Frequently asked questions

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Wikimedia Foundation

Frequently asked questions

This page lists frequently asked questions about the Wikimedia Foundation. Other questions are addressed at Answers. If you do not find your question answered here or there, please feel free to contact us.

What is Wikipedia?

Wikipedia is an online collection of knowledge. Volunteer editors from around the world write Wikipedia. It is a collaborative creation created in 2001: anyone can edit it, at any time. Editors collaborate to write about virtually any topic, from ancient history to science to the arts. Wikipedia is available in hundreds of languages and has over 45 million articles. Wikipedia is completely non-profit, independent, and maintained by everyday people like you. You do not require approval or special qualifications to edit.

How does Wikipedia stay reliable and neutral?

Wikipedia's volunteer editors make reference to reliable publications that support what Wikipedia contains, so readers can verify the facts at source. For content to remain on Wikipedia, it must be written from a neutral point of view and attributed to sources that are reliable. Editors also use mechanisms like bots and monitoring tools to regularly review edits made to Wikipedia. Through these efforts, Wikipedia stays reliable and neutral. Wikipedia is based on an open model, so its content is constantly evolving, growing, and improving over time. You can also follow the discussions that go into changes. Unfortunately, vandalism of Wikipedia articles does occasionally occur. However, the vast majority of editors contribute in good faith. Most vandalism on the site is removed quickly, often within seconds.

What is the Wikimedia Foundation?

The Wikimedia Foundation is the nonprofit organization that supports Wikipedia, the other Wikimedia free knowledge websites, and its mission of free knowledge for all. We do this by keeping the Wikimedia sites fast, secure, and available to all, defending Wikipedia and our volunteer editors from legal threats, building new features and tools to make it easy to read, edit, and share knowledge from Wikimedia sites, and by supporting the communities of editors who contribute to Wikipedia and the Wikimedia sites. We also help bring new knowledge online, lower barriers to access, and make it easier for everyone to share what they know.

The Wikimedia Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization with offices in San Francisco, California, USA.

What are the other Wikimedia free knowledge projects you support?

In addition to Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation supports a number of free knowledge projects, including:

  • Wikimedia Commons – a freely-licensed repository of images, video, and media files
  • Wiktionary – a free, multilingual dictionary
  • Wikiquote – a resource of quotations from notable people and creative works
  • Wikibooks – a collection of books which includes annotated texts, instructional guides, textbooks, and more
  • Wikisource – a collection of primary source materials, as well as translations of source texts
  • Wikispecies – a species directory, which covers Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Bacteria, Archaea, Protista and other forms of life
  • Wikinews – a collaborative news resource, where anyone can contribute reports about events around the world
  • Wikiversity – an educational repository devoted to learning resources, learning projects, and research for use in all levels of education
  • Wikidata – a collaborative, multilingual structured database which powers information used across Wikimedia projects
  • Wikivoyage – a travel information guide for locations around the world
  • MediaWiki – the open source software behind all Wikimedia websites

Is Wikipedia, or the Wikimedia Foundation, affiliated with WikiLeaks?

Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation have no affiliation with WikiLeaks. Although both use the term "wiki" in their name, they have always been completely separate and unaffiliated projects.

How is the Wikimedia Foundation funded?

The Wikimedia Foundation is funded primarily through donations from millions of individuals around the world. The average donation is about US$15, and we are grateful that so many people find value in Wikipedia and want to sustain its future. We also receive donations through institutional grants and gifts (please see our benefactors page for more information).

The Wikimedia Foundation has 501(c)(3) tax exempt status in the United States. Donations made from other nations may also be tax deductible (see tax deductibility for more details). See Ways to Give for details on how to make a donation via credit or debit card, PayPal, Amazon and several other methods. If you have any questions, please contact us at donate@wikimedia.org.[1]

Why should I donate and where does my money go?

Donations to the Wikimedia Foundation help sustain free knowledge through Wikipedia and our ecosystem of projects. Your contributions support technology to keep the sites fast, secure, and accessible; for Wikimedia programs and initiatives to expand access and support free knowledge globally; and for grants to volunteer contributors to improve and enrich the knowledge on Wikipedia and the Wikimedia sites. Your donations support this work, and so much more, to ensure Wikipedia remains accessible and valuable for many generations to come.

How can I donate?

