From a financial point of view, 2021 was a good year for Wikimedia Deutschland.
With over 500,000 people making donations and paying membership fees amounting in total to EUR 18.8 million, we were able to significantly support the development of free knowledge in Germany and the rest of the world.
According to accounting, revenues of 2021 increased to EUR 10.8 million (compared to EUR 10.6 million in the previous year). Revenues from membership fees increased significantly to EUR 4.6 million (previous year: EUR 4.0 million), as the number of members rose to 89,572 as of December 31 (previous year: 80,291). The total revenue of donations increased nominally to EUR 3.2 million (previous year: EUR 3.0 million). Please note that according to accounting standard HFA 21, donations can only be posted as revenue once they have been disbursed. Other revenues decreased to EUR 2.9 million (previous year: EUR 3.4 million) and are thus comparable to the status of other revenues in 2019 (EUR 2.6 million).
In 2021, expenditures increased to EUR 10.8 million (previous year: EUR 10.6 million). Personnel expenditures increased to EUR 7.1 million (previous year: EUR 6.4 million), while operational expenditures dropped to EUR 3.5 million (previous year: EUR 4.0 million). As in the previous year, the decrease results from lower costs incurred for planned events as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The summary “Use of Funds” of this report provides a more detailed account of the actual use of funds.
Unused Donations / Reserves
Wikimedia Deutschland applies the HFA 21 accounting standard. A unique feature of this standard is that revenue from donations is only posted at the time of the donation’s disbursement. For this reason, the item “Unused Donations” posted under liabilites on the balance sheet is an important benchmark for assessing the financial situation of Wikimedia Deutschland. This amount increased to EUR 9.3 million (previous year: EUR 8.8 million). The total is shown in full as a tax reserve in accordance with §62 AO of the German Fiscal Code.
Fördergesellschaft mbH (WMFG)
The organisation has a wholly owned subsidiary with the sole purpose of attracting donations for the forwarding of funds.The 2021 balance sheet of Gemeinnützige Wikimedia Fördergesellschaft mbH (WMFG) reads as follows: donation revenue increased to EUR 12.8 million (previous year: EUR 11.9 million).Personnel expenditures and material expenditures increased to EUR 1.5 million (previous year: EUR 1.4 million). As a result, EUR 8.9 million (previous year: EUR 8.7 million) were forwarded to Wikimedia Foundation in the USA and EUR 2.4 million (previous year: EUR 1.8 million) were forwarded to the organisation in Germany. Unused donations amounted to EUR 0.8 million; this amount will be available to the organisation in the following year.
Summary: Revenue and Use of Funds
Wikimedia Deutschland generates the majority of its revenue, over 85%, from donations and membership fees of its 501,553 individual supporters and members. Amounting to a total of EUR 14.2 million in donations and EUR 4.6 million in membership fees, the contributions make it possible for us to be financially independent and to work independently.
Like many fundraising organisations, Wikimedia Deutschland strives to maximize funds used for substantive work while minimizing costs of activities related to public relations, advertising and administration. However, the latter are necessary and meaningful as they help organize the use of funds as well as provide accountability and transparency. The expenses for activities relating to public relations and advertising of Wikimedia Deutschland and Gemeinnützige Wikimedia Fördergesellschaft amounted to EUR 2.4 million in 2021 (previous year: EUR 2.4 million). The administrative expenses amounted to EUR 2.0 million (previous year: EUR 2.4 million). Taking this into account, the overall share of costs for activities relating to administration, advertising and public relations of both organizations amounted to 21.1% in 2021 (previous year: 23.4%).
Wikimedia Deutschland voluntarily allows audits of its financial position, financial performance and cash flow as well as its internal processes. The audit of Wikimedia Deutschland – Gesellschaft zur Förderung Freien Wissens e. V. and Gemeinnützige Wikimedia Fördergesellschaft mbH was conducted in January 2022 and March 2022 by Curacon GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft. The auditor’s report concludes with a clean opinion. According to the auditor’s report, the financial statements of both organizations, Wikimedia Deutschland and Wikimedia Fördergesellschaft, were presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and convey a true and fair view thereof. The auditor’s report concludes with unqualified opinion.