I was reading an entry about British wildlife conservationist George Adamson on Wikipedia this afternoon when I realized that co-founder Jimmy Wales wasn't sitting at the top of the page asking me to make a donation. I had grown so used to seeing his face over the past couple of months during the site's annual drive that I was shocked he had disappeared. Turns out, Wikipedia, the largest site in the world that is ad-free and entirely supported by readers, according to Wikimedia executive director Sue Gardner, reached its ambitious fundraising goal this morning. And in record time.
According to the release, the fundraiser, which featured Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales' mug pleading with users to donate, was the shortest and most fruitful in the foundation's history. A look at the real-time statistics shows that while the average donation remained around the same as years past, the number of people donating was far greater. According to Wikimedia, 230,000 people donated in 2009, whereas more than 500,000 donated this year.
For those of you into real-time statistics, the ones provided by Wikipedia for this campaign may leave some questions. Moka Pantages, a spokesperson for Wikimedia, said that the $13.5 million accounted for online only includes online donations, and the rest of the more than $16 million comes from checks and individual chapters.
Read the full story at ReadWriteWeb.