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I have found out that the project is financially supported by just two contributors and I think that:
It's still a financial burden (however insignificant it may be for those guys) and there's no reason for it not to be shared.
There should be an option for people to donate financially if they want to support the project but are unable to do it any other way.
Probably nobody would want to just accumulate a pile of money, so donations should be directly tied to the current infrastructure costs with the option to raise money for special spendings and more importantly the option to stop accepting donations once the goal is reached.
So the requirements would be:
Actual donation page where you can send money to cover project costs.
Target amount status/progress page.
Automatically stop accepting donations when the target is reached.
Automatically reactivate annually.
Ideally, automatically pay out infrastructure costs when the target is reached.
Just a single "donate" button probably won't cut it. I've looked into a few donation/crowdfunding platforms and nothing really stood out. Crowdfunding sites are usually kickstarter-like in a way that they best support one-time collection of the money (vs annual collections) and a lot of platforms which automate donations charge fees almost equal to an annual infrastructure spending and/or require the official recognition of the non-profit status (to shave fees off).
So two questions I have:
Does anyone have experience with crowdfunding/donations platforms which might be suitable for LEDE?
Since these platforms do require e-mail/password to login -- how could shared ownership of this information between a number of project leaders be organized?
The part about stopping donations, I'm sure its easier to simply do the math for the amount of donation to give out. The money can go to support the website, request for hardware support and/or features (prioritization - if possible)
People who would like to do not will and those who do not won't. Patreon is a good foundation for that. (I don't think there should be a limit thats what I'm trying to say - anyone can stop support whenever they want)
From my brief look, it should be possible to set the Patreon not to monthly but a one-time donation.
So does it need to stop automatically when certain amount is reached or are you (@tmomas I'm considering you the voice of project leaders here ;), as besides @jow they seem to focus strictly on development and not as much community development as you two guys) happy to accumulate donations for the rainy day?
Besides credit card/PayPal -- what other forms of payment (for credit card-less people) are we talking about here? Anonymous/blockchain-based or just alternatives (like bank transfers)?
I think that however the talks about the merger with OpenWrt go, the domain name should be paid up for at least 10 years as soon as donations start to trickle in.
Also -- do you guys have some way to share credentials (for reasons I'm not going to state as they are half vulgar and half horrific, but let's face it, things happen to projects and people)?
Finally -- do you at all need any help setting this up? Just throwing this: https://lede-project.org/playground/donate out here, it's a very rough and minimal description. Feel free to edit this page up until it's fit to be published (and all the links are set up, etc).
Hmmm... why onetime donation?
If I understand correctly, there are running monthly cost for the servers, and therefore I would consider the montly goal as shown in the dokuwiki patreon page as not too bad an idea.
On the other hand: Having a yearly goal and stopping once the goal is reached doesn't sound bad either.
Accumulating donations for rainy days: Something inside me tells me that we shouldn't, because you have to take care of that "plus" money. But in the end, it's not up to us to decide, but up to the ones who are getting the bills, and who are paying them.
Other payment methods: I'm thinking of simple good old bank transfer.
Don't do this. You can list costs, that won't hurt, although it might come across as if you're angling for money. Advertising monthly or yearly goals will make it look even worse. It's like browsing Wikipedia at that time of the year and getting that in your face banner that shouts 'DONATE NOW!!!'.
I understand people think things like these are better for the project, but it won't go down well. Translated to real life:
Sorry, just to clarify -- are you opposed to the idea of stopping donations once the target amount is reached? Because if you're OK with stopping donations when the target amount is reached, in the spirit of transparency you should be listing the target.
I'd be more wary of the project which accepts donations indefinitely possibly accumulating surplus (it's a nice problem to have, but it's still nonetheless a problem), than the project which has a stated goal for donations based on the infrastructure costs and only accepts that much money.
