Time to say goodbye to the unintentionally comical contributor photos on Wikipedia as the crowd-sourced encyclopaedia has met its $20 million (£12.8 million) fundraising target.

The stern gaze of Wikipedia contributors settled upon users as they gaily searched for Postman Pat, Kelly Clarkson, the word 'buck' and the colour puce on the site, reminding us that even free services have to pay their bills and silently pleading for donations.

Unusually for a site with such high traffic, Wikipedia has thus far managed to steer clear of adding adverts to its pages.

Hold me closer tiny resources

As Sue Gardner, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, explains, "We're the #5 most popular site in the world – we operate on a tiny fraction of the resources of any other top site. We will use your money carefully and well, I promise you."

These uses include buying hardware, developing new features, expanding mobile services, providing legal defence for the projects and supporting volunteers.

In January 2009, Wikipedia received donations towards its running costs from 8,000 people. January 2012 sees over one million people pledging money to the site.

Some will be pleased to see the back of the diverse volunteers' portraits, others will be sad to no longer confuse them with the topics they're searching for - whichever side of the fence you sit, we have no doubt the banners will be back to judge us in our quest for largely accurate knowledge later this year.

From Wikimedia via AllThingsD