Donation Link: Lets gather information

Kent James kent at
Wed Dec 11 00:00:28 UTC 2013

Thanks, David for the contacts.

Looking at a "Snippet" is very close to 
proposals that have been put forth here for a link on the start page for 
Thunderbird. We can use their data to get a rough estimate of what to 
expect for a similar campaign in Thunderbird. (If you are not 
comfortable with rough estimates, please ignore the rest of this message).

Thunderbird usage is about 1/20 of Firefox (comparing ADI from to The Firefox campaign 
is about 1/3 through a one month campaign, and has raised $327,000 from 
snippets. At that rate, a similar campaign from Thunderbird would give 
about (3x$327,000)/20 = $50,000. This is probably a factor of 2 
estimate, so consider the best current estimate is $25,000 - $100,000 
per year with that approach. We would be getting donations averaging 
about $10 each from about 0.1% of users.

My sense of the need is that $50,000 is an adequate amount if 
Thunderbird continues with volunteer developers, but is not enough to 
make an impact if the hope is to hire some developers. We would need 
closer to $500,000 per year to be able to make progress with some paid 
development, which means we need to get donations from 1% of our users 
instead of 0.1%

It also sounds like the Mozilla Foundation has plans next year to be 
more active in assisting community-based projects with fund raising 
efforts, and at that point we could know more what to expect from them. 
But we can assume for now that this will be a straightforward path.

I hope that you can picture what this future looks like. This is 
probably enough income to sustain the product in it current form, but 
not enough to make significant forward progress. I don't want to 
minimize the value of sustaining the product in its current form, for 
the majority of our users that is probably sufficient. But I also know 
that I have higher hopes. That's why I have been encouraging us to 
consider a more aggressive approach to in-product fund raising.


On 12/9/2013 8:43 PM, David Ascher wrote:
> On Dec 9, 2013, at 2:47 PM, Kent James <kent at 
> <mailto:kent at>> wrote:
>> The revelation that Firefox already has in some cases a start-page 
>> donation link is new information.
> A relevant point --- the snippet on the Firefox home page which is 
> sometimes used to ask for donations for "unrestricted" donations to 
> Mozilla, not donations specifically to further Firefox.
> You can find information about that campaign at 
>> 4) Is the Mozilla Foundation willing and able to setup an account 
>> dedicated to Thunderbird for use in managing donations? If so, what 
>> would be the requirements of governance of that account, and rules 
>> for expenditures from that account?
> I'm happy to help if useful, as I talk fairly often to the folks 
> behind the fundraising campaign.  Gerv I'm sure is also well connected.
> But I don't think either of us need to gate.  I'll introduce you by 
> email to those folks.
> ---david
> _______________________________________________
> tb-planning mailing list
> tb-planning at

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