GitHub has announced a new beta program called “GitHub Sponsors” which could become a new funding source for free/open source developers. Any developers participating in the program can create multiple sponsorship tiers and accept monthly donations. Anyone who develops open source code can participate. GitHub is clear in their FAQ for GitHub Sponsors that contributions can include more than just code, it can include documentation and mentorship. These are also important ways to participate in free/open source development and it’s great that they call this out.
GitHub is also matching up to $5000 per sponsored developer for the developer’s first year of sponsorship. So if you give $10 per month to the developer, GitHub will match that ($120 / year becomes $240 / year).
To join the GitHub Sponsors waitlist, you need to have a GitHub account, enter your city and country of residence, which open source projects you’re involved with (with links) and types of contributions you make to the projects. You will also need to explain why you’re interested in joining the GitHub Sponsors program and what other developers you would like to support with sponsorship.
We will see how well this works because developers already have plenty of options and opportunities to seek alternative funding through Flattr, Liberapay, OpenCollective and Patreon and other platforms.