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Last post Author Topic: Thinking about a DonationCoder.com fundraising thing and a celebration..  (Read 23808 times)

mouser

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So i've been thinking about the possibility of having a kind of fundraising event thing on DonationCoder.com and I want to get some feedback from you guys.

We've ended up spending so much of our time working on DonationCoder.com and it's rapidly become our our favorite way to spend our time, but having so little time for other work means that the donations are more and more important to us just to help us pay bills and buy food.

Anyway, the idea would be that for like 2 weeks we would just have some kind of special banner on the site to say that it's our "fundraising time of the year" or something, and just in general try to draw attention for 2 weeks to the fact that we depend on donations for all of our funding, etc.  you know, like other public broadcasting services do.  basically just try to encourage people if they haven't donated yet to consider donating, and if they have donated a long time ago to consider if they might want to donate again..

I was thinking sometime in october.

I don't know if it would have any effect, but it might be worth trying if people here are not hostile to the idea of it..  I think we would also make a special effort to update the programs and just in general demonstrate that the donations really do help us keep this site going strong.

One other idea that I thought would be nice to add to the site during the fundraising event would be excerpts from some of the wonderful emails that I've gotten since we started the site, just of real people saying how they appreciate what we are doing.  This was actually an idea that someone on the forum suggested to me and it seems like a really fun idea.

And i'd be open to other ideas that people think would be nice to do at fundraising time - i looked into some of those online tshirt places and stuff with the idea that maybe we could have like a donationcoder.com tshirt or something but the markups are much too high for the kinds of donations we get.  but maybe we could make some iron-on tshirt logos or something ourselves and send them to donators or something.

I'm open to ideas :)

Do you guys think this would be an ok idea?
« Last Edit: November 05, 2005, 08:08:30 PM by mouser »

Carol Haynes

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Re: Thinking about a DonationCoder.com fundraising thing.. opinions wanted
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2005, 07:17:56 AM »
How about one or two utilities that are only availble to people who promote DonationCoder.com in some way (website logo/link or wrting a review on one of the well known mirroring services etc.). Or possibly one of the giveaways based on some sort of user promotional effort.

As for user comments - you could have general 'Wow this is a great site' - type quotes on your home page, and a few user repsonses to individual progams on their own homepage ??

mouser

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Re: Thinking about a DonationCoder.com fundraising thing.. opinions wanted
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2005, 07:27:12 AM »
regarding people who "promote" or give positive reviews to donationcoder.com or link to it - such things definitely help spread the word about Donationcoder.com but our position has been that we don't really want to get into a situation where it might feel like we are rewarding people for doing such things - just because i think it would take away from the acts, and make people think that such mentions of our site were done for alternative reasons.

At least the way it is now, when someone sees a link to donationcoder.com or a positive review of one of our programs on cnet, betanews, snapfiles, softpedia, etc. then they know it was posted by someone without alternative motives, who took the time to post it because they really cared for the program.

It really is hard to over state though how important such posts about our site and programs are are on blogs, newsletters, and software announcement/review sites.  They are the way people discover us, and they are the way that people learn that we have an active community here and that we care about what we are doing and are trying to do something good and different.

(I can't thank enough people like you Carol who have taken the time to post a nice review of one of our programs on these software sites; it really is a nice gesture and very much appreciated.)

--

Yeah, i was thinking trying to do something nice with the excerpt type quotes, like little boxes here and there with a short excerpt and then visitor could click to read more.  We really do get some nice emails, and we love getting them, and i think in this age of fly-by-night sites and scams i think it would help new visitors to be able to see what other people think about the site.

We will of course contact anyone whose email we would like to quote beforehand to get permission to excerpt the email.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2005, 07:31:19 AM by mouser »

brotherS

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Re: Thinking about a DonationCoder.com fundraising thing.. opinions wanted
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2005, 08:01:28 AM »
Quote
I'm open to ideas :)
Great! :)

So i've been thinking about the possibility of having a kind of fundraising event thing on DonationCoder.com and I want to get some feedback from you guys.

We've ended up spending so much of our time working on DonationCoder.com and it's rapidly become our our favorite way to spend our time, but having so little time for other work means that the donations are more and more important to us just to help us pay bills and buy food.

Anyway, the idea would be that for like 2 weeks we would just have some kind of special banner on the site to say that it's our "fundraising time of the year" or something, and just in general try to draw attention for 2 weeks to the fact that we depend on donations for all of our funding, etc.  you know, like other public broadcasting services do.  basically just try to encourage people if they haven't donated yet to consider donating, and if they have donated a long time ago to consider if they might want to donate again..
I like the idea... a lot!

