Donation -- how to tell

Tanstaafl tanstaafl at
Mon May 16 20:10:33 UTC 2016

First, I think it is great that this is happening, and while I
understand that what I'm about to say it much easier said than done...

If users actually had positive feedback that their donations were
actually being used to make Thunderbird better, I think that donations
would grow consistently over time, first through repeat donations, but
also from others who maybe took a wait and see attitude.

Transparency in the accounting process will accomplish this to a great
degree, but another way that is maybe even more a 'feel good' way, would
be if a way were provided to allow for 'directed donations' - meaning,
donations, but that were directed to be used to implement a certain
bug/feature. These could be incorporated in the Bug Tracker, allowing
people to donate directly from there.

Of course, for these, it would have to be understood that your money
goes into a special account, and if the linked bug/feature is still open
after a given amount of time (say, a year), then your money goes into
the general fund - otherwise, it counts against the bug/feature.

So, these donations are made knowing that they might not go toward the
purpose you wanted, but at least you could try.

It would be a much more meaningful way to 'vote' too, and this way
people could actually brag about having helped pay to implement feature
X or fix bug Y...

On 5/16/2016 1:51 PM, R Kent James <kent at> wrote:
> On 5/16/2016 10:07 AM, Ben Bucksch wrote:
>> R Kent James wrote on 16.05.2016 07:39:
>>> Yet I still warn people that we will get flak for aggressive
>>> donations campaigns...
>>> Non-intrusive donation links at selected locations are not going to
>>> generate flak. It is when the donation campaign is more aggressive,
>>> potentially even interrupting someone's workflow depending on the
>>> design, that the real complaints will begin. In an ideal world we
>>> would never need to do that, but in an ideal world we would have
>>> figured out ways to fund ourselves that do not intrude
>> Agreed. It should be visible, but not intrusive or too much in your face.
>> Right balance is key, as Kent said.
> Right, and the balance that I would strive for, following mostly from
> observing TDF and Wikipedia, is this:
> 1)    Most of the time, donations links should be easy to find but
> non-intrusive. Our current links are fine for this, now we are trying to
> locate them and convert them to the new link provided by MoFo.
> 2)    (Following TDF who in turn followed others): the download page is
> one location where users are focused on the app, have a minute of spare
> time, and can be asked effectively for a donation. I would not
> artificially increase the need for accessing this page by forcing people
> to use a webpage for updates, for example.
> 3)    (Following Wikipedia): Periodically, probably once per year, we
> need to do an intrusive but limited outreach to existing users for
> donations.
>> We're not beggars, we're offering something to the user. E.g. It
>> should not be always visible in the UI. We're not shareware. But most
>> users should see it once in a while.
> I think that my rough plan ahead largely agrees with you.
>> Also, to not have too high expectations about revenue, take a look at
>> how much Firefox raises with donations, and how many users they have
>> compared to us, and how much that would give us.
> I have done this extensively, which is how I come up with the estimates
> of $100,000 - $500,000 per year as a reasonable expectation.
> :rkent

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