Why does Wikipedia need money
Wikipedia has been nothing short of a phenomenon in itself. Simply put, Wikipedia is probably the biggest storehouse of knowledge about everything that is worth knowing. If the dooms day were to strike mankind, and we had the option of retaining a single thing for the future evolving forms of humans, it would have to be the database of Wikipedia! On a more realistic note, Wikipedia is the most popular, and arguably the biggest non profit website in the World Wide Web.
The general belief is that the internet is for free, which is certainly not the case. In fact, keeping such a mammoth site running requires a whole army of employees working at many data centres across the world. This in turn requires loads of money; money to pay the workers who monitor the servers round the clock, money to pay for the voluminous net space for the various Wiki platforms, and money to access and organize the absolute universe of information. A pertinent question to arise at this juncture is that they could always invite advertisers for some screen space, considering that millions of people hit Wikipedia every day. However, Wikimedia Foundation, the organization behind the host of Wiki services on the internet, does not believe in cluttering its sites with glossy advertisements. Obviously, money in-flow is not much. So, they have no option but to appeal to the people they are serving for free, i.e. the viewers. This is the reason behind the fact that we see the donation appeals when we visit Wikipedia.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that when the people behind Wikipedia first began working, they might not have imagined the overwhelming adulations and expectations that would be associated with their venture. A huge number of volunteers is involved in providing the information flow, and Wikimedia Foundation needs some monetary resources to keep the volunteers hooked.
Some believe that Wikipedia would be better off trying to explain the precise reasons behind its appeals of donations. Though such a wonderful service would not be questioned on ethics, but transparency would certainly lift the inhibitions off potentially generous donors.