Summit Part 2: Funding

Kent James kent at
Thu Oct 23 05:03:10 UTC 2014

On 10/22/2014 9:42 PM, Benjamin Kerensa wrote:
> I would have to say $500k seems quite ambitious. Mozilla has only 
> raised $800k last year in donations and $400k in 2011.
> Mozilla also spends a lot of money (hundreds of thousands) to promote 
> its donate campaigns.
> If that funding were raised what would it pay for?
First, on the number. Clearly we'll know a lot more about that number 
after we've tried it once. People have recommended to me privately that 
you don't force this ambitious target, that is leave the campaign open 
to much less so that you don't fail. I think that is good advice. So we 
will give it our best shot, and take what we get. We will not promise 
things that we can only deliver if we get $500,000.

But those numbers don't come out of thin air, either. A couple of years 
ago I tracked a campaign in Firefox that was a subtle link, and scaling 
that to Thunderbird I estimated $50,000 as a result. So clearly a subtle 
donate link will not achieve $500,000.

In a blog post 
I tried to scale a Wikipedia-style campaign to Thunderbird usage, and 
came up with $1,600,000. Now that was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but think 
about it. Do you remember the Wikipedia fund raising? I certainly do. Do 
you remember the Firefox fund raising? Barely. Wikipedia was willing to 
be a lot more visible than Firefox was. Which was probably appropriate 
for both of them. So we need to be more like Wikipedia, with a campaign 
that is clearly asking the user to make a decision, without resorting to 
interruptions in the workflow.

As for the usage for the funds, there are the existing expenditures on 
"user engagement" such as swag and meetups (such as the most recent 
Summit) which need a few tens of thousands per year. But we really hope 
to be able to hire a small staff to keep Thunderbird on track, and that 
requires several hundreds of thousands per year.

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