In January 2019, the Webform module for Drupal joined Open Collective. In a recent blog post, I shared my thoughts around sustainability, why I felt starting an Open Collective was important, and my hopes on how to spend the collected fund. For DrupalCon Seattle, we were able to raise money to pay for a Webform logo and tee-shirts, but I've struggled to decide how to spend the funds. I felt guilty about using funds to pay for my time, mainly because my day job was partially sponsoring/supporting my contribution to the Drupal community.
After paying for logo design and tee-shirts, I decided to help support the Drupal Association in their time of need and donate $4000 of the Webform module's Open Collective funds to the DrupalCares campaign.
Many things have changed during the pandemic. As many people know, my day job is no longer using Drupal. This change led me to question if and how I should continue to maintain the Webform module. My struggle with this question made my commitment to Drupal wane and I started to burn out, which led me to write about my predicament. The Drupal community was extremely empathetic, both publicly and privately, to my situation. With every blog post and change to the Webform module's project page, issue queue, and UI, more people started to back the Webform module's Open Collective.
Besides sharing words of encouragement, people in the community demonstrated that they were also willing to help fund the Webform module.
Since January, as these funds increased, my day-to-day commitment to the Webform module's issue queue decreased. The estimated annual budget for the Webform module's Open Collective has grown to $10,082.34. I finally decided to see if and how I could use these funds to compensate myself for my time and allow me to start wrangling the Webform module's issue queue.
Knowing I would be expensing my work on the Webform module, I decided to adjust how I approach the Webform module's issue queue and encourage people to get involved and help support the Webform module. After I revised the Webform module's issue queue submission guidelines, I gave it a whirl: I tracked my time, generated my first invoice, and expensed it to the Webform module's Open Collective.
The experience of being compensated by the Drupal community to contribute felt amazing.
After five years of contributing around 8-10 hours a week to the Webform module, being compensated for just a few hours of work made me feel that my hard work could be sustainable. It is feasible that I can find time during the day and a few hours on the weekends to keep the Webform module healthy and moving forward.
As a result of tracking my hours and submitting an invoice to the Webform module's Open Collective, now backers and anyone in the Drupal community can see the amount of work it takes to maintain the Webform module. To provide the most value to backers, I opted to track my time in five-minute increments. It’s a little challenging, but in my mind, provides the most transparency.
It would be interesting to break down issues resolved and related tasks paid for with Open Collective funds in a follow-up blog post. I hope my transparency regarding how funds are spent inspires more people to join the Webform module's Open Collective. For example, I see the possibility that Open Collective backers could expect a response to a new issue in 24-48 hours. The possibilities will grow as more people and organizations join the Webform module's Open Collective.
For existing backers, thank you for making a contribution to the Webform module's Open Collective with the belief that it would make a difference. It did. And I have no doubt it will continue to do so. You can download the results of your support in the latest release of the Webform module.