Fundraising 101 (or "Free as in Freedom So Who Pays for the Beer?")

Location: E146
Average rating: ****.
(4.60, 5 ratings)

Free and Open Source software may be largely created and maintained by the passion of volunteers, but projects still need funds to pay for things like bandwidth, hardware and the all important tee-shirts. Asking for money is hard – and taking it can be a lot more complicated than you might think. This talk covers the basics of sourcing financial support for your project.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Types of potential sponsors
  • Big or small: deciding on a strategy
  • How to find them
  • What do sponsors want to buy – and what are you prepared to sell?
  • Are “bounties” or per-feature fundraisers ever a good idea?
  • How to “make the ask” – and how not to
  • Other kinds of donations to consider
  • The devil is in the details, aka paperwork & time management
  • Some ideas on how to accept funds
  • Does your project need to have a Foundation?
  • Special considerations for events
  • Pitfalls to avoid

Participants in this session should walk out with the information they need to develop at least the outline of a fund-raising plan for your project.

Photo of Cat Allman

Cat Allman


Cat Allman is an open source outreach manager at Google, where she works on Google Summer of Code, Google Code-in, and other programs to increase participation in open source. She’s been involved with the free and open source community since the mid-1980s, including stints at Mt Xinu, Sendmail, Inc, and USENIX. She’s also a coorganizer of the annual Science Foo Camp un-conference and a board member of the USENIX Association. Cat has spoken at conferences including LinuxTag, BSDCan, SCALE, OSCON, SELF, SIGCSE, LCA, OSDC, the GoOpen Arctic Forum, and the Ohio Linux Fest and was recently a keynote speaker at FOSSASIA 2014. She cochaired and moderated the first open source track at the 2010 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.

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Picture of Cat Allman
Cat Allman
07/29/2011 5:16am PDT

The slides are up :-) Thanks again for coming.