Free Software Developer Self-Finance Guide

Original author: Patrick "tyil" Spek
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The author of the article is Patrick "tyil" Speck.

In the hope of helping other developers who are trying to find sources of financing on their own, I post this article with a description of my experience. This is a living document! If you have add-ons, send your comments on each platform and links to other interesting platforms that I missed.

Let's list platforms with support for recurring donations. This is the most convenient way to ensure a stable income.



  • Requires a third-party JavaScript script on Cloudflare hosting to work.

BountySource allows people to set rewards for certain tickets open on GitHub. Once you have closed the ticket, you can receive the accumulated “reward”. Such a system also helps determine which problem to work on in the first place, and it increases the interest of “sponsors” in the project.

There is also BountySource Salt - a recurring donation platform. Through it, projects or teams receive monthly payments to finance their projects.

Support for the platform works on the IRC channel #bountysourceon Freenode .

The BountySource platform itself is an example of free software, its source code is published on GitHub .


Liberapay service looks free as in the word "freedom". He also publishes the source code on GitHub . Their own financing is organized through donations on their own platform, and not through a commission from other people's donations, as most other services do.

You can connect your other accounts to LiberaPay. Although the feature is quite standard, it is supported by programmer sites that talk about you as a developer, such as GitHub, GitLab, and BitBucket. You can connect another Mastodon account, if you have one.

To tell people that you accept donations through LiberaPay, select one of the available widgets. These are the Donate buttons with a link to your profile. Please note that these are not regular HTML buttons or a well-implemented anchor tag, but a JavaScript button.

Another drawback of LiberaPay is the lack of a level system for sponsors, which is on most other platforms and gives certain privileges to “donors”.


  • Requires jQuery to work on third-party hosting.
  • To register a new account, you need to solve the Google reCaptcha captcha.

The primary audience for MakerSupport is content creators. They need freedom of speech like no other. The platform is not particularly aimed at software developers, since you cannot associate an account with any of the major Git code hosting platforms.

Here you can set “levels” for donors; This is a convenient way to provide them with additional benefits and incentives for support. In the case of STRs, such benefits may be something like privileged access to the developer for support.

Unfortunately, registration does not work as smoothly as on other platforms. My favorite nick tyil turned out to be too short. There are no indicators about the necessary requirements - after submitting the form you are simply shown a pop-up window with a notification of failed registration.

In addition, third-party JavaScript is required for the registration form to work, and Google reCaptcha must be solved so that the submit button appears. Since uMatrix works in my browser, I had to spend additional time setting permissions.

Setting a photo in a profile is also difficult. Firstly, again because of uMatrix, third-party XHR requests are blocked (in this case, to Amazon). Secondly, they again have not very friendly error reporting when loading an image in the “wrong” format, since neither the cause of the error nor which formats are allowed are reported.

  • Apparently, they check the extensions of the downloaded files. As I understand it, images in .jpg and .png formats are allowed.


  • Requires a third-party JavaScript script on Cloudflare hosting to work.
  • To register a new account, you need to solve the Google reCaptcha captcha.

Patreon is probably the most famous donation funding platform to date. Popularity is good because it potentially increases the number of sponsors.

At Patreon, you set what are called “goals.” I did not find such a function on any other platform. Each goal corresponds to a certain amount of funding and reward for the participants. So you can inform the sponsors that you will create certain content when the funding goal is reached. In fact, you show them what the money will be spent on.

Another interesting option that I have not seen on other platforms is the ability to withdraw payments from donors upon the creation of content, rather than monthly. Although this is not very suitable for software developers (unless you want to receive payments for each commit), this is an interesting and rather unique feature. If you publish a lot of guides, guides, or other articles, then you might like this.

Like on other platforms, links to other services are attached to the account, but here it seems that only proprietary social networks are supported.

(Not) worthy of mention


I mention Hatreon because I saw IRC talking about him. But this is nothing more than a joke that has gone too far. The main reason for the existence of Hatreon, apparently - is to get rid of the political correctness that was present on previous crowdfunding platforms. Registration is by invitation only, so even if you are interested, you will not be able to use the service. It seems that money transfers also have not been working for at least 10 days.

That is not all

It’s not enough just to register an account on the financing platform. More effort is required to maintain a healthy and happy sponsor base.

Disseminate information about your work

You write articles or release new software releases, no matter what you do - tell the world about it. If no one knows about your project, then they will not be able to encourage you in any way for it. Use social media, open forums, mailing lists, whatever! Tell us about what you have done, why it is useful, and how people can use it to improve their digital life.

  • Of course, you should not spam on sites of inappropriate topics. So you get only negative feedback.

Use the reward system

On platforms that support the sponsor reward system - use it. There are all sorts of little buns that can mean a lot to your sponsors. For example, you can come up with badges for donors who donate a certain amount. These icons are relatively easy to make, and many people like these things.

Another idea that sponsors often like is the opportunity to personally speak with the person they support financially. This can be done on a private IRC channel for sponsors. You can use another platform, but most software developers already use IRC and there are few alternative options for real-time communication.

Do not get attached to a single platform

There are many platforms, use it all! They differ in the user base, so you can reach new people if you give them the opportunity to choose a platform.

Let people know that you accept their donations

If no one knows that you accept donations, then with a high degree of probability you will not receive anything. Or if it’s too difficult to donate to you, people simply won’t waste their time figuring out how to do it. Make sure that the fact of receiving donations is clearly visible, as well as the methods of transfer.

Show what you do for the money

A page with information about what exactly you do with the funds received. These may be simple facts, such as the fact that you pay for renting an apartment and buying food. Most donors are not too concerned about what exactly you do with their money, but some appreciate it when such information is published.

You can simply add a link to the site /donatewhere donation methods are explained and where the funds go.

  • But do not turn the page into something similar to advertising, otherwise you will surely get the opposite effect.

Additional Information

There are more resources with tips on funding work on STRs. I will list some of them.

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