As a global community we have most certainly reached the point in which we need to diversify how we bring in revenue to this organisation. One of the obvious and under-explored ways we can do this is to fundraise for work on specific features.
Why do this?
We have a rich global community and strong reputation meaning that people will trust us to develop features. Our global community often have access to funds and would be willing to pay for features. We are not making use of this opportuntity even though people tell us they would like to pay for features.
Why not do this?
In the early days of the global OFN we experimented with this and it created problems. The problems came because features were underfunded and there was not enough money available for core costs, maintenance or tech debt. This meant the OFN product fell into quite a bad state that we have spent years recovering from.
So why do this?
We’ve learned our lessons from last time. We’re a much stronger team with much stronger processes and we know the value of keeping on top of our technical debt. We’re ready to re-explore this!
So how would it work?
To me it is important that:
If we fundraise for a feature we fundraise for double the capacity. The people/resources assigned to the project will spend 50% of their time on the project and 50% of their time on other tasks.
We unfold projects in stages:
- Bring together groups/users committed to this process
- Raise funds for the design process
- Codesign the dream functionality
- Develop delivery plan and budget
- Raise funds for delivery
Managing our pipe when we have delays for fundraising will be a key challenge. In order to maintain our team in between features we’ll need to be bringing in revenue from other sources. User fees, grants and donations will also be important to maintain.
Features that we develop will need to be features that we know there is a demand for and that we can make the case will bring in sufficient user fees that we will be able to cover maintenance++ from the user fees they generate. Features cost money AFTER they’ve been delivered too!
Why are you raising this now?
The UK is constantly being asked for subscriptions functionality from large box schemes. We’d really like to trail this process on subscriptions 2.0. Soooo, I’m putting it out there. What do y’all think?