I’ve started to use the sponsors facility on GitHub to support developers. Here’s my thinking.
There are many folks that I observe giving to the community. This giving takes many forms, such as providing software in an open source manner, supporting that software, sharing knowledge, and mentoring. I wanted to look into how I could provide a bit of support. I give to charity as part of my remuneration scheme, and I’m very fortunate to be able to do that. But that seems more of a “given” and not particularly specific, nor do I have any direct connection to the recipients.
There are various ways to support individuals online - I’ve used the “buy me a coffee” approach, I’ve sent small amounts via PayPal to folks to say thanks (e.g. for the Victor Mono font), subscribed to folks on Twitch, gifted subscriptions, and so on. These are all avenues available to us, and I’d encourage you to look into them.
But there’s an avenue that resonates quite well with me, one that was introduced to me by Alex Ellis. And that’s GitHub Sponsors. Subjective, I know, but I feel that sponsoring someone at this layer is a useful thing to do. The facilities offered by this mechanism also allow the sponsor relationship to be on a automatic and regular basis too.
I’ve no idea how far I’ll go yet, I’m just really starting. So far I’m sponsoring Alex for his work on Kubernetes, small machines and everything in between, and have also sponsored Vidar Holen, mostly for shellcheck, which has been a key part of how I’m trying to improve my shell scripting. I’ve just started sponsoring Rob Muhlestein for everything that he shares and for his long term efforts to share knowledge with junior developers on his Twitch live streams.
My contributions are minimal, but this is a scale thing - I would like to encourage you to consider doing the same and sponsoring someone for their work that collectively helps strengthen our community.