Quote
One other idea that I thought would be nice to add to the site during the fundraising event would be excerpts from some of the wonderful emails that I've gotten since we started the site, just of real people saying how they appreciate what we are doing.  This was actually an idea that someone on the forum suggested to me and it seems like a really fun idea.
Yeah, I second that.

Quote
And i'd be open to other ideas that people think would be nice to do at fundraising time - i looked into some of those online tshirt places and stuff with the idea that maybe we could have like a donationcoder.com tshirt or something but the markups are much too high for the kinds of donations we get.  but maybe we could make some iron-on tshirt logos or something ourselves and send them to donators or something.
Ok, I gave it some thought, here are a few ideas:
  • update the DonationCoder.com logo: I don't know how old it is but to me it looks a bit like from 2001 or 2002, especially because of the font. If you aren't a Photoshop (or whatever) expert just start a contest in the forum, I'm sure a few gfx artists will help :)
  • during the period the fundraiser is running put a label/sticker in a very visible red color (a bit diagonally) across the right part of the DonationCoder.com logo, saying "fundraiser from Oct-15 to Oct-30 - please donate to help us grow - click here" - clicking it would bring you to a) the donation page or b) a new donation page, containing some additional info
  • if you change a few other (small) things besides the logo (for example different background for sticky topics) you could combine the fundraiser with a site relaunch - write a short, nice article about your site and send that to a dozen of software news sites (I'm willing to help there a bit)
  • offer something really cool to everyone who donates more than 100 USD
  • every donation in those fundraiser weeks will enter some kind of raffle, choose a more or less cool first price and less cool prices for second to ninth winner
  • open a new forum especially for the time the fundraiser is running where people should post ideas (about the site, your programs, new programs, whatever...). The best idea (use a poll to find out?) will receive a cool gift too or a tiny donation from you :)

That's all for the moment :)

mouser

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Re: Thinking about a DonationCoder.com fundraising thing.. opinions wanted
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2005, 08:33:26 AM »
great ideas brotherS!

I like the idea of treating the kickoff of the fundraising with some site improvements - and a new logo might be a nice thing to do.  I'm definitely not an artist so a logo contest might be a nice thing to do. and i like the idea of emphasizing that the donations will help us grow, which it really will.  And i think you have a great idea that the fundraiser + site improvements should be accompanied by a little article about the site, where we started, where we are now, and where we hope to go, that people can read and that we can send out to other sites.  Great idea!!

the idea of a raffle to reward donators during that period is a fun idea - but would people who donated on their own prior to the fundraiser feel like that was unfair?  seems like they might.  but we could do a raffle or two as part of the fundraiser and make it open to anyone who has donated at any time.. a special forum section of the forum for the fundraiser and ideas seems like a nice way to welcome new members :)

regarding special things for people who donate more than a certain amount..
the current policy of donationcoder.com is not to think about amounts donated.  different people have different amounts of money, and a $100 gift from a millionaire means much less to us than a $5 gift from someone who has to watch their budget carefully and doesn't have much spare money.  and taking the time out to help people on the forum, or posting mini reviews etc. is as valuable as any donation :)

brotherS

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Re: Thinking about a DonationCoder.com fundraising thing.. opinions wanted
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2005, 08:44:56 AM »
regarding special things for people who donate more than a certain amount..
the current policy of donationcoder.com is not to think about amounts donated.  different people have different amounts of money, and a $100 gift from a millionaire means much less to us than a $5 gift from someone who has to watch their budget carefully and doesn't have much spare money.  and taking the time out to help people on the forum, or posting mini reviews etc. is as valuable as any donation :)
Hehe, sure that! I just thought a few big donations from those who can easily afford it might be good ;) I knew a guy who donated >10000 USD to some strange club he was in, so... you never know :) Great that you like the majority of my ideas, lets see what others think and suggest.

mouser

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Re: Thinking about a DonationCoder.com fundraising thing.. opinions wanted
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2005, 08:47:43 AM »
anyone who donates $10,000 to this site will get a custom made freeware program dedicated to explaining to the world why they are the greatest person on the planet  ;)

brotherS

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Re: Thinking about a DonationCoder.com fundraising thing.. opinions wanted
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2005, 08:52:55 AM »
anyone who donates $10,000 to this site will get a custom made freeware program dedicated to explaining to the world why they are the greatest person on the planet  ;)
Nice idea! :eusa_dance:

Carol Haynes

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Re: Thinking about a DonationCoder.com fundraising thing.. opinions wanted
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2005, 09:29:48 AM »
How about an auction ?

brotherS

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Re: Thinking about a DonationCoder.com fundraising thing.. opinions wanted
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2005, 09:43:33 AM »
How about an auction ?
...and run that on eBay, to get even more attention? :)
If someone has something really weird to sell an online casino might jump on it and DonationCoder.com gets worldwide attention!  :Thmbsup:

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Re: Thinking about a DonationCoder.com fundraising thing.. opinions wanted
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2005, 10:21:47 AM »
Logo:
If you are looking to get a logo made check out one of the existing Design Contest forums.  These have some great designers and you could get a logo for under $200 easily...

