Paying for the Plumbing: Snowball initiative for a Drupal crowdfunding platform

mlncn's picture

Ever wanted a place where you could simply offer to pay to get something you need in Drupal done?

Please donate to make that place. (Yes, it's using a different crowdfunding platform, one that really lacks features for coordination, but is passing on all money raised -- if we reach the minimum -- without even deducting credit card fees.)

And spread this link! Is there enough interest in community funding of Drupal software to fund the software to coordinate this-- in just a few days? Also, if you are available to work on this project in DrupalCon Denver, we've got a DrupalCon ticket for you! Or if you're interested in working on this later, contact me for that, too!

You have expressed an interest in Drupal's future in the past, and one* of
my gambits for tilting that for the better has been talking at every Drupal
event since the Chicago Con about building a central, wholly not-for-profit
and transparent gathering space for ideas and needs to gain clarity and gain
the support and resources to become real initiatives.

Please ask anyone who may also think there remains unrealized potential in
our awesome community to register their support with a tax deductible
donation of any amount.

  • Money will only to be collected if the funding goal is reached
  • No credit card processing fees or any transaction fees for the first and
    last time in the history of online fundraising.
  • Funds raised are slated to go to Cameron Eagans (cweagans), becoming well
    known as a clutch community pinch hitter.

Allie Micka, Jer Davis, and Barry Madore of Advantage Labs, R.J. Steinert,
myself and others have already put in significant time into planning a first
version of this, and will continue to work on it. The money requested is
almost symbolic to the task at hand but it will help give us and other
volunteers faith that there are some people in this community who will
donate at all!

If you would like to be kept in the loop for gatherings about Snowball
(tools for getting community initiatives rolling) at DrupalCon and elsewhere
please sign up to -- any e-mail list i send to is
extremely low volume, once or twice a year.

There is at least one DrupalCon ticket available for someone else who would
like to work on Snowball in Denver - or for 'purchase' for contributing to -

Thank you, please share widely!


  • (My other bid for keeping and building on Drupal's community advantage has
    been and trying to put people interested in Drupal on the
    path to contributing.)

P.S. Whether Snowball is a funded project to talk about will in part
determine if i fly off to DrupalCon at a last minute decision.

-- Agaric


Like issue bounties?

patrickd's picture

Sounds interesting, but I'm somehow not sure what effect this could have.
This sounds like moving drupal from do-ocracy to a pay-ocracy.. :>

Sort of. There has always

cweagans's picture

Sort of. There has always been the idea of, "If you want something done, do it yourself or pay somebody to do it for you".

This just facilitates the latter. For some tasks, waiting for somebody to volunteer just isn't reasonable. For instance, take something like upgrading to Drupal 7. It's a HUGE task, and one person isn't going to be able to finish it in a reasonable amount of time.

Cameron Eagans

Group bounty!

doublejosh's picture

I like the idea personally.

Bounties are great --and appropriate-- when a for-profit entity is using a project/module and asks for additional features. Or wants to pay to speed up work on a bug or features. The company I work for has done this and it feels great to give money to a person who has already provided value at no cost already.

This only from comes from one source, and often goes to one dev.
I know there are plenty of examples of sponsoring modules, but I assume that basically means publishing agency work as a module.

Allowing a framework for organizations to commonly request things and create a group bounty to fund work would enable more issues to get solved, more modules to get created, and new features we all can use.

Sounds great to me.

I was thinking something like

jsimonis's picture

I was thinking something like how CiviCRM does it - they put up a feature that has been requested a lot and the amount needed to do it. People chip in til it reaches the amount needed. Sometimes multiple groups need the same thing and none of them can afford it on their own. But together they could.

That's kind of the idea.

cweagans's picture

That's kind of the idea. We'll connect developers who can do a task with the people that can pay for the work.

Cameron Eagans

CiviCRM "Make it Happen"

drupleg's picture

YES! I got involved with Drupal in 2010 because I needed CiviCRM for a client, and found the best support for Civi within Drupal.

I've watched CiviCRM grow exponentially over the past two years in large part due to their "Make it Happen" (MIH) initiatives. With MIH features are discussed with the community and offered as MIH campaigns - then supporters can contribute to the feature(s) they want to see worked on next.

I encourage the Snowball team to talk with the CiviCRM folks about how this MIH initiative has worked for them, I think it can work very well here for Drupal too!

Here's more info about CiviCRM and the "Make it Happen" initiatives, which I think started only back in September 2010 and has been successful since.

Definitely agree!

mlncn's picture

Snowball won't be at Make It Happen level out of the gate-- CiviCRM can succeed that way because it is the leadership gathering the sentiment and blasting to many people paying attention to them their needs-- both the proven ability to follow through, the attention to their audience, and the reach are all in place. It would be great for Drupal initiatives, for instance, to use this, but we'll be proving the utility in Drupal with much smaller initiatives, i expect, and core initiatives could do something like CiviCRM's Make It Happen without Snowball tools or infrastructure.

benjamin, agaric


HaloFX's picture

I had pondered how we might be able to do this before, it is a great idea.

