Using Funds Directly

Wondering how best to spend your project's funds? Here are some short-term, actionable ideas

We get a peek at how lots of open source communities power up their projects with financial resources. Depending on the shape, scale, and sort of project you're running, here are some ideas.

Improve the developer experience

Resource a fixed amount of time regularly to go through issues and pull requests. A clean house is an inviting environment for more contributors.

Buy some test devices

Older model phones or tablets can help optimize code for different user experiences.

Thank people for significant work

If someone delivers a valuable piece of work, you can thank them with money or a gift.

Contract developer time

Break the tradeoff between taking paid consulting work and spending time on your project. Pre-committing a chunk of time makes it easier to complete long-term goals.

Community facilitation

Community support, onboarding, discussion moderation, answering newbie questions.

Support dependencies

Donate upstream and downstream, because we're all in the open source ecosystem together.


Make your software and website visually stunning and level up the UX snd brand.


Help guides, how to contribute, roadmaps, FAQs. Good documentation makes for a good open source.

Come together

Pandemics permitting, meeting in person can really elevate your community to the next level. You can have rich discussions, build relationships, and put faces to the online names. If you can't meet in person, try an online conference or team retreat.

Spend money to make money. Resource the time and attention it takes to interface with companies who use your tool and make major funding happen.


Unlock bigger funding tiers with offerings like VIP support, ethical advertising deals, and paid services on top of your open source project. Developing these kinds of products takes time and effort.

Swag is a jumping-off point for people to tell their friends about your project (“Hey, what’s that sticker on your laptop?”), and a fun way to build a sense of identity.

Encourage contributors to give conference talks

Help cover costs to get them there if it's in-person, or cover their hours prepping their online presentation.

Inclusion & diversity

For all kinds of reasons, some people will face more barriers to getting involved — but we all win when different kinds of contributors are welcome. It could be mentoring and education, creating a code of conduct, donating to local charities, offering childcare at events, or doing outreach into new communities.

Newsletter and blog

Comms is an important but sometimes overlooked skill in open source. Think about resourcing time to send Updates via your Collective, blog about your project, or build out your mailing list.

And read this blog post: Has Your Open Source Community Raised Money? Here’s How to Spend It.

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