If you haven’t seen the Jimmy Wales personal appeal for Wikipedia donations recently, then you probably don’t use the internet very much.

Lately, Wikipedia’s fundraising committee has been serving up a large picture of founder Jimmy Wales + a personal appeal on just about every Wikipedia page that exists.  The strong performance of the personal appeal banner campaign has apparently destroyed every previous campaign used by the Wikipedia fundraising committee (see this link for all the data to prove it).

David McCandless used the data Wikipedia openly published on the campaign to create a pretty cool infographic on campaign performance (check this out).

Spoofing Jimmy

Several little Internet memes that spoof the Jimmy Wales appeal are now floating around the web.  One of the spoofs targets Steve Jobs.

Spoofs aside, Steve Jobs has also made a few sincere, personal appeals in his day.

Jobs has been able to touch many “would be entrepreneurs” with motivational messages from the heart.  One of my favorite sincere appeals comes from a Stanford commencement speech Jobs made back in 2005.  In that speech, Jobs tells college students to follow their hearts (in their career choices).

I’ve posted a bit of text on this personal appeal below (click here for the entire speech)

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important thing I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life, because almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

Deep personal appeals that reveal a person’s humanity and authenticity can be super powerful.

Nice work Wikipedia team; I’m happy to see you guys raking in the donation cash.  I don’t want to see Wikipedia go away…

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