How does Wikipedia make money?

Last updated: March 23, 2016 - 8:58pm EDT

The short answer to the question "how does Wikipedia make money?" is "It doesn't".  Nobody who uses Wikipedia or creates an account on it is required to pay any money to do so.  Wikipedia is a not-for-profit project run by a not-for-profit organization called the Wikimedia Foundation.

With that said, it does cost money for the Wikimedia Foundation to pay for the services that keep Wikipedia up and running (electricity, Internet connection, website hosting, staff, and so on).  Therefore, it relies on monetary grants and donations from governments, corporations, organizations, and users like you.

Should I donate to Wikipedia?

The answer to that question depends a lot on your personal tastes and feelings.  If you like Wikipedia a lot and feel that it's an inexpensive and reliable way to get the information you need, when you need it, then feel free to donate. 

Likewise, if you strongly believe in Wikipedia's mission to make information freely available to everyone, everywhere, all the time, devoid of any other political or economic agenda, then by all means send some cash their way. 

If you don't find Wikipedia useful, or don't agree with their principles, then don't give them any money.

How to donate to Wikipedia

If you decide that you want to give Wikipedia some monetary support, then here's how to do it.

  1. Go to in your web browser and select your language version.  (We'll assume you want English, but if it's not your native tongue, then click the language that is.)

  2. In the left-hand menu, click Donate to Wikipedia.

  3. You'll set your donation up in the window on the right-hand side here.  Click the buttons in the screenshot below for information on what you need to do at each spot.


    Donation Type

    Click the button beside the appropriate option to tell Wikipedia whether you want to make a single donation, or one every month until you tell Wikipedia that you want to stop donating to them.


    Donation Amount

    Click the button beside the amount that you want to donate to Wikipedia. Or, you can click the button beside "Other" and then click in the box beside it and type in an amount, if it isn't one of the options available.


    Donation Method

    Click one of these respective buttons to choose if you're going to make your donation through a credit card or through the online payment client PayPal. (We'll assume that you want to use your credit card).

  4. Next, you'll have to input your billing information.  Again, click the buttons in the screenshot below if you need help figuring out what to do at each spot.


    Contact Information

    Click in each of the boxes here and type in your first name, last name, street address, city, postal code, and email address. For state/province, just click the drop-down menu and select an option.


    Credit Card Type

    Click the button beside the picture of the credit card brand that you use. The options below will only appear if you've entered all of your contact information first.


    Card Number

    Click in this box and type in your credit card number as it appears on the front of your credit card, without adding any spaces.


    Expiration Date

    Click each of these drop-down menus to select the month and year that your credit card expires.


    Security Code

    Click in this box and type in your credit card's security code (usually a 3-digit or 4-digit number). Click What is a security code? if you're having trouble finding it on your credit card.



    When you've entered all of your information correctly, click here.

You will receive a confirmation e-mail when you're done.  Congratulations on making a contribution to Wikipedia and its mission!

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