And, uhm, yeah -- we absolutely are angling for money. As things are right now, people who put their free time and knowledge to further the LEDE Project development are also supporting it financially to the tune of $2.5k a year. I see it as both a social injustice and a lack of opportunity for people to contribute financially who can't contribute in any other way.
Finally, I think what annoys people most about the way wikipedia collects is the huge-ass banner up top, not that they state their collection goals. Having said that -- their technique works and wikipedia is none worse off.
To sum things up:
Annual target amount to cover running infrastructure costs.
PayPal, credit card and bank transfer options to contribute.
Fund/donate towards specific device requested by devs.
One-time donation is a must, with monthly/annual plan as an option as a bonus feature.
How should we go about people who want to get their favorite device supported without current expressed interest from devs and at the same time avoid people sending in, well, junk?
I also think that unless it's a corporate sponsor signing up to provide a crucial piece of infrastructure for free for a number of years (and maybe not even those), all donations should be anonymous and not listed on any of the "thank you" pages (people sending in the money, especially bank transfer should absolutely receive a confirmation of their payment tho). Hopefully people want to donate money for better reasons than being recognized and to avoid any sort of threshold level on which donations are not recognized.
Sorry, just to clarify -- are you opposed to the idea of stopping donations
once the target amount is reached? Because if you're OK with stopping
donations when the target amount is reached, in the spirit of transparency you
should be listing the target.
I'd be more wary of the project which accepts donations indefinitely possibly
accumulating surplus (it's a nice problem to have, but it's still nonetheless
a problem), than the project which has a stated goal for donations based on
the infrastructure costs and only accepts that much money.
The project should be able to find ways to make use of additional money. This
can be in getting more servers so that builds go faster, it could be in setting
up a farm of devices to test builds on real hardware, it could be in paying
someone to be the sysadmin of the systems so that the current contributers can
concentrate more on development, or in extremem cases, it could be to start
paying the core contributers.
But to both be saying "we can't do that because we don't have the resources" and
"we don't need anything from anyone" is a mixed signal.
There's a huge difference between sending money towards a specific goal and sending money because "project should be able to find ways to make use of additional money". The latter (when done by government) is called taxes and I'm sure most people have enough of that.
Lack of legal entity is a concern. From what I've read, even SPI can't help handle the money if there's no legal entity.
There's a huge difference between sending money towards a specific goal and
sending money because "project should be able to find ways to make use of
additional money". The latter (when done by government) is called taxes and
I'm sure most people have enough of that.
No, Taxes are when you are forced to send money, and it doesn't matter if you
want to or not.
[quote="stangri, post:15, topic:1049"]
Sorry, just to clarify -- are you opposed to the idea of stopping donations once the target amount is reached? Because if you're OK with stopping donations when the target amount is reached, in the spirit of transparency you should be listing the target. [/quote]
Well maybe I was a bit quick I'm not opposed to stopping donations when a target is reached, and yes, if you do that, you should advertise the targets. But it wouldn't be my first choice.
There's nothing wrong with a rainy day fund. A server breaks down, a dev needs new hardware, people may want to attend a conference or some other event to talk face to face, there may always be unexpected costs. Donations serve that purpose as well. Especially developer 'mobility' should be funded, since that's what partially made OpenWrt's internals grind to a halt.
It's a bit naive to think LEDE will be flooded with loads of money once donation becomes possible. I wouldn't worry about getting too much money - rather the opposite
Instead of setting fixed targets, I'd prefer donations on a voluntary basis. Targets seem a bit coercive to me, but I am wary of hierarchy ;). If needed, we can organise a donation drive for specific goals.
A donor can stop donating whenever they want so there's no reason to limit how OTHERS willingness to donate. If you choose to donate once then that's completely fine. Others may want to continue support and that's fine too. If you are concerned about how much LEDE gets through donations then you personally should message the donors and tell them to stop their generosity. (But why?) (its no different from telling consumer's not to buy things because the Big Boys in the company are getting "too rich" - consumers themselves are making that choice to buy similar to how donors are making the choice to donate)