It's time to look for loose change under the couch cushions.
There’s a good chance you frequently use free software and consume free content. Some of it is created by companies who support themselves by selling you private information to the highest bidder and by displaying intrusive ads. Facebook, Google, and Twitter are among the most prominent companies that do this.
But some of the free software and content you use, are created by organizations and individuals who don’t earn any money from doing it. Instead, they rely on user donations. Ever since I got a steady income, I’ve made donations to creators of free software and content I use regularly.
Here’s a list of my current, monthly donations:
- Pixelfed, a free, ethical, and federated photo sharing platform. It’s similar to Instagram but without the corporate whoring.
- Mastodon, a free and open-source self-hosted social networking service. Mastodon takes a lot of cues from Twitter, but it’s easier to handle trolls, bots, haters, and all everything else that is tearing Twitter to pieces. I covered Mastodon extensively in a post back in 2018, We Need to Toot About Mastodon.
- Tusky, a lightweight Mastodon client for Android.
- DasTactic, strategy game streamer whose videos I love to watch while working out.
- Jason Scott, an archivist, historian of technology, filmmaker, and podcaster who works for the Internet Archive.
- Christopher Lemmer Webber, user freedom activist, podcaster, and ActivityPub co-editor.
- Scott Carrier, author, radio producers, and creator of the Home of the Brave podcast.
- The Internet Archive, a digital library. You might know them from their Wayback Machine, but the Internet Archive is a lot more than that.
- SomaFM, commercial-free, listener-supported, Internet radio. Many of their radio stations kept me going through my college days. The radio station is also a bottomless treasure trove of new music.
- The Wikimedia Foundation, the organization that hosts Wikipedia.
My monthly contribution to the individuals and organizations above range from 1 to 4 dollars, with the vast majority of them getting a dollar a month. It’s not much, but every amount helps. Supporting them financially also signals that I appreciate what they are doing.
If you have the financial means to support your favorite creators with a few dollars a month, I strongly suggest you do. And if you can’t support them with your hard-earned dollars, there are a lot of other ways you can help out. If you know how to code, Pixelfed, Mastodon, and Tusky are all open source projects you can contribute to. And if you’ve never written a line of code in your entire life, all three need help translating the projects to more languages.