Put your money where your mouse is

“If you found this program useful, please consider making a donation.”

You’ve probably seen those words quite a bit on software that you use.  I have too.  But it struck me a little while ago how much what we at White October do relies on hard work done by others for free in their spare time.

Given that, we decided to give something back.

This particular initiative wasn’t about getting onboard with big software projects that require hefty donations or corporate sponsorship, although that’s something we should think more about in future.  Rather, we wanted to direct our thanks to the small army of developers who give up their weekends on single-dev or small-team side projects that are really, really useful!

Here’s what we did:

First, we created a list of candidate projects for donations, with everyone in the office being asked to add items.  It wasn’t just a list for developers – we all use software!  Duplicate items on the list were allowed, as that was a way of showing which projects were used more.

We then picked three projects at random from the list, sought out their donations page and sent them a small donation from White October!

It was only a little gesture, but hopefully went some way towards showing the developers in question that we’re grateful for their hard work!  And it’s something that we’re hoping to repeat every year.

So who got the cash?  Well, those picked out of the hat were:

Thank you all for making our working life better!

There were also plenty of other projects suggested too, of course.  And we’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to them: Thank you behat, Bower, Composer, Doctrine, Font Awesome, Gaufrette, Homebrew, PHPOffice, PHPUnit and xdebug!

(These are just the candidates for donations that we came up with.  You can see more of the tech we use here.)

Challenges for next time include how to increase employee participation in compiling the list, and we’re thinking about increasing the amount we donate too.  And of course we also want to think about how we can support the software development community more generally.  But for now, we’re enjoying that warm fuzzy glow which comes from saying thank you and from donating money!

Has your organisation tried anything similar?  Let us know in the comments!

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