Share: Sponsorship Vs. Volunteers Drupal Development/ Fundraising/ Learning from Others

I wasn’t sure where to post this. If in the wrong place, do let me know.

When I finished reading a Drupal roundup comparing volunteers to sponsors, I thought it was worth a read by folks here. I further added to this information on how Drupal’s growth was financed and how people were initially motivated to donate (at the end). Good stuff which might inspire.

source for developers/sponsored data:

** More than 100 companies contribute to Drupal; the top 30 are Drupal companies; the top 30 do most of the contributing

**Universities are contributors

**Sponsored contributions are growing faster than volunteer contributions, while the latter continue to grow and remain important

**While Drupal started out as a 100% volunteer-driven project, today the majority of the code on is sponsored by organizations.

**The top four countries that contribute: United States, India, UK, Canada, in that order with US #1

**Motivators: Drupal Credits are a powerful motivator for both individuals and organizations. Accumulating credits provides individuals with a way to showcase their expertise. Organizations can utilize credits to help recruit developers, to increase their visibility within the marketplace, or to showcase their Drupal expertise


** Dries believes “the GPL license has been critical to Drupal’s success. The GPL fundamentally encourages people to share. Sharing leads to collaboration, which turns into community. There are many other open source licenses, but they don’t necessarily all encourage the same kind of sharing.”

** Drupal is different in that it is “Drupal is a community of passionate people” (I so agree – and so seems CP. The latter is a USP that should, imho, be played up in promotions)

** Aquia, started by Dries in 2008, is now the main revenue source for Drupal. It provides support and cloud services.Aquia does not own Drupal. “I run the project and make decisions in a way that allows anybody to be involved.” Dries contract with Aquia states: "we all agree that I’ll make decisions in what’s right for Drupal even if it might cause Acquia problems" (How’s that for awesome!)

** Financing growth of Drupal: “I’m a dev for a major nonprofit that uses Drupal. We pay developers to help us get our own sites in order. In turn, the work that gets done for us usually gets pushed back to the community. SonyBMG, for example, pays a Drupal develper whose work is likely on every Drupal site that exists.”

** More on financing: Google does have an open source program where they finance about a thousand bright young people, called Google Summer of Code. Drupal participates – 20 youth work summers on Drupal.

** Before Aquia, the Drupal Association created membership benefits packages, different levels for donors, a special fund for “Promote Drupal,” sponsorship of annual conference and more that provided the fiat needed to run and grow Drupal. Here’s the current page displaying the giving opportunities and levels: (Start this at a basic level. Who can offer a service to give back to donors? )


My long term vision for ClassicPress is that we won’t need donations. Although we’re a not-for-profit, we can still create revenue streams that aren’t in conflict with our democratic structure or put us in a position where there is a conflict of interest.

Ultimately, I want ClassicPress to be a successful business that will funnel all “profits” into serving the community.

By being self-sustaining we won’t be in a position where we rely on a big donor (which could cause a conflict of interest).

That’s not to say we won’t have sponsors for specific things (such as events), but we should never have to need them.


I agree 100% on this. As I’ve said before, there are many ways to create revenue. Some of them could be:

Simply charging a monthly subscription fee for CP. I’d gladly pay a reasonable amount per month to know my older and legacy WP sites will be safe and secure and editable in lieu of Gutenberg. It’s no different in theory from the army of WP hobbyists who will be fixing Gutenberg-jacked sites in the near future. I already see more and more developers advertising themselves as Gutenberg “fixers” and offering Gutenberg services. They see the writing on the wall. What’s the sweet spot amount tentatively? Calendly is $15 per month. Canva is $12. Kanbanflow is $5.

Another option is premium support

Premium plugins in a CP repository (much more work to be sure)

A CP “magazine” or ad supported presence

CP themes/layouts

A la carte CP services offered

And so on…

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