, it is still frustrating to see culturally incompetent language like "Please don't scroll past this 1 minute read. This Saturday December 17th ...", twelve words which contain no fewer than four MOS- and punctuation-related errors. If you (the WMF) want to be helped, respected, and funded by English Wikipedia readers, it would make the most sense to communicate using the Manual of Style that is in use here at the English Wikipedia. If I went to the Spanish Wikipedia and used the informal instead of the formal form of address for a stranger, I would expect a less than optimal reception. This is analogous. You are clearly visitors to this place, and you have been given copious free advice by volunteers above, and you (the WMF) have ignored so much of it. That is trying for this veteran editor and donor. – Jonesey95 (talk) 01:18, 18 December 2022 (UTC)
For what it's worth, here is a Spanish-language banner from last year using informal address.
Do explain the MOS errors; it might increase the chances of their being corrected. Andreas JN466 09:02, 19 December 2022 (UTC)
@David Gerard, well said. Sm8900 (talk) 13:26, 23 December 2022 (UTC)
 
Mobile fundraising screens 19 Dec 22
I am given to agree with David and Jonesey here... I thought we were gonna be normal about the banners this year? I was so happy to see them looking normal a few weeks ago, so this is not great. jp×g 08:55, 20 December 2022 (UTC)
  • Unfortunately I didn't ask my partner to screenshot Saturday's banners, but checking this morning, the latest mobile banners are shorter, so don't totally obscure the sought article, but this screenshot shows that the options for getting rid of it appear only at the end of the fundraising appeal message - and note also a further overwrite obscuring part of the article at the end. AllyD (talk) 08:09, 19 December 2022 (UTC)
  • Just was going to note that these mobiles have led to non-wikipedian family members stating that the mobiles banners were "even more aggressive this year", which obviously is distinctly undesired given the substantive cost (or revenue loss, perhaps) and effort gone to on the fundraising side this year. At the time I only parsed that the banners went on multiple screens, but didn't know to ask about the close now/maybe later aspects, so can't speak as to whether they just didn't mention them or it wasn't an issue Nosebagbear (talk) 09:45, 19 December 2022 (UTC)

Hi everyone, I appreciate all the thoughtful input and feedback on the user interface and experience of the ‘mobile large’ banner. I wanted to clear up a few things and explain what we are planning next as far as testing.

As a reminder, there are a couple of ways for readers to reach the article. There is a "Skip" option (previously labeled "No thanks") at the top of the banner that scrolls the user down to the article, as this banner gets positioned right above it. Readers can also simply scroll down to see the article without needing to click on the banner at all.  Since this thread was started, we’ve already made changes to this toolbar:


Control last Friday:


Control as of today:


Changes:

  • Removing the “Donate now” link
  • Increased clarity re: No thanks becoming Skip
  • Bolded links

We are currently implementing a Close option to be placed below the message, next to that final “Maybe Later" link, so it’s clearer that the reader has the option to just move past the banner towards their article.

To provide a little more background: none of the features & functionality being discussed here (the ‘sticky’ header with the No thanks option; or the Maybe Later link that appears below the banner; or the placement/size of the banner on the page) are new as of this campaign. Each of the elements described above (toolbar, Maybe Later, banner placement/length) have been consistent in this banner for at least the last 3 years of fundraising and have gone through review from our legal team since they were introduced. Of course, we are always looking for ways to improve and iterate over time so we will continue to use your feedback to improve the next versions. Thank you. -- SPatton (WMF) (talk) 16:40, 22 December 2022 (UTC)

@SPatton (WMF): In the Mobile fundraising screens 19 Dec 22 screens which I copied above from a browser access to en.m.wikipedia.org, there was no "sticky header", so the reader had to scroll past the red box appeal. Has that now been changed? AllyD (talk) 18:15, 22 December 2022 (UTC)
Hi @AllyD, the screenshot you included above is for our “mobile small” banner, the other typical banner type that we run on mobile Wikipedia. For the mobile small banner, the set of close options (Maybe Later, I Already Donated, and Close) appear right below the banner, but the shorter length of the banner means those options should always be on screen. --SPatton (WMF) (talk) 16:21, 24 December 2022 (UTC)
Thanks. To ask again the question you didn't answer: what is a suitable response to complaints from the actual readers about the banners? Should we direct them to the fundraising team? - David Gerard (talk) 19:35, 23 December 2022 (UTC)
Hi @David Gerard,
We strive to balance the impact our appeals have on the reading experience with the need to ask our readers to consider donating. We deeply appreciate the feedback and it motivates us to pursue user experience improvements that achieve the balance we’re going for.
We’re monitoring this page for feedback and we also have an email address for any questions around our banners and other fundraising related questions: donate[at]wikimedia[dot]org. This address can also be found on our contact page. This inbox is very much actively monitored. Thank you! --SPatton (WMF) (talk) 16:25, 24 December 2022 (UTC)

