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Author Topic: March 2009 Fundraiser Wrap-up  (Read 8755 times)
mouser
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« on: April 05, 2009, 06:03:37 AM »

Ok I thought I would use this new thread to post some summary info about the fundraiser.
(for a more fun thread that discussed the fundraiser while it was in progress with lots of comments by everyone, see: here).

Note: I have family visiting currently which is why my posting has been a bit sporadic recently, so i'm going to post this info in several bite-sized junks.



So first some quick stats (these numbers are approximate):
  • Total money donated: during the march fundraiser: $13,844.
  • Total # of donations: About 659.
  • Of the people donating during fundraiser, this percent had already donated in the past: 29% (189)
  • Average donation: $21 (which is a higher than during non-fundraiser)
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mouser
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« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2009, 07:12:24 AM »

Some general forum stats for fundraiser and previous months:
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2009, 07:13:07 AM »

What an excellent community effort, and how nice to see so many new donors!

 thumbs up thumbs up
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Chris
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« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2009, 07:22:56 AM »

What the heck happened in October '08?

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Chris
mouser
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« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2009, 07:49:39 AM »

Quote
What the heck happened in October '08?

i assume you are referring to the "Most Online" column.  This isn't a very useful column -- it simply tells you the most # of people who were ever online "at the same time" (within a small window).

so that giant number for october 08 reflects some post that was big on digg or something, and so suddenly got a lot of traffic on one day.
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housetier
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« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2009, 09:15:56 AM »

on average 21 dollar per donation is a very high amount! that really surprises me.

it shows, however, what a generous community we must be. Otherwise people would not feel compelled to donate to much (on average).
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gexecuter
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« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2009, 11:21:29 AM »

Wow so many new people donated, that is pretty cool.
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Coeluh
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« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2009, 11:31:14 AM »

And what happens next with the money?
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mouser
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« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2009, 12:10:50 PM »

im going to gamble it all in Las Vegas.
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mouser
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« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2009, 12:19:38 PM »

Ok in seriousness:

A good portion will be given from users to users in the form of donationcredits (remember every donation during the fundraiser is still deposited into the user's account for them to decide who to allocate to if they choose to; many don't).

Much will go into bank, and will be used to pay hosting costs and server administration costs, and other expenses over the coming year.  Some will get spent on some fun new member kit things i wanted to get to send out (bookmarks and stickers), to pay for upcoming event prizes (we spent about $1000 in January on NANY mugs and stuff).  Some will get eaten by taxes.

Because people don't always take the time to allocate their credits, i'll send some out to people on the site like mods who make this place better.  Some will go to help me pay my student loans!

We can watch over the course of the year to see what continuing donations look like, and based on that keep our eye open for anything we as a site would like to spend some of the money on, whether it be prizes for the next programming challenge, etc.
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gexecuter
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« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2009, 01:26:52 PM »

So you are not going to spend it all on hookers and blow?
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« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2009, 02:28:52 AM »

Hello!

The donationcoder.com fundraiser has been interesting to watch.
Quote
Quote
   
How much did the site make last month on a generic non-fund-raiser month compared to this month?


good question -- i'll report when i summarize fundraising results in the next couple of days.

Is this question ever going to be answered or is it against the policy of donationcoder.com to reveal financial details other than those which are obvious?


Since it is a community-funded site i think it is only fair to have complete transparency about funds collected & distributed. It would encourage someone with reservations, like myself, to donate.

If you think revealing financial details is not a good idea, then kindly tell your contributors why not.

Thanks.
 

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app103
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« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2009, 03:13:53 AM »

Is this question ever going to be answered or is it against the policy of donationcoder.com to reveal financial details other than those which are obvious?


Since it is a community-funded site i think it is only fair to have complete transparency about funds collected & distributed. It would encourage someone with reservations, like myself, to donate.

If you think revealing financial details is not a good idea, then kindly tell your contributors why not.

Thanks.

