[darcs-users] fundraising

Eric Kow kowey at darcs.net
Mon Feb 2 22:19:02 UTC 2009

Hi everyone,

As you know, we have been working on joining the Software Freedom
Conservancy.  Joining the SFC makes it easier for us to raise funds and
to hold assets (such as the darcs.net domain name, which is currently
owned by David).

I think most of us here would agree that having access to money is a
good thing.  But before we launch into any fundraising campaigns, I
wanted to make sure that we as a community, come to some sort of rough
consensus about (a) what are acceptable ways for us to raise this money
and (b) how uses we should make of it.

Context: the Day Job Problem
At the risk of over-steering, I would like to suggest a bit of
context for this discussion.  Since August 2008, when I started becoming
more active in the darcs community, I have been very interested in
solving what I call the Day Job Problem, which simply the fact that
while we have loads of things we want to do with darcs, most of us are
busy trying to fulfill our other commitments.

How can we get the time to work on darcs?
The four anwsers I can see so far are to

 (a) increase the number of darcs developers

 (b) allocate tasks and decision-making roles more efficiently

 (c) concentrate small shards of time into useful bursts (sprints)

 (d) increase the availability of the darcs developers
     (e.g. 20% time, see below)

So my interest in fundraising is ultimately about buying time, directly
or otherwise.  But how exactly should we go about it?

Raising funds
Is there anything about the following ideas that anybody finds
objectionable?  What would be the most effective approach?
What other ideas do you have?

- Sponsors page.  Would folks here object to a sponsors page on darcs.net?
  How should this be set up?

  If we do have a sponsors page, I would like to offer the University of
  Brighton to put their logo on it. The University are effectively
  subsiding darcs development, as they have agreed to have me spend 20%
  of my time working on darcs, as opposed to my normal research.

- Fundraising drives? This is National Public Revision Control.
  Please give us your money.

- Donation button on the home page?

- Selling t-shirts, mugs, cookies, books?

Spending them!
What kinds of things should we be spending money on?  Are there any
essential services that we need to secure, for example?  Any devious
schemes, perhaps involving an unspecified number of sharks, lasers
and pieces of twine?

Ideas I have are

- Hardware? hosting? any essential services that we need to secure?

- Prizes for contests? It's great that the Real World Haskell
  authors are willing to donate a copy for a darcs hacking
  contest.  Are there other kinds of prizes we could put together?
  We would likely want to keep the prizes small, though, as prestige
  and fun may be better motivators for these contests than prizes.

- Paying for travel and accomodation to sprints.  We could either
  try to spread money evenly, or try to subsidise those that have
  to go the furthest.

- Hiring talent we don't have access to (for example, our current
  logo was put together by a paid professional)

- Marketing: perhaps not the right time for this

- Bounties: I doubt that bounties work, but maybe in the right
  contexts, and with some creative twists, we can make them work

- Hiring developers: if we manage to raise lots of money, could
  we find a way to get some paid darcs hacking done?

Maybe one way we can break things down is by the amounts we can raise.
What could we do with $500?  $1000? $5000? $10000? $50000?.

Dream big, dream small!  Advice wanted!

Eric Kow <http://www.nltg.brighton.ac.uk/home/Eric.Kow>
PGP Key ID: 08AC04F9
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