I have had a couple projects come up where I had a need and an idea, but not enough funds to make happen, even though I was sure it would benefit others. Other than blasting IRC or the forum, there isn't an organized method to collaborate on funding or specing the idea.

I usually have a few bucks for an idea, others surely could also. I am all for developers getting some real compensation for their effort. Most simply scratch their own itch, this could really jump start scratching a lot of itches and help push Drupal forward while providing incentive for more developers to jump in.

I will throw a few bucks in!

PatchRanger's picture

What is the status of this initiative?
I am asking because I have a working solution.
Have you ever thought about the platform for co-financing Drupal patches, not modules?
Here is an offer:

  • Patches rather than projects : In this case a patch is the object of crowd funding – not a whole project. This dramatically increases the likelihood of truly necessary updates, because the reward is strictly targeted.
  • No "consumption" while development : We all understand that the client is willing to pay for the result while developer needs every day something to put on the dinner table.
    In this case the problem does not exists at all because we are different in terms of scale: we have a patch rather than projects. Therefore, it is possible to achieve the desired result (write the patch) and get the reward long before the developer gets hungry.

The whole mechanism is based on issue queue and its patch workflow – so we don't need to reinvent the wheel.

  • Every single issue have its own reward sum, that is being collected collectively.
  • Every visitor (no registration needed) has the opportunity to voluntary donate any amount to reward sum of any issue.
  • The collected sum will be received by the developer, whose patch will fix the issue.
  • So, all issues are naturally ranged by their priority : cheap (and free) — at the bottom of the list; more expensive are higher; at the top — the most critical and popular, and therefore the most highly paid.

Here you are a link to the project :
How does it work? - an article, containing an easy to understand explanation of what is going on.
Why is it free? - description of our business model.

"Make it Happen"

mgifford's picture

Very interesting to hear about CiviCRM's use of a "Make it Happen" model. It does seem to have come a long ways since we were last involved.

PatchRanger - a couple of your links don't work any more.

This is a bit of an old issue, but it is still a pressing one for the community.

@mlncn what was the result of the effort? You raised the $1000. Something was done. Was it too much effort to do it again?

I do wonder about the sustainability of these types of things.

Still a need for this, right?

gusaus's picture

Are there currently any community funding platforms/initiatives that have gained traction? Seems like there's still a need and there have been more successes on platforms such as Kickstarter. Is there any part of Snowball that we can use to restart... slowflakes? flurries?

This was a really good start.

Gus Austin

Some projects I know of

PatchRanger's picture

I know (and even used to use) some:
Take a look, you might be interested.

Drupal based initiative and code

gusaus's picture

Thank PatchRanger - those look interesting, but not Drupal based, right? Snowball was going to be about funding Drupal projects that was built on Drupal.

Gus Austin

RedHen Raiser

gusaus's picture

Seems like RedHen Raiser has a lot of the ingredients for Drupal crowdfunding platform. Has anyone had any experience using or building w/ it?

Gus Austin

Crowdfunding feature on top of Open Atrium

gusaus's picture

It looks like there's some interest in using, developing, and supporting such a feature on top of Open Atrium. If there's interest, we could use our Drupal Kata site as a proof of concept.

Gus Austin

Acquia's D8 Module Acceleration Program

gusaus's picture

Acquia's D8 Module Acceleration Program provides a pretty good case for the 'funding is needed to sustain Drupal projects'. Problem is that's not really going help with developing, maintaining, and sustaining projects that are not considered important by these stakeholders... like many complex Drupal 7 modules and distributions that are buggy, unstable, or unmaintained.

It seems like we need a program like this more than ever... yet to this point there hasn't even been enough community interest get this up and running.

Maybe we should just bring back ChipIn?

Gus Austin

OpenCollective + Drupal Association

gusaus's picture

OpenCollective (, seems like they/it could provide the mechanism crowdfunding Drupal projects.

The following should provide a good overview on how their model and platform works -

Not sure how Drupal projects would fit in with their Github requirement (for linking accounts), but this platform on top of Drupal Association (as fiscal sponsor) would help make projects, such as distributions, feasible.

Any thoughts or experiences with this?

Gus Austin

With Drupal Association evaluating OpenCollective...

gusaus's picture

With Drupal Association currently evaluating OpenCollective as a tool to sustain projects, an initiative and platform like Snowball that would help match projects, contributors, and funders could be a much needed compliment.

It's been awhile since I've corresponded with @mlncn about potentially getting Snowball rolling again. There was a good chunk of initial work and $1000 from the initial fundraiser. Are those resources being applied to Drutopia or still available to pick up on this vision?

With OpenCollective already providing an API that will enable backers and sponsors to be displayed on a project page, group, or anywhere else, possibly resources can be pooled to develop a module or feature that can plug into,, and distributions mentioned in this thread.

Even though this User stories (specifications) and requirements wiki is a bit dated... this type of platform could help sustain not only Drupal, but many other OSS projects and communities.

If there's enough interest to (re)assemble a team and move forward, there are probably enough stakeholders in the Open Source Collective community to fund whatever work is needed. Especially if Snowball had a collective to collect and distribute funds.

Drupal Association embracing OpenCollective would be a bonus. Not a requirement to set up Snowball right now.

Gus Austin

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