On Funding Open Source

Posted by Katie McLaughlin on July 12, 2016

Just because you can use something for free doesn’t mean you can’t help make it better. Your time is valuable, but a lot of open source projects could really use your financial backing as well. Countless hours goes into sustaining these services behind the scenes, often at the financial expense. Sustained financial support can turn a hobby project into a job for a maintainer, or a community into a company that can in turn support other projects.

If your product is based on a web framework like Django, have you considered making a donation to the Django Software Foundation?

If your company does a lot of work in a particular language or platform, have you considered sponsoring your local regional conference for that languages, such as linux.conf.au? Many sponsorship packages have perks that include one or more tickets to the conference itself, so you can give financial assistance to the event plus send some of your employees for some training/networking/learning time.

If you have documentation for your product that’s hosted on ReadTheDocs.org, have you considered a periodic subscription to help make them sustainable?

As an individual, you can always help out too. One time donations are useful, but subscriptions help projects plan for the future. Many events also have higher-level tickets, like the PyCon AU Contributor ✨ ticket which help support the conference, and help other people attend.

And don’t forget the advocacy. Initiatives like CallBackWomen are invaluable for finding out about talks and conferences that should be on your radar.

If you can, please think about supporting something in Open Source that helps make your live easier.

Disclaimer: I support – either with my time and/or financially – every initiative, event, and organisation linked to on this page.