Wikipedia asks donation from Indians

Learnings from the online donation campaign

Wikipedia has been termed as a joke. The Office's Michael Scott called it “the best thing ever,” because “anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject—so you know you are getting the best possible information.” Praising Wikipedia, by restating its mission, meant self-identifying as an idiot. 

But that was 2007. Today Wikipedia is the eighth-most-visited site in the world, writes Wired by calling it the last best place on the Internet

“It is the only not-for-profit site in the top 10, and one of only a handful in the top 100. It does not plaster itself with advertising, intrude on privacy, or provide a breeding ground for neo-Nazi trolling. Like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, it broadcasts user-generated content. Unlike them, it makes its product de-personified, collaborative, and for the general good.”

Is it perfect?

No. It has its share of problems like most organizations from gender imbalance to poor quality to trolling to harassment, etc. However, the site's parent organization has repeatedly owned up to the situation and taken halting steps to redress it. 

Whether they have been effective or not is something I can’t comment on. But more or less it has been my reference site along with few more publications if I am searching for something on the Internet. The trust quotient is more than any other social network or media network. 

Independent media is a myth

Yesterday after completing the American drama series Kingdom(a hidden drama gem), I wanted to try something less dramatic so decided to watch the latest action flick The Old Guard on Netflix. Action movies in 2020 are BS. From being immortal superheroes now the sword-wielding saviors of the world can die too. So much to bring the human layer to the stories.

Anyways that lead me to find out more about Charlize Theron while she was being the badass immortal. But before I could find out if she is single after her split with Sean Penn, Wikipedia (desktop) had this popup message:

Wikipedia has initiated a donation campaign for India. I donated a small amount for two reasons:

  • Wikipedia provides me value for my time.

  • And the donation appeal or message or copy stands out.

Donation campaign message

Value is subjective but here is what I love about the message or copy:

  • I hate popups while consuming content. The campaign understands this behavior but politely tells me not to scroll past it.

  • Gets to the point with data that 98% don’t give and look the other way. In other words, it plays with the guilt factor and connects with the earlier line why I should not scroll past it.

  • Before it asks for a donation, it isn’t assuming. So a thank you for the ones who have already donated. Technology is tricky and there are loopholes that you can’t blindly trust.

  • Most importantly the donation campaign is asking the donation only if the site has given you ₹150 worth of knowledge this year. Bringing the value factor to drive the donation is rational.

  • The end is slightly emotional but has a relevant fact. Stitches well with the simple thank you.

Donation campaign form

The form is simple and provides options of donation amount along with the freedom to donate whatever the donor wants. Adding the line “The average donation is ₹1000” is a trigger for a donor’s mind. Smart push message.

Once you select the amount the form asks if you will be generous enough to cover the transaction fees cost. Another smart ask without forcing the donor. Also dividing the payments( Card payment and wallet payment) into two options makes the form a design gem.

But for some reason, if you decide to do it later then Wikipedia hunts you again but with a relevant copy. Retargeting is the industry norm but it works well when you have a relevant copy. Wikipedia nails it.

If you see the second popup message has two options at the bottom - Maybe Later and Close. If you click on the Maybe Later option you are shown a popup that asks you to provide your email address. Wikipedia is right there on your back to have your donation while being humble.

I seriously want to meet the designer of the Donation Page to exchange notes 😊

The page also makes sure to provide you relevant links that people would like to access before making a donation. Such as problems while donation, donor privacy policy, etc. Important to have them to keep the donor in confidence.

The mobile donation page is simple and optimized for the device experience. Great placement of the👇 emoji and the security icon 🔒 on the donate now button.

The information collection process is simple but I have my doubts with Wikipedia collecting the PAN information. Wikipedia says that it is following the Indian government rules. Not many would be comfortable with the PAN information. What if I give a wrong PAN ID? 

Thank You page and email

One of the important aspects of a donation campaign is the Thank You page. Often overlooked but Wikipedia hasn’t with a compelling visual “Set Knowledge Free.”

Other than the thank you message and social sharing feature, the note also makes a point to share the next steps of the campaign.

Additionally, the organization has integrated a survey to understand the donor and donation experience. Relevant addition. I decided to give the survey a try, simple and relevant questions. However, Wikipedia can minimize the number of questions.

Thank you email was waiting for me once I was over with the donation process. Simple, to the point text email. No gimmick, no fancy forms, required donation details and a clear unsubscribe option from future fundraising emails.

However, the entire curiosity angle was confusing for me. I am happy with - “Your Donation. Your Wikipedia (so to say).”