Raising Money on Your Own

It takes thinking out of the box for a small project to thrive without getting into debt. As discussed in the other parts of this section, relying on traditional means for fund raising will surely result in frustration. Your OS software project literally lives by your wit. You need to be smart about what you do if you hope to raise money on your own.

I see two reasons why OS software developers by and large will not find what they need via non-profit organizations.

1) There is a divide between the world of OS software and non-profits.
-- Most software hackers are very bad at negotiating with bureaucrasies
-- Most of the fundraising institutions are far from tech savvy, and they have no clue what open source software is all about
-- The ones that do know about open source software tend to only deal with institutions with legal non-profit status*

*The typical coder working on his or her pet GPL project has neither the time nor the resources to establish and maintain a non-profit.

The above is really just my opinion, but it keeps getting affirmed from my research.

2) Most OS developers do what they do out of their love for the code, love for humanity, or because they just want to see if their ideas will fly. As such, we are acting mostly on or own or in small groups in our extra time in a free-form way. The rigidness and structure of a formal organization will do much for creativity.

Let me first establish what should be the goal (again, this is just my opinion) of any OS software developer when it comes to raising money for his or her project. The goal should simply be to sustain the project, so that it may operate without putting you into debt. It would be nice to get compensated for the many thousands of hours you have invested in your project, but you should not expect this. On a higher level, you may believe that you do deserve to be paid for your dedication, but understand that it is very unlikely that you will ever recieve what would be considered a living wage for your GPL code. I am sure that there are some who are involved in major projects sponsored by the likes of RedHat etc. who may actually receive a steady paycheck, but these folks have to be the exception. In my opinion, you are doing well if you get your expenses recuperated. Yet, any orchastrater of a semi-popular OS project should have the goal of being compensated for his or her expenses; this is reasonable and really the only way you will continue to work on your project.

If you are looking for real life examples of my suggestions, look no further than this website because you will see my ideas in action here.

Small ways of raising money that you can do on your own.
Sell your GPL software as a product (Yes, you read right!).
Ask for contributions; people will not donate if you don't ask.
Sell related products.
Use your webspace to make money (lots on this subject to come).
Fundrasing Ideas