The Wikimedia Foundation recently completed a massive fundraising drive and managed to raise some $16 million in donations from over 500,000 users of Wikipedia worldwide.

Wikipedia has a long-standing no-ad policy and the money raised through these donations would help the Wikimedia Foundation pay for all their staff and expenses and still remain ad-free for all of 2011.

Like most other non-profits, Wikipedia banks on donations to stay afloat but what happens if people don’t donate in such large numbers. Will they then accept advertising or shut down Wikipedia?

When TIME Magazine asked this exact question to Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, here’s what he said:

While we’ve always said that we’re opposed to having advertising on Wikipedia, we’ve never said “absolutely never.”

According to Wales, if they’re unable to raise sufficient funds through donations in future, they’ll first look at cost-cutting measures and then may include ads in “some obscure locations” to keep Wikipedia alive. That’s very unlikely though!