Open Source Origins
The open source movement has undeniably been a success. What was once a niche method of distributing code has found massive monetary and philosophical success through the medium of the internet.
From the operating system Linux, to the full-stack web framework Next.js, web technologies have been proving the utility of freely distributed code for decades.
In the realm of open source projects, there are two primary methods of funding development costs.
The first path to economic sustainability is funding, usually via venture capital. Companies like Vercel and Penpot have found great success going this route, with Vercel currently being valued at over $2.5 billion.
However, this method of raising funds requires intense time dedication, marketing knowledge, and the desire to grow an open source project into a full company.
Open Source Struggles
Alternatively, the majority of open source maintainers must attempt to crowd fund or market and sell their projects on their own. Organically raising funds is difficult, especially for a new maintainer without a robust network of users and other devs.
Many open source devs already work grueling hours at little to no pay, diligently closing GitHub issues and reviewing pull requests. They don’t necessarily have the time to set up landing pages and social media accounts for their projects.
The benefit of this model is that the most popular projects can easily find funding via network effects. Tailwind CSS, which is our preferred CSS framework at Monogram, is one such example.
Donations as a Service
Funding open source projects without VC or corporate funding is still a relatively new endeavor. As a result, a number of tools like OpenCollective have emerged to make things easier for maintainers and donors alike.
With OpenCollective, maintainers can generate splash pages, collect donations, track a leaderboard of the top donators, and publicly display how donated funds used.
Monogram + OpenCollective
OpenCollective allows Monogram to support open source projects that we frequently use both internally and with clients.
By using OpenCollective, Monogram can be sure that the tools we love and use every day will continue to improve and be maintained for years to come.
We are continuously looking to test and adopt new technologies that fit our stack. When we see an open source project that utilizes OpenCollective to pay it’s maintainers, we know that the project will be around (and bug-free) for the foreseeable future.
Monogram is proud to be a financial backer of two of the most important up-and-coming UI frameworks: Svelte and Astro.
Svelte has been rated in the top 3 most-loved web frameworks for years.
Svelte: Progress Without Funding
Svelte is a great case study for the potential of open source development. The community has maintained a breakneck speed of development for over 4 years without any funding whatsoever.
This shows the power of open sourcing a project that developers love, enabling anyone with enough passion to contribute in some way.
How to Donate to the Projects You Love
If you want to donate to your favorite open source project, you can search for it on the OpenCollective website. If the project you’re looking for isn’t on OpenCollective yet, you can always ask the maintainers to see if they’re interested in joining!
If you’re a maintainer yourself, you can sign up and see the (very reasonable) fees here: https://opencollective.com/pricing.