The amount raised can be a bit misleading if just told in total numbers, since it doesn't really belong to the site itself. It belongs to whoever is holding the donation credits. Not all of those credits are in the site fund. Most of them are in control of the individual members.

When you donate to the site you get it back 100%. You don't lose anything. You get it in the form of donation credits that you control, 100%.

You decide where it will go, and to whom, and when, and why, and how much.

When you give your credits to another member, that's exactly where they go....to that person, and that person can do what they please with them, just like you. They can cash them in or pass them on to someone else they feel is even more deserving (this is usually the case).

If you give your credits to the site fund, then they support the site itself. If you give them to a donationware author, then you are supporting that person's projects and encouraging them to create more. If you give them to a reviewer, then you are supporting their writing and encouraging them to write more reviews (maybe even helping them pay for more software to review). If you give them to someone that has helped you with a problem, then you are supporting that and encouraging that person to keep helping people.

So what numbers do you really want? Do you want to know how much each person has in their personal account that isn't in the site fund? Do you want to know exactly how much each person has given to other people and who they gave it to? For privacy reasons I don't think I'd want you to know how much is or isn't in my account, or who gave it to me, or who I give my credits to. And I think most members would feel the same about it.

I will tell you this much: This site has made a big difference in my life. I earned my first $1 from programming here on this site. I have been able to buy things with the money that members gave me, that I wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise. Some of those things allow me to continue writing software and I wouldn't be able to without it.

The bottom line is that you are in full control of your donation. You can't get much more transparent than that.
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MischaM
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« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2009, 09:04:53 AM »

Hello app103,

Thank you for your response. The underlying principle on which the site runs and on which donation-credits work seem to be quite honorable and I appreciate you trying to explain this to me.

I feel the site can be a lot more transparent about it's finances without divulging any personal details.

Where is the harm in stating a few general figures annually, like:

a)  How much has the site recieved in donations in that year.

b)  How much has actually left the site (been cashed out) by the authors.

c)  A brief break-up of the annual expenses like hosting costs, and the amount spent on gifts and prizes, any other major expense category.

d) How much is currently lying in donation-credits but hasn't been cashed out.

e) How much went exclusively to the site fund.

Putting out statistics like these will inspire confidence and actually encourage donations by showing your potential contributors that donationcoder.com is a community, not just on the working end of things but also on the recieving end - and that the donations don't just benefit one person who runs the site but everyone who contributes to it and goes to making it the great place you describe it to be.

In other words, it'll show in black and white that the donation system that looks so good in theory, actually works in practice.

Dubbing a direct question as "good" and then not giving a straight answer when one has been promised seems careless at best and evasive at worst. I think the site owes a little more accountability to everyone who has reached out and made the fund-raiser such a spectacular success in these tough times we all face.

Thanks. 
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2009, 10:31:43 AM »

Putting out statistics like these will inspire confidence and actually encourage donations
I think the more accurate term here is might inspire.
I argue the case neither for nor against publishing the kinds of statistics to which you refer.

Quote
In other words, it'll show in black and white that the donation system that looks so good in theory, actually works in practice.
May I suggest that the empirical evidence already validated the theory?



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Chris
mouser
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« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2009, 11:23:44 AM »

I can understand why people would be curious about such things.. I'll go through the records and post numbers this weekend.
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mouser
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« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2009, 06:10:22 PM »

Ok time for some numbers.

Depending on your perspective, you'll probably think these are pitifully small amounts for a site thats been in operation for 4 years, or remarkably exorbitant amounts for a small donation-based software site that was never given much of a chance to survive.  I don't know if that means everyone is going to have reason to be disappointed but here goes:

Average amount currently donated into the site per month: Currently about $1,500 per month.  That's down a bit from 12 months ago (except for the fundraiser which is a bit of an anomoly), but up from the first year or so of the site's life.

Total amount cashed out by members over last 4 years: About $20,000. This represents money that has left the site and gone to individuals via paypal mainly.