Design Contents:
http://www.designcon...forumdisplay.php?f=4

Design Outpost:
http://www.designoutpost.com/forums/

As far as Fund Raiser:
IMO the only people who will donate during that time will either be regulars who have donated before or regulars to these forums who may not have donated yet.  The reason PBS gets donations during that time is they flood you with the information about donating - long commercials, lots of information, and really makes you understand that you need to donate.  On a website you won't be able to have this affect and therefore I think the results will be low unless..

I know its against your beliefs for this website and your software but you could, during the donation time, is require people to donate prior to downloading your software (any amount).  Just put a blurb that states during this fund raiser a donation is required but on Nov 1st (or whatever) the software goes back to no donation required but appreciated.  I think this will get you the best chance at getting some returns.

I am basically in the same boat as you - I work on "free stuff" (includes my software and giving free tech support) far more than I can afford.  I often put in 100 Hr work weeks just so I can work on my software and get little (if any) return on it.  I get more income from my Google Ads than I get from donations from software...

Good luck!

mouser

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Re: Thinking about a DonationCoder.com fundraising thing.. opinions wanted
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2005, 10:32:26 AM »
very interesting ideas veign..

i'm one of those people who would prefer to wait for someone who likes the site to donate a logo rather than paying $200 for one.  i'm not against paying for things, but $200 is a big chunk of money for this site, and i kind of like the idea of someone here doing it as their way of donating something to the site.. would have a nicer feeling for everyone i think.  (that's not to say that i don't support these logo services because i do think they are doing great work, by great artists).

your point about getting new donations is well taken; it's also an interesting idea about downloading.  we can't really block downloading - that would cause havok for all the sites linking to us.  BUT we could say that for the period of the fundraiser (2 weeks or 1 month), we wouldn't make the freeware keys available, so that would mean that all the programs would keep running but users wouldnt be able to download the freeware license keys to remove the nag message, until the fundraiser was over...

the real problem with this is i think we are getting dangerously close to the point where we're going to start getting angry emails from people who felt forced to donate - which would be a real tragedy and against the philosophy of this site... i think with requiring people to sign up at the forum and download freeware license keys is already trying the patience of people who don't expect freeware to be so much work.  i think we are really risking a backlash.

one possibility to consider for the future at some point would be i keep hearing about people making money off ads.. one thing we could consider at some point if donations alone cant support the site, would be adding ads to the site that were only triggered if you aren't a member; so that members wouldn't see any ads, but non-members would.  i just hate advertising so it's hard for me to actually go through with something like that..

economics... what a pain.

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Re: Thinking about a DonationCoder.com fundraising thing.. opinions wanted
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2005, 11:03:19 AM »
I think Google Ads are an excepted form of ad placement.  I don't think users get turned off by these anymore since so many people use them.

Check out how I incorporated ads into this forum.  I place an ad every 4 posts and it hasn't turned anyone away.  If you were to place a Google Banner ad across the top of your forum you would make enough to pay for hosting and probably would turn away nobody...

Keep in mind its fine to have beliefs but if your beliefs sink you financially then where are you left? (and your users).  No more website and no more software releases.  You can keep the idea alive while still supporting the development / website.

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Re: Thinking about a DonationCoder.com fundraising thing.. opinions wanted
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2005, 11:17:27 AM »
your points are well taken, and i need to learn more about google ads and how they work.

the idea of having the ads only shown to non-members is somewhat attractive to me because it would mean that members are not affected at all, so we have the combination of some income from ads with no annoyance for members with the bonus of it being another incentive to become a member.

on the downside is the fact that i am somewhat bothered by the concepts behind having ads on a site like ours dedicated to objective evaluation of software..  i suppose its something we could try out for a little bit at some point, again especially if members never had to see the ads at all.

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Re: Thinking about a DonationCoder.com fundraising thing.. opinions wanted
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2005, 11:22:28 AM »
Google ads put me off - they manage somehow to be unobtrusive and unpleasant at the same time!  But I like your suggestion of bypassing them for non-members, Mouser.  I know I would pay (more) to turn them off!

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Re: Thinking about a DonationCoder.com fundraising thing.. opinions wanted
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2005, 06:56:15 PM »
A lot of people don't see ads as they use popup blockers and web page 'washers'. These have got quite effective now so I really don't see many ads these days!

