I was recently asked by someone about the donations that rfxn.com receives, more specifically what it amounts to. In the interest of answering this person and anyone else who may be curious, I thought I would put together a small post about it.
Firstly, what needs to be said is that although the projects have been active for nearly 8 years and will pass 700,000 downloads sometime in January 2011, I have only been accepting donations since late January of 2006. Around this time, is when rfxn.com had a shift from a for-profit managed services provider which offered our projects as a contribution back to the community, to simply a community site dedicated to the projects as I moved into full-time employment.
In that time, almost 5 years, there has been less than 100 donations to the projects (73 to be exact) or an average of 14 donations per year or little more than 1 per month. The average donation amount is $35 and there are typically only two donations per year totaling more than $100. The yearly donation average is $521 and monthly average is $43. There has only been 3 repeat donors and they donate on average of once every 18 months. The sum of all donations to date since January of 2006 is $2,608 USD, with $73 of that going towards transaction fees.
The context of this is that there are currently 10 maintained projects, comprising 23,706 lines of code, of which the projects receive an average of 8,000 downloads per month. There has been a little over 690k downloads to date and of the projects that access rfxn.com servers regularly we can derive that there is currently at least 24,629 unique IP addresses (servers) running one or more projects (only 3 projects regularly access data on rfxn.com post-install, so that figure is an order of magnitude larger relative to total downloads).
I have recently added a donation roll page that lists every donation to rfxn.com projects to date and a widget on all pages that displays the 5 most recent donations. This is an effort to further acknowledge the minority of individuals that contribute financially to the projects and to be completely transparent about donations. As the above clearly shows, the donations are not a means for survival of the projects let alone a means for me personally to survive, the projects are developed in my spare time between my full-time job and life. This spare-time nature to maintaining the projects has over the years resulted in a fair share of less-than-constructive comments about the projects and frequency of updates, although some of these comments do have merit, in general the projects are mature, stable and have stood the test of time to prove they are relevant just as much today as they were yesterday.
I hope this post has helped to better illustrate the personal commitment I have towards the projects, what (financial) incentives exist surrounding the projects and to provide a clear and transparent account of donations.