One million dollars and counting

How often do you visit Wikipedia? If you’re like me, you probably go there three or four times a day. In which case you’ve probably noticed the “thermometer bar” at the top of the page for the last month or so.

The Wikimedia Foundation ran its recent month-long fundraiser from 16 December 2006 to 15 January 2007; in typical open-and-transparent fashion they’ve now released a report on the fundraiser, and in Web 2.0 time as well. It’s definitely worth a read, you can find the entire report via this link. My thanks to Chris Locke for pointing me at it.

One million dollars in one month. Without counting the matching contributions.

  • Donations primarily between $10 and $50
  • Average donation appears to be around $30
  • Around a thousand donations a day

When it comes to building out infrastructure on a commons basis, we may need to look at approaches like this. I know that raising a million dollars in a month doesn’t sound like much….. when you take into account the global nature of the donations (albeit US-dominated, much like the early internet), the relatively low-key campaign, the purpose for which the campaign was run, the level of anonymity, and the absence of matching contributions in the figures, a million dollars isn’t too shabby.

I think we’re heading towards a time when many infrastructural projects are funded from four sources:

  • A seed from individual subscriptions, much like the campaign above
  • Matched funding from more affluent individuals
  • Another level of matching from the public purse, multi-government, multi-location
  • A final level of matching from truly global large corporates

One thought on “One million dollars and counting”

  1. I think you’re describing how public radio and TV finance themselves in the USA. Here, you can tell the Evil companies because they sponsor NPR. (It’s “Archer Daniels Midland: Supermarket to the World” on NPR, not “Archer Daniels Midland: lobbyist for pernicious, economically unjustified trade policies that impoverish developing-country farmers”).

    Would be nice to keep the government funding out of peer production projects, though — and eliminate it from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting — since “tax dollars” now add way more in political debate than they’re worth.

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