GNOME's Need To Broaden Its Audience For Greater Impact & Funding

Written by Michael Larabel in GNOME on 6 June 2021 at 06:14 AM EDT. 85 Comments
Robert McQueen, the President of the GNOME Foundation Board of Directors, wrote a post this week ultimately about the GNOME project's need to broaden its focus in order to attract more new users and ultimately to be able to raise funds from new organizations outside of their traditional reach. If they aren't able to find new funding sources, they may need to scale back in some of their efforts but still have a sufficient safety net.

While GNOME has been delivering on GTK4, expanded community engagement, better infrastructure, and delivering on all of their other recent improvements, their fundraising hasn't caught up. The GNOME Board of Directors latest budget that was approved for this financial year is spending more funds from their resources than they expect to raise in income. GNOME's reserves policy dictates though that they can't do this again so over the next year they will need to either raise more money or begin spending less.

The GNOME Foundation is still in healthy financial standing, but now are left finding new funding sources or per their policies will have to spend less moving forward until they have the increased cashflow to match. They obviously would prefer not having to slow down some of their activities or rely on a smaller staff, so now will likely be moving in a trajectory to further expand their user base in hopes of finding new funding sources.

McQueen commented, "To raise funds from new sources, the Foundation needs to take the message and ideals of GNOME and Open Source software to new, wider audiences that we can help. We’ve been developing themes such as affordability, privacy/trust and education as promising areas for new programs that broaden our impact. The goal is to find projects and funding that allow us to both invest in the GNOME community and find new ways for FOSS to benefit people who aren’t already in our community."

And as for the current GNOME board elections, "I’d like to make clear that I see this – reaching the outside world, and finding funding to support that – as the main priority and responsibility of the Board for the next term...We need to understand our financial situation and the trade-offs we have to make, and help to define the strategy with the Executive Director so that we can launch some new programs that will broaden our impact – and funding – for the future."

Read more on Rob McQueen's blog about the current GNOME funding situation.
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