There are several ways you can donate to the Wikimedia Foundation to support Wikipedia and free knowledge. The most common are using any major credit or debit card (VISA, Mastercard, Discover or American Express), using PayPal, via bank transfer, and via Amazon. For other ways to contribute, including via an automatic monthly gift, check or money order and payroll deduction, please visit our Ways to Give page. Many currencies are accepted.

What is your donor privacy policy?

We are committed to protecting the privacy rights of our supporters and will not share, sell, or trade your email address with anyone. Please see our Donor privacy policy for full details.

Are my donations tax deductible?

Some donations to the Wikimedia Foundation may benefit from tax deductible status. Please visit our tax deductibility page to learn more.

What is your refund policy?

If for any reason you wish to have your donation refunded, please contact us via email at donate@wikimedia.org[1] and include the following information:

  • Full name of donor
  • Date of donation — All refund requests must be made within 90 days of donation
  • Amount donated
  • Payment method used — Do not include credit card numbers in your email
  • Country of origin
  • Reason for the refund

All refunds will be processed as quickly as possible, but processing times may vary depending on the payment method. Please note: Some payment methods may not support refunds or require refunds to be made through the payment method (card) utilized, prompting additional information to process your refund.

Why are there no ads on Wikipedia?

We are not considering advertising as a source of revenue. We do not believe that advertising belongs in a project devoted to free, reliable, and neutral knowledge. Introducing commercial interests could jeopardize Wikipedia’s reliability as a neutral source of information.

We are not against online advertising, nor are we against other organizations that host ads. We just know ads are not appropriate in a project devoted to education and knowledge – and especially one that strives for balance and neutrality.

Where can I find more financial information?

The Wikimedia Foundation's Annual Report covers the previous fiscal year. The report shares some of the voices of the hundreds of thousands of people who make the Wikimedia movement possible.

The Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan describes our budget for the current fiscal year. It contains a summary of our strategic goals as an organization, financial details on spending and revenue, and detailed explanations and risk analysis.

What is the Wikimedia Endowment?

The Wikimedia Endowment was created in 2016 to serve as a permanent safekeeping fund to generate income to support the operations and activities of the Wikimedia projects in perpetuity. Donations to the Wikimedia Endowment are held in a separate fund and invested to grow over time. The Endowment fund is managed by Tides Foundation and overseen by an independent Advisory Board. Once fully funded, the Endowment income will be distributed to provide critical funding to Wikipedia and its sister projects, providing security, confidence and trust in Wikipedia’s offerings and mission for years to come. You can learn more about the Wikimedia Endowment at wikimediaendowment.org.

What are the plans for Wikimedia's future? Where are you going?

At the beginning of 2017, the Wikimedia Foundation launched a global discussion to define the future of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia movement by the year 2030. We call it Wikimedia 2030. Throughout the process, we asked ourselves questions like, where might we want Wikipedia, and the Wikimedia movement, to go next? What opportunities and challenges lie ahead of us? What trends in technology, education, information, and access will shape our future?

Based on this discussion and our research, we are uniting around a direction that will help us build a more sustainable, resilient, and engaged movement that anyone who shares our vision can join. We will adapt to the shifting trends in technology, to ensure we meet the needs of our users and continue to provide reliable, transparent, and neutral information. We will invite new voices to join us and ensure that anyone who wants to share knowledge on Wikipedia and the Wikimedia sites can do so. And we will advocate for the policies and values that have allowed Wikipedia and its sister sites to thrive. This direction asks us to be bold and experiment in the future, as we did in the past, and it remains rooted in our mission of free knowledge for all.

To read more about Wikimedia 2030 and the direction for our future, please visit 2030.wikimedia.org.

How can I participate in Wikimedia?

We encourage everyone who finds value in Wikipedia and free knowledge to join our movement. There are many ways you can participate, including:

  • Make an edit! See a Wikipedia article that could use improving? You can make it better. To learn more about how to start editing, check out the Getting started guide, and the Teahouse.
  • Connect with us on Facebook or Twitter
  • Are you a developer? You can contribute code to Wikipedia and the Wikimedia sites. Find the guide for new developers on MediaWiki.org.

How can I contact the Wikimedia Foundation?

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact us. For donation questions, please email donate@wikimedia.org.[1]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Due to the volume of inquiries we receive, we use Zendesk as a donor response platform. By emailing donate@wikimedia.org, you understand that your information will be processed by the Zendesk Group in accordance with Zendesk’s terms. Users from the following countries should consult Section 13 of Zendesk’s privacy policy for more information about Zendesk’s country-specific practices: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and Singapore.