what's the relevance of asking for "two dollars"?Edit

Please explain, what's the relevance of asking for "two dollars"? in my opinion, one basic concern on this is that actually, since this is a noticeably small amount. in my opinion, then this appeal for two dollars is more likely to tug at the heartstrings of those who are least able to afford it.

I thought we had agreed that the WMF has sufficient capital funds that it doesn't need to chase contributions from people who are on a budget, or need to live frugally!

Please, either post an appeal for $100, namely for those people who are comfortable enough to donate to cultural causes such as PBS, the local philharmonic orchestra, the local art museum, the local Ford Foundation; or else I ask the kind indulgence of please removing any such explicit reference to any specific amount, post-haste and forthwith!! I would appreciate your consideration of my suggestion if possible. thank you. Sm8900 (talk) 13:36, 23 December 2022 (UTC)

relevant to this, see quote below:

Jim Heaphy, a 70-year-old Wikipedia editor and administrator who lives in Grass Valley, California, told me that he opposed any messaging that suggested the WMF was running out of money. “Wikipedia is under threat. But it is not under threat financially,” Heaphy said in an email. “The Wikimedia Foundation is rolling in cash.” Heaphy told me he sees the main threats to Wikipedia as coming from authoritarian regimes, ideologues, spammers, and vandals. (See Slate’s previous coverage of how Wikipedia has been censored in different forms by Russia, China, and Turkey.)

from: The Huge Fight Behind Those Pop-Up Fundraising Banners on Wikipedia, BY STEPHEN HARRISON, DEC 02, 2022

thanks. --Sm8900 (talk) 13:45, 23 December 2022 (UTC)
Sadly, there are too many turncoat editors in this project who allowed fundraising to continue with wording modifications rather than demand an immediate stoppage. Per WP:CANCER, I encourage all editors to stop editing articles and any content found on Main Page. If we let this wiki collapse there won't be any more readership, the money will vanish and with it, the cancer. Then our work could resume under a service organization. If anyone, in their selfishness for a hobby, chooses to continue editing articles without undermining SanFran, then they have themselves to blame.(I am not watching this page, so please ping me if you want my attention.) Chris Troutman (talk) 15:17, 23 December 2022 (UTC)
@Chris troutman, I have also posted on this topic at the Village Pump, at the section linked to below . could you please go there, if you wish, and provide any input that you may wish, at that venue as well? if your goal is to present any concerns on this item to the community, then perhaps that might be a better venue to do so. thanks.
signed, Sm8900 (talk) 18:16, 23 December 2022 (UTC)
@Sm8900, I don't feel that an appeal for two dollars is particularly manipulative. It's just asking for a reasonable amount. Asking for two dollars doesn't (at least to me) suggest that the WMF is in financial difficulties, so I'm not sure what the relevance of the article excerpt is. — Qwerfjkltalk 10:14, 25 December 2022 (UTC)
  • I also consider too many turncoat editors in this project to be an unacceptable personal attack on both myself and numerous other editors in this project, from an editor who should know better. Nosebagbear (talk) 18:42, 25 December 2022 (UTC)

English fundraising campaign endedEdit

Dear all,

Yesterday (31st of December), the Wikimedia Foundation’s annual banner fundraising campaign on English Wikipedia in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States finished. We run this campaign on an annual basis but this year’s campaign was truly unique. We would like to thank all of you who participated in shaping the messages and working together to better tell our story to readers and donors. Without you, the message would not have evolved and improved to where it is today.

Following the fundraising campaign, we will be in touch early in the new year to share more information about the campaign as well as ideas to carry the collaboration forward in the new year.

