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 Post subject: Problem: Not enough donations
PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:36 am 
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Problem: You're a developer, you've been working hard on something and even though you see 1,000s of downloads and have lots of happy users, you're still barely seeing a handful of donations. This has come up plenty of times in the past 10 years but I finally decided to put together a thread on this topic after the excellent FileOptimizer decided to go nagware.

The critical elements I see is making it simple, painless, and make users feel involved in the program's continued improvement.

Some suggestions:

  • Lots of ways to donate
    • Amazon Wish List (not Amazon Pay, see below)
    • Paypal
    • Google Wallet
    • Bitcoin
    • Patreon
    • Ask people to donate to a charity you like (in your name)
    • Other services (thanks Midas)

  • Publicity
    • Get your name or website added to the program home page or "about" menu
    • Add your top user donation since the last release to the status bar

  • Priority access
    • Get the latest version days before anyone else
    • Access to videos, docs, and other items ahead of other users
    • Email/phone/etc support
    • Newsletter access

Other ideas welcome.

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 Post subject: Re: Problem: Not enough donations
PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 4:53 pm 
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All I can say is to be humble about it, I'm much more likely to donate to something when that's the case, but when things start turning into threats like "Progress is going to stop unless..." or constant nagging, begging and reminding, then I'm much more likely to look for alternatives. Oh and limiting features... a good way to kill the reasons why people liked your product in the first place, PeStudio, ReNamer, etc.

Oh and never ever follow the route that the FreeFileSync dev did by putting adware/malware into the installer.


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 Post subject: Re: Problem: Not enough donations
PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:21 pm 
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Quote:
Oh and limiting features... a good way to kill the reasons why people liked your product in the first place, PeStudio, ReNamer, etc.

What *not* to do. :) That's useful as well.

Quote:
Oh and never ever follow the route that the FreeFileSync dev did by putting adware/malware into the installer.

Yeah I feel like the the FFS guy went out of his way to trash a lot of good will on the part of his users.

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 Post subject: Re: Problem: Not enough donations
PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:43 am 
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It's worth pointing out that accepting donations via Amazon without being a legally structured nonprofit is against the terms of service (even if it isn't directly stated as such at the time) and they will permanently kill the ability for your Amazon account to ever user Amazon Pay as a payer or payee. Source: me/PortableApps.com

Patreon seems to work better for folks regularly creating artistic content as well as pinup-style photo sites. I haven't seen as many people getting it to work successfully with development.

gratipay (formerly flattr) still seems to have hardly any users. Even large projects used by lots of people like Reddit Enhancement Suite struggle to break $5 a week.

bitcoin can work depending on your audience (ie does it overlap with people who are fans of bitcoin?). PortableApps.com has gotten over a thousand dollars via bitcoin over the last 3.5 years. We only got a few dollars via the other cryptocurrencies and none at all via ETH.

The priority access thing can work for closed source stuff but not as well with open source.

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 Post subject: Re: Problem: Not enough donations
PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:18 pm 
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For the more ambitious projects there are "fund development" campaigns, some examples:
- https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/95 ... tcommander
- https://salt.bountysource.com/teams/neovim
- https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/duik ... are-film#/

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 Post subject: Re: Problem: Not enough donations
PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:20 pm 
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JohnTHaller wrote:
It's worth pointing out that accepting donations via Amazon without being a legally structured nonprofit is against the terms of service (even if it isn't directly stated as such at the time) and they will permanently kill the ability for your Amazon account to ever user Amazon Pay as a payer or payee.

I couldn't find anything in the TOS about that but I'm not thrilled with using Amazon for anything so I'll just strike that from the list.

JohnTHaller wrote:
Patreon seems to work better for folks regularly creating artistic content as well as pinup-style photo sites. I haven't seen as many people getting it to work successfully with development.

Good to know.

JohnTHaller wrote:
bitcoin can work depending on your audience (ie does it overlap with people who are fans of bitcoin?). PortableApps.com has gotten over a thousand dollars via bitcoin over the last 3.5 years. We only got a few dollars via the other cryptocurrencies and none at all via ETH.

Also good to know, thanks.

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 Post subject: Re: Problem: Not enough donations
PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:24 am 
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Update: More ways to ask for donations:

  • Donations drive before some deadline (end of year, before some important personal event, etc.)

  • Feature Bounties - The ability to suggest a few features and put money on it. For open source projects, this means that someone else can come into a project and add a plugin or patch to create that would this feature and they would get the bounty. Pidgin tried this a few years ago but I don't know how well that went.

  • Affiliation - Ask people to shop via an Amazon Associates Link. (both Greenshot http://getgreenshot.org/support/ and textmechanic.com/ are doing this)

  • Usage note - Put something in the "about" menu noting how many times the program has been used and for how long (e.g. Launched 50x, first used on May 10, 2015)

  • Friendly donations screen - used by Youtube Video Downloader: https://www.yourvideofile.org/install-s ... e95Gq.dpbs

  • Why are you donating? Let other people say it for you (like Everything http://www.voidtools.com/donate/)

  • List top donators like OpenShot: http://www.openshot.org/donations/ or put them at the top of your page like JoeJoeSoft: http://www.joejoesoft.com/

  • Argue for it's importance - Talk about why it's important, what you'll work on, and get a lot of people to say nice things about your work like GPG: https://gnupg.org/donate/

---

Related: Why free software developers are important and how to say thanks (fosspost)

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 Post subject: Re: Problem: Not enough donations
PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:28 am 
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I put together a few more possible paths to donations:

  • Selling Support - this is usually for necessarily complex services. So for example, let's say you want to switch an entire organization over to LibreOffice, you would want support to help make that happen. Only a few programs here on PFW really have a situation where support would be something that you'd want to pay for until you ended up in a critical place where you really need help. Having a program developer on hand when something goes wrong is very nice.

  • Donation-only Features. This varies from the "freemium" model because there's no set price. Meaning someone who donates $100 gets the same as a person donating $5. This would work great with a wish list system (buy me anything from a given list to get access).

  • Sell the name - Let someone pick the name ... make it "Kool's File Manager," "Dire Straits File Manager" or "DrZoidberg File Manager" etc. Part of me likes this idea simply because a lot of programs have remarkably generic names.

---

More links of interest

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