I would like to slightly disagree with some of the posts here that say $1000 may be too small or not have much of an impact...
I think of it this way, no matter what you give, it's a great start. While I have open-sourced some of my apps and libraries, none of them got popular (except for one CakePHP plugin that had all of 64 stars and as many forks on GitHub way back in the day). But I think I would be excited with whatever folks donated, it's a shot in the arm, and more than the money, a validation that something I did contributed positively to society and was useful to someone else.
Secondly, if 1000 people thought like you did and donated $1000 each ... that's $1 million there, enough to hire 5-10 folks to work full-time on that project. And if all the big cos (I'm looking at you, FAANG) could donate five or six figure dollar amounts to all the open source projects they use (a rounding error in their annual revenue / incomes), open source might actually be a sustainable model, and a win-win for everybody.
thanks andrefuchs for the links, I wasn't aware of OpenCollective. If I get it correctly I still have to manually find all collectives that I want to support and send them money. So if I want to support 100 projects and I'll have to do 100 transactions?
I would recommend to choose one library, that is especially important to you, and that you think could be underpaid, and send it to them directly. If everybody does so, other libs will get paid by other donors.
I would recommend to avoid services, which "redistribute" donations. Such companies need to keep a part of money for themselves as running costs, and it is often not clear, if they keep 1% or 90%. And the way they decide who gets what, also might not be clear. I am not saying they are corrupted. I am just saying the transparency is lost with each "man in the middle".
I agree, that is definitely a good way to donate money. It is just that I heard "The software that is the easiest to build -- the software that is the easiest to fund the development of -- tends to serve those who are already extremely well-served." in https://fosdem.org/2020/schedule/event/capitalismethicaloss/ and I thought that there might be a smater way to "redistribute" the money.
I do know the work of the FSF fairly well and respect it. My comment was in no way meant to belittle their achievement, quite to the contrary! Feel free to s/meta organisation/umbrella organisation/ or whatever sounds more accurate a description to you.
I think you need to be more specific about what your goals are. Is there a particular project that you make heavy use of? Is there a particular area of projects that you care about? Is there a particular ideology that you care about?
In terms of impact, paying for $1000 worth of consulting on an open source project that you use is probably where it's at. "I really want bug #1234 fixed." Pay someone $1000 and it's fixed. (For a bug that takes a day or so to fix, that is.)
If you were to donate $1000 to "open source", not much would actually get anywhere useful IMO.
On top of this, as a company, donating is… complicated. If you can do it, great, but it's often easier to find a project that has a support contract and pay for that. It gives you a real and justified expense and is in general more stable income for the devs.
Furthermore, a renewable contract gives the project predictable income, which is instrinsically worth more to the project.
If you have $1k and just want to give it away once, and want it to end up in open source, I think what's best is you pick your personal favourite project and double check they both need and can take the money (then move down the list if they don't). But if you can afford to give a recurring donation, go that route instead! Patreon is a good avenue for smaller projects that don't necessarily offer contracts of their own, but at that point there's a lot of money that goes into their fee.
Edit: Another potential avenue is donating directly to a developer for their open source work (Github Sponsors will let you do that), assuming there's a dev you like a lot for that.
I took it as "best" in "most likely to actually reach a person who can write a check" in the corporate bureaucracy.
In most of the companies I'm familiar with, it's very hard for engineers and their managers to spend money on things that don't have a tangible return, particularly something you can stick an inventory tag on.
Marketing departments, on the other hand, are purpose-built to spend money on intangible things.
I've coached a high-school robotics program that's mostly funded out of the company's marketing budget, which they justify because the students put logos on their machines. Everyone knows we're doing it because we think it's awesome, but we have to call it marketing to slip it past the beancounters.
I know you probably agree with me, but supporting an open source project your company's infrastructure depends on has a tangible return (better maintenance on the project). It's just that managers don't see it that way.
So, you want to get advertising with money that you write off for tax purposes. In many world states that would constitute tax fraud. And have the reputation of those FOSS developers benefit you, to boot. I'm sorry, that's a bit much from a small mind such as mine.
Well, as far as the time-consumption you could try Randomization:
Decide what fraction you want to give each of several projects (or make it uniform-probability), and partition the range [0,1] by those fractions. Now draw a random number between 0 and 1 (you can do this online if you like); give the $1000 to the project in whose range you've drawn.
I'm not saying that's such a great idea, but the expected donation to each project remains the same (well, depends on some ontological considerations I suppose).
I'm not sure if your scenario is completely hypothetical and you are limited to $1000, but if you are a company and not an individual, why not hire someone with the intention that he or she will work heavily on OSS that you require in your organization?
You can also donate for articles or factoids that people shared -- which helped you in your own work or field. If you want to keep this human-scale with a high impact potential for both parties. That gets lost when you give to .orgs
How about a maven plugin that searches for libs in your pom that registered in a db (put together by a service), and creates a mutual-fund sort of thing that you can donate to, to be distributed later? When I was in an investment club the portfolio of stocks we bought was something any of us could collectively buy into, for any amount.
Then more plugins could be written for gradle, npm, etc.
Core contributors to an OSS project can decide on percentage share allocation and create a credit card checkout that is accessible via a shield button. The donations/proceeds would be split on a per payment basis.
At the moment the application only handles those with a US-based account.
I would consider to donate not to the IT tools but the domain specific software. It's often undervalued, underrepresented, and underfunded. Science, engineering, literature/music/art creation, etc. I believe, these are in the need more than IT, also have a bigger impact to the society.
Thanks for the info. But then again, I am not sure what they are doing with my money right? So is there a platform which distributes my money to those people who work on those projects and libs that I am using - Without checking everything manually.