Wikipedia for Nonprofits

Wikipedia for Nonprofits

Wikipedia has grown into the one of the most critical parts of the digital infrastructure that defines and drives information in the online community. It is the largest and most popular general reference site on the Internet. Wikipedia ranks sixth globally in website traffic with an estimated 365 million readers worldwide. If you work to maintain and fortify a strong digital presence for your nonprofit organization, you need to consider – does your organization have a page on Wikipedia? Are you happy with the content that is written on that page?

The general public uses Wikipedia as a legitimate source of information and crafts opinions based on the information provided. Your current volunteers and potential constituents will read the information provided on Wikipedia to learn more about your organization and the impact that you are having. Take the time to ensure that accurate information about your charity is on Wikipedia.

While anyone can edit a page, there are very specific rules about how information is posted and verified on Wikipedia. There is a subculture of volunteer Wikipedia editors that maintain the integrity of the information on the site and set standards for the information provided. We encourage you to check out Wikipedia’s recommendations on adding information to understand the steps needed to create a page. Wikipedia’s editing policy and definition of verifiability is also key to educate yourself on the information needed to keep your pages and edits on the website.

Understanding the subculture and processes of Wikipedia can be time consuming especially for small organizations. An idea first step to strengthen your presence on this site is to check with your current volunteer base to see if anyone is currently an active Wikipedia editor. Their knowledge and experience will be very helpful in creating or editing current pages. If you do not have a volunteer who can help with this process, invest the time and work to ensure that you gain a knowledge base about the platform.

It is important to remember that – like most places on the Internet – Wikipedia is an open environment. If there has been criticism levied against your organization by anyone in the past, it can easily surface on Wikipedia. Instead of ignoring or trying to delete content, it’s best to reply to criticism directly.

To see examples of strong nonprofit Wikipedia pages, we encourage you to check out CARE, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Operation Smile.

We’ve also provided a few examples of things to avoid. International Development Exchange has the issues listed at the top of their page. It is written as an advertisement and lacks appropriate sources. American Heart Association’s page doesn’t have the same verifiability issues, but could be enhanced with a lot of their history and impact.

Wikipedia is an important part of maintaining your online presence and profile. Take the time to ensure that your organization is represented accurately and appropriately in this space.

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