I am out of the office until the 16th of January and will answer any questions or comments after this.

Best, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 10:15, 1 January 2023 (UTC)

Thank you for your responsiveness throughout this process. More can always be done, but I for one felt genuinely in dialogue with the WMF and am interested to see how it shakes out fundraising-wise! Please remember that dollars raised should not be the only metric for success - "people annoyed" and "Wikipedia's change in reputation" are also worthwhile factors, even if we're not set up to measure them properly this year. —Ganesha811 (talk) 22:14, 3 January 2023 (UTC)

January Community Campaign RecapEdit

Now that the 2022 English banner campaign on Wikipedia has come to an end, we would like to share an update on what we learned and how the campaign went. First, we want to thank you, our communities, who helped co-create new banners. Now let’s have a look at how the English banner campaign developed in December.

Some context: The English banner campaign is the highest revenue campaign of the year and an important moment to invite readers to support Wikimedia’s mission. This year, the fundraising team ran a different kind of campaign with new banner messages that were co-created right here with Wikimedia volunteers. While a comprehensive report of our full fundraising program is shared every year after the fiscal year, we are now sharing a few preliminary highlights from the English banner campaign and a look toward the rest of the fiscal year.


Banner campaign year to year comparisons

This year’s English campaign raised significantly less than the previous year. Overall, we saw a $10 million decline in banner fundraising year over year despite showing more banners to our readers. We raised $24.7 million, $5.3 million short of the $30 million goal we set for the 2022 English banner campaign. We are working to reduce the gap in the second half of the fiscal year (through major gifts and other channels), but do not expect to hit the original $175M revenue target that was set in the annual plan.

English Banner Campaign FY 21/22 Total FY 22/23 Total Results
Campaign Length 25 31 Campaign ran 6 more days
Impression Volume 1.08B 1.62B Served 49% more impressions
Donation Rate 0.24% 0.12% Donation rate was cut in half
Revenue $34,673,093* $24,444,436 30% decrease in revenue
* Preliminary data

There were tradeoffs to running lower-performing messages this year. Over the years, the team has worked to limit the disruption to the reading experience by making the campaigns more efficient, reducing the length of banner campaigns and limiting the number of banners readers see. This year, we ran a longer campaign and showed 49% more banner impressions than the previous year. Despite these changes, we still raised 30% less than the previous year.

In pre-campaign testing with our original messaging, we saw a similar donation rate to last year’s campaign (.24%). The average gift was slightly lower than last year which we attribute in part to economic factors as well as the drop of currency values against the US dollar. When we started the campaign at the end of November using the co-created messaging, there was a decline of around 60% in the donation rate from the previous week’s test before we started using the co-created messaging. This indicates that readers and donors were much less responsive to the updated messaging. The team worked to improve the donation rate over the course of December, including testing ideas from community members. While we made gains through our work together, the donation rate was still significantly less than the previous year.


Co-creating banners

Thank you to everyone who participated in the banner creation process. Here are some highlights from co-created banners:

  • A new 2022 founder appeal direct from Jimmy Wales
  • The theme of reciprocity
  • More clarity around the role of the Foundation and the importance of giving
  • Time-sensitivity to highlight the importance and urgency of this fundraising moment
  • Adjustments to the close options of the mobile banner
  • 450+ banners tested
  • A closer relationship with our volunteers who are interested in fundraising messaging


Next steps

  • Collaboration: The team plans to build upon what we’ve learned from this year’s campaign to improve upon our collaboration with the English community next year.
  • Annual planning: As the Foundation prepares to begin the annual planning process for the next fiscal year, the fundraising team will work to understand the implications of changes in banner messaging and prepare a revenue outlook for the year ahead. At this point, we don’t expect to see the same growth in the Foundation’s budget as we’ve seen in previous years. We will have more information by April once the teams are able to complete future financial projections.

While we will continue to monitor the co-creation page for a while, the best way to reach us is on our meta talk page. Thanks again to everyone who helped with the campaign this year. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 19:48, 25 January 2023 (UTC)

Thank you for the detailed report and I hope to be working with the team again next year to support a good campaign! —Ganesha811 (talk) 05:30, 28 January 2023 (UTC)