Today is a big day for the #d8rules initiative! Our crowd funding campaign was successfully funded and reached 100 % on Drupalfund. We really want to thank all you great 137+ supporters from the community: together you made this happen. Fago & klausi may continue with the progress that has been made already for porting Rules to Drupal 8 now and we are looking forward to gather additional funds in order to make sure that all 3 milestones can be reached in time!
Why collect funds in the first place?
Before Drupal Dev Days Szeged, fago & me decided to collect funds for porting Rules to Drupal 8 because of the following reasons:
- We felt there is a need for Rules in Drupal 8
- Fago doesn't have enough free time because he runs drunomics, works on the Entity initiative for Drupal 8 and maintains several high-profile modules in Drupal 7 already
- We felt that Rules should be ported as soon as possible, so that other contrib modules can have their integrations ported and we can fix some Drupal 8 issues like Conditions API & a Ctools-like Context system that is also required for the layouts initiative
- As much as we love working on client projects, developing modules and giving back to the community on a large scale as with the Rules module is definitely something that we are passionate about
So how did that all work out? Didn't think that crowd funding in Drupal was possible?
To be honest, we really underestimated the effort required to run this whole campaign. I stopped counting hours at some point, but I can assure that there were several hundreds of hours invested mostly from our free time to assure that everything is set up properly. So here's a wrap-up of how we did it, and be assured we have learned some lessons on the way :)
Setting up a project plan & defining our mission of course was critical in the beginning. That's probably something that you already do for your regular projects, so nothing really special in here. The only difference is that you don't know where your budget will come from.
- Estimated hours: 1048
- Community rate: € 45 / hour (drunomics and epiqo agreed to let fago & klausi work on Rules for the self-costs)
- Milestone 1: € 13,500 (~ $ 18,600)
- Milestone 2: € 15,660 (~ $ 21,600)
- Milestone 3: € 18,000 (~ $ 24,815)
- Total goal: € 47,160 (~ $ 65,000)
For a regular Drupal project that is probably a medium-sized budget, but for collecting funds that goal felt pretty ambitious. Before the #d8rules initiative, the projects funded via Drupalfund were $ 2400 maximum.
This is why we decided to go for both corporate and crowd funding:
Corporate funding vs. Crowd funding
We didn't want to loose much money on benefits so we tried to keep them focused at marketing (logos in different sizes on the website and other forms of saying thank you).
For the Drupalfund, we were able to add a physical incentive which seems to have motivated quite some people to donate:
The #d8rules Ruler was sold out a few days before ending the campaign and rumors are that Laserbox has created a second limited yellow edition for those who pledge last minute on the Drupalfund :)
In general, we tried to find sponsor package / perk names that encourage people to identify with supporting the project and which are directly related to the Rules module such as "Event dispatcher", "Batch processor" or "Data selection guru".
Calculating perks & a financial insight
Fees include Drupalfund platform (7,5 %), Paypal (3,5 %), Currency conversion USD to EUR (2 %) and VAT (20 %). This was a bit scary at the beginning, so we offer invoices for all donations $ 35+ in order to remove the VAT burden. Based on those fees, we put together estimations of how many perks we have to sell in order to achieve the goal: The plan was $ 10 x 70, $ 20 x 60, $ 30 x 60, $ 65 x 50, $ 90 x 50, $ 150 x 15, $ 270 x 5 which is a total of 310 people who pledge.
Let's have a look at what we got: 137+ people pledged as of June 11, 3pm CEST and the distribution is a bit different than expected:
Actually more people pledged larger amounts of money and within the $ 649+ range there are some pretty large donations which helped the fund succeed at the very end.
Picking a crowd funding platform
We evaluated Kickstarter, Indiegogo & Drupalfund as three possible options to do the crowd funding. Kickstarter was too complicated to set up, because you need a legal entity in the US / UK. Indiegogo was tempting because it is quite established, has lower fees, offers a smoother user experience, you can do EUR or USD funding and choose between fixed or flexible funding models. On the other hand, we really liked the idea of Drupalfund becoming a role model for the Drupal community and felt like going with another platform would be counter-productive from a community standpoint.
Thanks to the great support from the Drupalfund team, setting up the campaign website was pretty easy. We could get some small usability enhancements in (you can now click on perks to donate) and they were very supportive throughout the whole campaign by promoting us on their blog for example.
So I think we picked the right trade-off in terms of choosing a funding platform and have shown that you may also run larger campaigns on Drupalfund. Still keep in mind that without those $649+ donations our campaign would probably have failed due to a lack of momentum around DrupalCon.
Generating & keeping momentum
Having the right momentum at the right time, I guess, is the hardest with setting up any campaign. Especially if you are asking for money, you'll need to bring people to your side. Luckily, we had lots of supporters from the community already: the Rules module has more than 200,000 reported installations and fago is well known all around Drupal.
I used the buffer app to constantly schedule tweets for the d8rules twitter account. Of course using an easy and positive hashtag such as #d8rules helped a lot.
I also think that the Rules logo redesign by Nico Grienauer substancially supported the campaign.
Rules logo with #d8rules hashtag icon by Nico Grienauer
Every campagin needs a video
Thanks to the great support from 11 Drupal community members at Drupal Dev Days, we were able to get some user voices captured which we then included in our campaign video. Dominik Kiss spontaneously offered to shoot and edit the video and I'm really thankful for the great work he did on a volunteer basis within the short time constraints of one week before launching the campaign on Drupalfund!
#d8rules video on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEH291mq48Y
Are we there yet?
Our colleague Max Mikus spontaneously offered to created some handcrafted indicators that visualize the funding process of #d8rules: The Drupalfund sucessfully filled up 50% of Milestone 1 but we still need more Sponsors to get there:
And then, Milestones 2 and 3 obviously would also be great to get funded.
But for now, we'd like to say thank you to everyone who believed in our project and pledged on the Drupalfund. It's awesome to see how many have supported us on the way either by donating, spreading the word and even offering volunteer help. Also note that there are already 10 contributors to the Rules 8.x repository on GitHub.
Let's have a discussion about: What's next for #d8rules and crowd funding in Drupal?
We will keep working, developing Rules 8.x based on the funds and limited free time that we have. I guess we have pushed the boundaries for crowd funding in Drupal a bit further, but there are also several questions to be discussed and resolved along the way:
- How can we make contributing to Drupal more sustainable?
- Is crowd funding a valid approach to gather funds?
- How can we better attract non-contributors to fund and donate?
Specifically for #d8rules, the next questions are:
- How can we get Milestones 1-3 fully funded?
- How can we attract large organisations to fund Rules in Drupal 8?
- Should we do another round of crowd funding and how can we attract a wider audience?
- Help Fund Views In Core (May 2012)
- Funding Drupal Core Development podcast (May 2013)
- Funding Needs in the Community: Mid May 2014: #d8rules, DrupalCon Austin Mentors, Drupal Core Gittip Team
- Highlight Gittip, Flattr, Paypal or Whatever Opportunities on Issue Pages
- Create a mechanism for modules to announce funding campaigns through the Update module
I would love to hear your feedback on the campaign. Asking for money in an open source world is tricky some times, but at least for the people I know: when we graduate from university we tend to have less time for contribution and spend more on client projects. Finding the right balance between contributing in the job is something that we always strive for at drunomics, but for huge initatives like porting Rules to Drupal 8, we really would love to get your input on how that should be accomplished.