I have been always bewildered by the "Donate Now" button on top of Wikipedia. Why do they want donation? Why don't they display ads?
Wikimedia's commitment is:
"Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That's our commitment."
That's good. I like it and admire the founders. But, why do they need money through donations?
As of 18th December 2008, they have got $ 3,835,178 in donations. And their goal is a whooping $6 million.
Wikipedia has more than 2,663,000 articles in English alone. Over all, in all languages, they will have around 10,000,000 articles. So, what if they start putting ads? Maybe, Google Adsense?
Founders and loyalists will argue that displaying ads is against and not at all the policy and mindset of Wikimedia. Of course, Wikimedia is a nonprofit charitable organization. The donations are tax exempted.
Well, what if they display ads, pay salaries and server and other costs (not Mr.Wales credit card bills!) and donate the extra or whatever left to charity. This will call for a change of rules and reforms at Wikimedia. Also, need will arise for a committee which will handle the cash.
I can't imagine the cash inflow into Wikimedia if they open Wikipedia for ads. Even a rough mental estimate tells me that the extra money can easily feed millions in Africa and other poorer nations.
Why don't they do this?