In order to gather the aforementioned amount, Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikimedia Foundation, the company behind Wikipedia and its sister sites, appealed directly to all visitors via a message.
Displayed on top of all articles, Wales' letter aims to persuade people all over the world to donate in order to keep the service free and available to everyone.
“[...] we need you. It is you who keep this dream alive. It is you who have created Wikipedia. It is you who believe that a place of calm reflection and learning is worth having,” these are only some of the words meant to convince visitors to make a donation.
According to Wales, all the raised money will be used for managing “servers, bandwidth, maintenance, development,” in other words, it will all be used for ensuring Wikipedia is up and running at all times.
Furthermore, this money is also needed to help keep the project ads-free, since Wales makes it a point that advertising “[...] doesn't belong here. Not in Wikipedia,” therefore he and all the other volunteers will continuously strive to prevent any advertisements from being published on the site.
Launched in 2001 and currently the 5th most popular website in the world, Wikimedia sites are visited by 400 million persons on a monthly basis, while their audience has doubled since 2007.
Every year they resort to fund-raising campaigns which encourage users to donate as little as they can, by emphasizing that every gesture counts.
Since the 2010 campaign kicked off, Wikimedia managed to raise around $15 million to this day, with more donations getting in almost every minute.
Some might argue that $16 million was an ambitious sum to start with, but it appears it is needed to properly orchestrate the 10-year anniversary that will take place in 2011.
It should be mentioned that their targeted sum was supposed to be gathered in two-months time, so they still have a fortnight to get their last million – and they will probably succeed too.