Drupal Association Guest Blog: Drupal Crowd-Funding Success!



June 08, 2013

We did it! The Drupal community raised $5k to bring Vincenzo Rubano to DrupalCon Portland. This is an amazing accomplishment that demonstrates that crowdsourcing to support the Drupal community can work very well.  Although it's been an idea that's been brewing for a while, we've been doing all that we could to bring Vincenzo to a DrupalCon.

Vincenzo is a blind Italian student who is just finishing high-school.  In the fall he started contributing enhancements to Drupal 8. As a screen reader user, he has been able to identify & test problems and effectively communicate them through the issue queue.  He has personally done quite a lot to ensure that Drupal 8 is no less accessible than Drupal 7.  In the time he's been working in the issue queue he's started to contribute patches & do code reviews and take on other responsibilities for ensuring that the code meets community standards.

I know that by travelling to Portland Vincenzo will get an opportunity to meet hundreds of people that he might otherwise only get to meet online.  There will be opportunities to talk about the difficulties of trying to implement for accessibility, while preserving usability & performance requirements.  It will really help Vincenzo understand how to contribute better, but also personalize accessibility for the Drupal community.  

Bringing Vincenzo is going to be really important for helping the Drupal community achieve it's accessibility goals, but it does occur to me that as a community we could be doing more to help support the next generation of developers for other critical bits of Drupal.  We need to find new ways to nurture young people who are interested in being involved in open source communities like ours.  

With Vincenzo we missed the deadline for the scholarship applications, and it’s great that the Drupal Association is helping to make it easier for more people to come to DrupalCon, but  this demonstrates that the community can work together to do even more.  

More than 85 people gave more than $5000 to the campaign in just over 2 weeks.  The smallest donation was $3, and the largest $1000 (made by a Drupal freelancer).  Over half of the participants gave US $25 or less.  The most common donation was for $50.  The list of Indiegogo donors is available, but it doesn’t include the money collected in their local community by the Drupal Bangalore group or the municipality of Surbo where Vincenzo lives.

It was interesting to see that a couple companies had internal advocates who were encouraging individual donations.

The vast majority of people who contributed had Drupal.org accounts.  There were some people who contributed from the accessibility community, but not that many.  Most of the contributors were male.  There was really a great global representation of people who contributed.  

Using tools like Indiegogo.com & Kickstarter.com can be used a lot more to help fund-raise for different initiatives.  However, Drupal users & developers needs to get in the habit of contributing to these initiatives. Everyone using Drupal needs to remember that they are getting over 14 million dollars worth of software for free (just in Core).

Open source allows for a variety of ways to support the developers. Some developers have opted to putting up Wish-lists on Amazon of things that others could purchase to help demonstrate their appreciation.  I've been using http://flattr.com for the last year & been trying to pass along thanks through small micro-donations to those individuals who have helped me.  

There are still hundreds of modules that haven't been upgraded from D6 to D7 & over 1000 that are listed as seeking co-maintainer(s) and over 300 modules are seeking a new maintainer.

Building a module can be fun, often there's a client to pay for it, but rarely is there a client who is willing to pay for regular maintenance, support & documentation tasks that usually fill up an issue queue.  

There is a great deal of power in this community. This software is driving 2% of the Internet, and that's pretty huge. We need to continue to explore new ways of ensuring that those individuals who are continuing to push Drupal are given support to help them keep on doing the work they are doing.

Originally posted on the Drupal Association site durring DrupalCon.

About The Author

Mike Gifford is the founder of OpenConcept Consulting Inc, which he started in 1999. Since then, he has been particularly active in developing and extending open source content management systems to allow people to get closer to their content. Before starting OpenConcept, Mike had worked for a number of national NGOs including Oxfam Canada and Friends of the Earth.