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Re: Thinking about a DonationCoder.com fundraising thing.. opinions wanted
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2005, 08:04:14 PM »
BrotherS's ideas are so great -- except I agree with Mouser that a prize for someone who gives over a certain amount seems to go against the principles he has established: that each person has a comfort level for donating, and that even a small amount is dear to someone with a low income.

While an auction has a nice ring to it, I think it has the same problem.  The person with the highest bid wins, but what about someone with little income?  That's why I think a raffle is the way to go, with each person contributing what they can to get in the game.  And, no, I don't think people who have contributed in the past would feel bad if they weren't included.  It is understood that only contributions received during the fundraising period would be eligible.

About ads, I can take them or leave them (so to speak).  As long as they aren't from software developers or the like -- and exclude DCC members from the assault.

And I really like the idea of a contest for a great logo.  Not being a designer myself,   I feel free to suggest that a prize may not be necessary.  What would probably be the most inspiring would be attribution -- and lavish praise.  But you artists may disagree.  Let' us hear what you think.
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mouser

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Re: Thinking about a DonationCoder.com fundraising thing.. opinions wanted
« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2005, 08:09:35 PM »
thanks momonan, nice to hear your opinions -
one problem with one thing you said though,
not only would we most likely not be able to block ads from other software developers -
there is a high likelyhood that they would in fact be from software developer companies, because that's what google ads will try to do, find ads relevant to the content on the pages..

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Re: Thinking about a DonationCoder.com fundraising thing.. opinions wanted
« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2005, 08:14:25 PM »
Oh, I see what you mean. :(

BTW, I'm totally opposed to charging people to download during the fundraising period.  So far, all contributions have been voluntary, and should stay that way.  Nothing wrong, though, with telling folks that they can be entered in a raffle if they join during this fundraising window.
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Re: Thinking about a DonationCoder.com fundraising thing.. opinions wanted
« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2005, 10:38:59 PM »
I like the idea of members can download immediately and non members need to wait 30 days until it is available for download. Another small side effect of this could be that bugs get worked out before it is released in the wild.
I have an excellent memory.....now what was I saying ???

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Re: Thinking about a DonationCoder.com fundraising thing.. opinions wanted
« Reply #20 on: October 02, 2005, 06:22:06 AM »
I'm sorry if someone else has said this and I've just missed it in my scanning of the posts.  You've spoken about getting some of the companies that have given discounts before to repeat these for the first anniversary.  How about asking them to do that during the fundraising period, and let that be known on the site and through us spreading the word, but making them only available to members - as they already are - and maybe for the purposes of those particular downloads, during that particular period, you could ask that people - even existing members - make another donation of whatever amount?

mouser

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Re: Thinking about a DonationCoder.com fundraising thing.. opinions wanted
« Reply #21 on: October 02, 2005, 08:15:46 PM »
m_s this is of course a fantastic idea, and might be smart to try to coincide fundraising events with trying to renew some of the discounts.
the real problem may just be that it's been too short a period of time since the discounts to get companies to offer them again :(

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Re: Thinking about a DonationCoder.com fundraising thing.. opinions wanted
« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2005, 05:42:28 AM »
mouser,

Contact me if you need anything like a website redesign or a logo etc.. It is one of my specialities ;) I'd be very glad to do it for nothing also - just as another little donation :)

mouser

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Re: Thinking about a DonationCoder.com fundraising thing.. opinions wanted
« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2005, 06:00:25 AM »
we definitely are on the lookout for a new logo -
the only problem is i really have no idea what size/theme/etc.
i guess we would want to use it in different places at different sizes, so i guess something that would look good small and large, on small site buttons and on t-shirts.

ideally it would capture the spirit of donationcoder.com :)

the closest i've seen to something that caught my eye was this clipart that skrommel found and combined from 2 pictures here:
http://www.dcmembers.com

i just love that image of a bird handing a coin to the programmer - it's just cute and sweet and i'm a sucker for that kind of stuff,
but really i don't have a specific image or style in mind..  would love to see some sketches..

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Re: Thinking about a DonationCoder.com fundraising thing.. opinions wanted
« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2005, 06:13:31 AM »
we definitely are on the lookout for a new logo -
the only problem is i really have no idea what size/theme/etc.
i guess we would want to use it in different places at different sizes, so i guess something that would look good small and large, on small site buttons and on t-shirts.

i just love that image of a bird handing a coin to the programmer - it's just cute and sweet and i'm a sucker for that kind of stuff
I'm not a design specialist, but (from what I saw) aside from the bird with the coin that also could be the logo for a women's magazine ;)