Total amount explicitly donated by users into the site fund over last 4 years: About $13,000.  This represents money explicitly marked by donors as going to the site fund -- it doesn't include donations that are never earmarked and should by default go into the site fund eventually.

Total donationcredits given by one person to another over last 4 years: About $38,000.  Note that the way this works is that the same virtual dollar can go back and forth between several people multiple times.  Read more about this idea in the article I wrote about DC here.

Site Expenses: I'd say with web hosting, server administration, gifts and stuff, maybe about $600 per month currently.



Now a quick word about the history of the site, donationcredits, and site fund stuff.. When I started the site in 2005 it was just me and my software for the first year or so, and I pretty much devoted myself to the site (much to the harm of my education but that's another story); I never had an expectation that much money would be coming in and the site was basically run as a hobby.

At the end of the first year we discussed and implemented this idea of DonationCredits, where when people donated they could decide if they wanted to give their money specifically to certain people on the site to support their work.  Initially the idea was to give each person 50% of their donation in credits to give to others, and keep 50% for site expenses.

Eventually it became clear that a good number of people (probably well over half) had little interest in participating in this donationcredits thing -- they were donating because in order to get a license key for one of the big programs on the site, and didn't want to be bothered with the rest.  And then on the other hand, we had the hardcore forum members who enjoyed giving out credits to one another and cared about thanking those they wanted to thank.

So the decision was made to simply give everyone full control over their donation in the form of donationcredits, which they could give to anyone they want, and simply say that if someone donates and never uses their donationcredits for a year or so, they will revert to the site fund. See more: here.

I think in practice this has led to the best of both worlds -- those who care can allocate their donation exactly the way they want; those who are not interested in that or who have just donated in order to get a license key don't have to do anything.

Because of the high number of donors who never use their donationcredits, I also try to give out some of the site fund money to people on the site occasionally in recognition of the fact that so many people donate into the site and never allocate their donationcredits to a specific person (full disclosure -- this includes myself, as i have spend a good part of the last 4 years devoting myself to the site, i hope people don't think that is unreasonable). It's actually very hard to figure out how much to send to different people -- because if everyone was receiving the financial reward they deserve, or getting paid what they would if this were a real job, we'd have people earning full time salaries.. So no one participating on DC receives anywhere near a "fair" financial compensation for their time, but then I guess everyone knew that already, and their are other rewards associated with participating on the site that make up for that.

Hope that info is informative/useful/interesting -- what else is there to say but.. the experiment continues!



ps. I've also posted the results of the first donationcoder survey publicly on this thread, which might provide yet another numerical window into the site: here.
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gexecuter
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« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2009, 06:18:46 PM »

Thanks for the info Mouser!   Thmbsup
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f0dder
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[Well, THAT escalated quickly!]

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« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2009, 06:31:52 PM »

Thmbsup
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- carpe noctem
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« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2009, 06:47:53 PM »

Thanx for the info and the system that is place is generous and better than fair in my opinion.

Made me laugh when I saw Mac got 5.8% of 5
Highest percentage is 40-50 year old? interesting smiley
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mouser
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« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2009, 07:03:33 PM »

rgdot: Let's discuss survey stuff on survey thread!
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rgdot
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« Reply #21 on: April 12, 2009, 07:27:01 PM »

Sorry about that, feel free to delete my posts to keep this thread clean and ontopic
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nudone
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« Reply #22 on: April 13, 2009, 04:25:59 AM »

marvellous. looks like a very successful experiment to me. roll on the next four years.
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housetier
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« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2009, 05:40:40 AM »

I am very glad it went so well.  cheesy cheesy

DonationCoder and c-base make two projects I wish I could support more financially. I am already doing as much as I can personall, non-financially smiley

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sazzen
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« Reply #24 on: April 25, 2009, 09:23:05 AM »

Interesting.

This site works just the way I've always wanted our tax system to operate. In my little fantasy world, "We, the people", choose where our $ are spent. 

Mouser for President!
« Last Edit: April 25, 2009, 09:24:36 AM by sazzen » Logged
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