Donation changes

By: Juan Linietsky Jul 08, 2020

Status

The project situation changed a lot for the better in the past few months, with a steady growth in the amount of users and contributors, and a nice boost to our funding situation thanks to an Epic MegaGrant which will cover my (Juan) and George's work for the next two years, freeing donation funds for new purposes. Therefore, we discussed with core contributors that this is a good time to change how the project manages donations, and give our whole crowdfunding a much-needed update.

Goals changed

We are no longer going to have named goals with contributor names. This became a problem for us because contributors may not be immediately available, their situation may suddenly change, or they may not want to have their name listed to avoid conflicts with their current employers. Likewise, we may also wait a bit to hire after reaching a goal, to ensure we have enough savings to give the new paid contributor peace of mind that we can guarantee at least one year of employment. And finally, since some of us have their pay covered through external funding which is not reflected on Patreon (Epic MegaGrant, grants and corporate sponsoring), the Patreon goals did not reflect our current payroll.

Similar to how Blender is now doing, we will be changing goals to increments of USD 5000 for every contributor that we plan to hire. In the end, some contributors may be paid more or less depending on their experience, responsibility, contract length, amount of work hours, etc. This number will only reflect an average and we may eventually modify it according to our ongoing experience. Also keep in mind that Conservancy as a charity keeps 10% of all donations for operating costs (and in exchange, as any charity of this type, they ensure transparency in usage of funds and provide accounting, legal and fiscal services to the project), so this number does not accurately represent what individual contributors will be paid.

Profiles

In May, we had a first budget meeting with core contributors to discuss what future work we want to fund using project donations, be it full-time contracts for area maintainers or project-specific work packages. Some of those will be covered by funds which we already accumulated from previous months of excess funding, while others are dependent on reach a sustainable level of monthly income through Patreon and corporate sponsorship.

Listing the names of the contributors who we intend to hire is difficult for the reasons mentioned before, but we will instead post the profiles of those who we are looking forward to hire. If you want to guess who the person may be from there on it's up to you :) So far, the profiles we will be putting up will be:

  • General usability, 2D editor, website
  • Contributor for networking, HTML5
  • Mono/C#, GDNative
  • Junior rendering contributor
  • VR/AR/Mobile rendering contributor
  • More contributors

Again, keep in mind we will only hire contributors who have proven to be of enormous value to the project over the years. If we can't find contributors for a specific area, we will most likely not open the position. We prefer to keep the donations until someone who can make the best use of them is available. Once we reach the goal and have cleared all the hurdles of the hire, we will announce who they are. Stay tuned for our next hire announcement soon :)

There may be small exceptions to this, like doing one-time hires for people experienced for specific tasks, like improving documentation, adding RTL support, doing fixes to X11 (which is very difficult to find contributors for due to the extreme complexity), etc.

Tiers

The Patreon tiers and perks will be reworked. They made sense when we were started out with the sole expectation to hire me full-time while allocating some of my time to Patreon perks, but as the project grew exponentially, it became increasingly hard to dedicate time to our complex poll system, and to fit its results in our schedule for the engine, docs and demos. Both Rémi and I moved to positions where we spend most of our time managing other contributors, working on urgent codebase-wide changes, releasing new versions of the engine, etc.

Additionally, we've noticed from the feedback of many patrons that most of you are here to support a project you believe in with your donation, more than for the extra little perks a given tier may provide. As a result, we will reduce the number of tiers for a better overview, and offer rewards that we hope offer some interesting community interaction, while not having too high of a time cost for us.

Also, we'd like to acknowledge the fact that we haven't yet organized any live video Q&A as we promised initially, and we'd like to apologize to patrons who had been pledging while looking forward to that. Yet, we still think that it is a great way to provide the community with insights into Godot development, and now that we have more full-time developers hired or soon-to-be hired, we think it's a good time to start delivering on this old promise.

To help us prepare those live Q&As to be packed with interesting content, we'll propose to the higher Patreon tiers to pre-submit questions or topics that will be discussed by core devs in the Q&A.

Here is our new list of tiers:

  • $5 - Discord role
  • $10 - Your name in the credits
  • $14 - Name further up in the credits
  • $26 - Ability to submit questions or topics to discuss to a monthly Live Q&A
  • $48 - Mini Sponsor: Name on godotengine.org/donate page and in Godot's About dialog
  • $99 - Bronze Sponsor: Name and URL to your site in godotengine.org/donate page and in Godot's About dialog

Important: We removed the $18 and $32 tiers to simplify the lineup, but this means that current patrons at those tiers will be switched to a "No reward" status by Patreon. We encourage patrons at those tiers to update the pledge whenever they see fit to ensure that they select one of the above pledge levels (e.g. $14, $26 or $48). See how to update your Patreon membership.

If you have ideas and feedback of perks and rewards you think could be good for us to offer, please let us know. Note that during a transition period, we'll process those "No reward" pledges manually to attribute them the perks they're due (unless you specifically ask us not to do it).

As you can see, we're adding a "Bronze Sponsor" tier between the pre-existing "Mini Sponsor" and the corporate sponsorships. This was requested several times by patrons here and on Twitter who want to give even more, so here we are!

Corporate sponsoring

We initially had two corporate sponsorship tiers on Patreon for companies to have their logo on our website and (for Platinum) splash screen. As the project grows and our funding needs do too, we're updating this and we'll handle the higher sponsoring tiers (Gold, Platinum) outside Patreon to simplify the p rocess.

Corporate sponsoring categories will change as follows:

  • $500 - Silver Sponsor: Small logo on homepage and name + URL in Godot's About dialog
  • $1500 - Gold Sponsor (outside Patreon, min. 6 months invoice): Small logo (icon size) on splash screen, medium logo on homepage
  • $3000 - Platinum Sponsor (outside Patreon, min. 6 months invoice): Logo + name on splash screen (like now), big logo on homepage

Combined funding sources

We constantly get requests to use alternative funding sources to Patreon and to show our total donation/grant income combined on the Godot website. This requires a significant amount of work and it will be among our priorities when we can hire someone to do this website work (let's hope soon) - in the meantime, Rémi will put together a simple overview and update it regularly to provide more transparency on our budget and current hires.

We'll work on a visualization that properly reflects the different natures of our funding sources, such as one-time grants which provide us for funds for a limited amount of time. Our policy is to always stay cash flow positive (i.e. we get more donation income than we use) - with a few exceptions for occasional project-specific temporary contracts - so this visualization should reflect it.

Thank you!

Finally, thanks so much to all of you, current, former, and future patrons, for your amazing support. When we joined Patreon three years ago, we never imagined reaching such a high level of funding in support of such a rapidly growing project!

Godot is developed by more than a thousand contributors, and coordinating this massive community requires a full-time involvement of several of us (and hopefully soon even more full-timers), which your generosity enables.