The next phase of Clojurists Together
By Daniel Compton
Clojurists Together is excited to announce changes to better serve the Clojure community. Today we’re announcing three new funding tiers, additional flexibility for maintainers in how they take the funding, more connection between members and funded projects, and our intention to seek out impactful projects to fund directly.
Earlier this year we surveyed open source Clojure maintainers and our members to understand how our current funding program worked. We learnt several things:
More flexible funding
Maintainers wanted more advance notice on funding, more flexible funding periods, and more options for funding amounts. Our previous model of funding was $3k/month for 3 months. This amount was good for established projects, but was sometimes too much for smaller and more experimental projects. Additionally, we often didn’t have much time between projects being selected and projects starting which made it hard to plan. Some maintainers wanted to take time off work and do it all in a month, but found it tricky to spread the work over 3 months.
Q: What would be the ideal funding structure for you to work on your open source projects?
A certain monthly amount for longer periods of time I can plan around. Like Github Sponsors. The current short notice and then huge funding for 3 months is very difficult to integrate into my schedule.
We’ve now split our single funding tier into two:
- $1k-$2k funding amounts, designed for experimental/smaller project proposals. Making smaller grants derisks the process, letting us make a larger number of selections, and accelerate develpment on promising experiments.
- $9k funding amounts, designed for more established/larger project proposals. These funds can now be taken over a variable time, from 1 to 12 months.
Additionally, all recipients will have two months notice before their funding starts so they can better plan around the funding.
A need we heard from our members and maintainers was longer-term support to maintainers. Cognitect’s sponsorship of developers through GitHub Sponsors was a good fit for developers, providing stable, long-term funding for people to continue doing the work they were already doing, but better.
In response to this, we’re adding a third tier of funding $1.5k/month for 12 months. Our members will nominate and vote on who receives these funds.
We have already been doing some work in this area, funding Clojars $1.5k/month and we’re excited to expand this further to other projects.
More interaction between members and selections
Members expressed a desire to provide more input to the project selections, and some maintainers didn’t always know what members thought was valuable. We are now going to encourage projects to present a short lightning talk or blog post after their selection. Members can then give feedback on the proposal and any parts that they find particularly interesting.
Projects will continue to have freedom to make their own decisions, but will have the benefit of more understanding of which parts our members find most valuable.
Clojurists Together making direct selections
Clojurists Together is going to reserve some money to seek out impactful projects to fund directly. We will be looking for opportunities to fund existing or potential projects that would provide a wide benefit to Clojure developers.
These projects would be ones which are large or challenging to take on, and may not happen without the catalyst of funding. An example would be providing patches to make browsers work better with ClojureScript.
Funding Plans and fundraising
Clojurists Together currently receives $17,100 per month from our members. After Stripe fees and operating expenses, we have a safe withdrawal rate of about $15,000 per month or $45,000 per quarter.
Our current plan is to fund:
- 4-8 experimental projects $1k-$2k => $8k
- 2 standard projects $9k => $18k
- 3 long-term * 1.5k/month => $13.5k
- Clojars => $4.5k
Total => $44k over 3 months.
We would like to add an additional one or two long-term payments to support Clojure developers, but to do so we’ll need to expand our membership. If you work for a company that uses Clojure, please consider talking to your engineering leadership about signing up for a Clojurists Together membership.
Clojurists Together has grown from a small organisation giving $3,600/month to open source Clojure projects to today where we’re looking to pay out $15,000/month or more. We couldn’t have done it without our incredible developer and company members who support us. Thanks to everyone who has given money, both now and in the past to build tools and libraries for the Clojure community.
We want to say a special thanks to our company members Latacora, Roam, Pitch, Nubank, Cisco, JUXT, Metosin, Solita, Adgoji, Nextjournal, Flexiana, Toyokumo, Griffin, Parkside, and Jacek Schae. They’ve given significant amounts of money to Clojurists Together over the years, and we couldn’t have done it without them.