Enabling Charitable Donations on Behalf of Open Source Projects

Now that I’ve managed to move away from working at home to working in a shared office space, I aim to separate and compartmentalise properly, allowing me to focus on some personal projects that I’ve managed to accumulate over the last few years.

As I mentioned in my previous article Office Space and Transitions, not only have I acquired the aforementioned office space, I’ve gone about setting up Ollie’s Lab as a way to slowly migrate towards an independent entity. One of the things I plan to do with this newly formed entity, is release applications and systems whether they’re open source, hosted or self hosted services. This article is about the first of these projects, a project which as of yet does not have a name (I find naming things to be a tricky task), but is a free service available to anyone, or at least will be soon.

What is the aim?

If you’re familiar with open source projects you’ll likely be familiar with the donation systems that seem to come with such projects, whether they’re systems that allow a monthly income, or simple PayPal donation systems that allow you to say thank you by buying the developer a coffee/beer. This project works in a similar way to the latter, except rather than buying the developer a beverage, the developer nominates a charity and you donate a few pounds (or whatever currency) to this charity on behalf of the developer.

Why are you doing this?

Contrary to the impression that I may give off, or the opinions of others, I’m a big fan of helping those who need it, in whatever capacity is available. Unfortunately when I was 20 I lost my mother to brain cancer, then within two months lost my Grandad to multiple types of cancer, and since then I’ve been actively donating money to both the MacMillan Cancer Nurses and Cancer Research UK. Over the last few years I’ve been looking for ways to apply my own skills and limited time to do something a bit more than donating a fixed sum each month, which is where I came up with the idea of this project.

I think it’s a fairly safe assumption that most of you out there have experienced an event like this, whether it was to you, your family members, your friends, or just simply something you’ve witnessed, so there’s a good chance that there’s a particular cause out there that holds a special place in your heart.

So what does it do for me?

Speaking from a place of experience, each and every time I see that the code I have released helps somebody it makes the time I spent working on it worthwhile, and I hugely appreciate it when people take the time to personally say thank you.

As an author, the project allows you to not only help people via the hours you put into creating and maintaining open source projects, but to also use that time by driving awareness and donations to causes that help people whose problems cannot be solved with code.

As an end user/developer, the project allows you to not only convey your thanks for the work that the author has put in, but to add that personal touch by donating to a cause that means something to the author, all while helping a worthy cause.

When will this be ready?

Right now there is no definitive date, as this project is right within the early stages of development, but as I mentioned at the top of the article, my new found free time is allowing me to sit down, plan and develop without the stress hanging over me. I will however be writing updates on here regarding the project as and when I have something.

Are you interested?

If this is a project you’d be interested in, I’d love to hear from you, be it via @ollieread on twitter, or via email to me[at]ollieread.com.

As I go through this project there will be plenty of ideas I’d love to bounce off some of you to get some feedback and really make this something that works.


Anyway, enjoy your weekend, happy coding!