Donation -- how to tell

R Kent James kent at
Mon May 16 22:00:00 UTC 2016

On 5/16/2016 1:10 PM, Tanstaafl wrote:
> 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...

There has been a lot of discussion in the past about this. The issue
generally is that typically money is needed mostly for overhead
activities such as build engineering, QA, hosting costs, etc, that users
do not fully appreciate. The challenge is to present the opportunity to
give in a way that motivates users, without creating the impression that
their money is actually going to be given toward something specific that
they can know and understand.

Part of my answer to the issue that you have raised though is to create
a mailing list that we will use to collect feedback from donors.
Subscribing to this mailing list is offered at the end of the donation
process. Long-term my hope is that we can engage with donors there, and
give them the chance to provide feedback, and seriously listen to that
feedback. I still have dreams of having a strong Thunderbird users group
(Thundernest) that would have a major role in determining the future of
Thunderbird, and funding it.

At this point in time though, I am much more interested in concrete
offers to help with specific aspects of the donation process than I am
suggestions on how to proceed. The specifics of what we do are not
nearly as important as actually doing something. Thanks Magnus and Jorg
for working on the donation link issues in Thunderbird directly, now we
really need help with the start page redesign in Django on Bedrock.


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