phpList helps Free Culture Crowd Funding site communicate with the community.
In January, GnuPG became the first to take us up on our offer of free phpList hosted for Free Software projects. Another fascinating project enjoying this perk is Open Funding. Anna, the phpList community Manager, is on a mission to find out who they are, and how they are getting along!
What is Open Funding?
Open Funding is a co-funding platform for Free Software. It aims at to provide a sustainable business model for Free Software development and common good production. The idea is to enable Free Software users to contribute to projects by funding them feature by feature, creating a long term relationship between a project and its community. It also takes a professional approach to crowdfunding by enabling users to validate the development, thus guaranteeing the quality of the result.
So why do you think this is important? Lots of Free Software projects are successfully funded by corporate involvement, for example, what makes you so keen to challenge that model?
It’s great that big corporations fund Free Software, but they do so to ensure that it serves their interests. At Open Funding we want to enable everyone to contribute, so that free software serves the interests of not only big corporations, but also anyone using the software. By letting users validate the developments, we make sure that everyone’s voice is heard. For projects, it’s a way to create a stronger community in the long run. Every new feature is an occasion to communicate, get more funding, and therefore creating a stronger and tighter community. So this is not only about funding, it’s about building a community, and building a network working towards a more open world.
Why “Open” – what is it about Open Source that you love so much?
I think Open Source is a major move of our society. It defines a new way of working, guaranteeing freedoms. As we said in a recent blog post, we think that this movement is hitting a lot of domains, beyond software, which was pioneering it. The Open Source organization has proved how efficient it can be, but it needs to be sustainable to really grow. That’s why at Open Funding we wanted to help Open Source developers and designers have a business model to make a living out of the great work they provide to the community. We work with very motivated people in an amazing diversity of projects, and we love that!
In that blog (which I love by the way) you talk about the amazing opportunity this “new way of working” has created, and the common behaviors/mentalities that constitute the Free Culture movement. What do you think are the biggest threats to the movement?
I strongly believe that this movement will get bigger in the years to come, so I’d say challenges, rather than threats. I think that a major one is sustainability. We see so many projects created out of a great initiative, suddenly stopped because its main actor doesn’t have enough time or energy anymore, or changing to a hybrid model. Many people prefer Free Software because of the values it supports. But these values don’t feed you! That’s why we need to find a sustainable business model, to make sure that people who work on Open Source projects get paid at the level they deserve.
Do you think co-funding and/or Crowd Funding provide a tool to help us combat these challenges?
The logic behind Open Funding is actually quite obvious. If we want to get Free Software developers paid for the work they/we do, we need to find the money where they bring value. They bring value to the whole community, so let’s just gather the amount they need from the wider community we can. Of course, if you want things to actually work, you need to do things seriously, build the right offers for the right targets, communicate the right message to the right channels. But that’s where we help people, creating a professional framework that enables them to reach their objectives.
How does phpList fit into all of this?
Co-funding means relying on the community, and we need to communicate with it! When we launched our latest campaign, OpenTheWorld, we needed to communicate with our users and the developers, and phpList was a great way to do it. As Free Software, it really fits in with our model, especially in the long run. We know we can rely on this service to integrate good communication services to our platform and be sure we can still do so in the future.
We are talking a lot about Developers getting paid here, but at the same time, it is clear that communicating with the community is a vital part of your plan. Do you think that paid roles, a little bit like mine as a Community Manager, have a role to play in co-funding?
Of course! As I said earlier, if you want your project funded you need to do more than just create it on-line. So behind a project on Open Funding, there is actually often a team including a developer and a community manager like you, both of which get paid for their work. So when developers come to see us, we help them find the right person to work with, and then we help them build the right campaign for that project. I think actually that one main problem of Free Software is that there aren’t enough community managers, designers, marketing people etc., involved, so we need to find a way for them get also paid for their job. That’s what Open Funding is here for!
Want to help fund projects via Open Funding? There are some goodies to choose from! Click here to visit their site!