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March 2009 Fundraiser Wrap-up

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I can understand why people would be curious about such things.. I'll go through the records and post numbers this weekend.

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.

Thanks for the info Mouser!   :Thmbsup:


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 :)


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