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What’s new with GitHub Sponsors

GitHub Sponsors is now generally available for organizations. Also, new tooling for bulk sponsorships and an update on how we’re ensuring sustainability for GitHub Sponsors.

What’s new with GitHub Sponsors

Today, we’re pleased to announce that GitHub Sponsors is now generally available for organization-funded sponsorships. We’re also sharing updates on how we’re ensuring the sustainability of the program through new fees and launching a new feature for sponsoring in bulk.

The world runs on open source. It’s not just on our websites; open source is pervasive in our daily lives. However, despite funding through foundations, most open source contributors still do not receive meaningful financial support. This means many developers, and especially those from underrepresented groups, cannot work on open source—or if they do it comes at a personal cost. Our goal is to make careers in open source possible.

Organization-funded sponsorships now generally available

We launched GitHub Sponsors in 2019 with the vision of a more sustainable open source ecosystem. Since then, more than $33 million has been invested in open source across 68 regions of the world. We started by giving individuals the opportunity to sponsor the projects and maintainers they rely on. While impactful, it didn’t yet address that today the bulk of demand that projects and maintainers feel comes from organizations. At the same time, organizations are increasingly interested in better supporting the projects they depend on.

Today, we’re excited to announce the general availability of organization-funded sponsorships to close the gap and help organizations sponsor the many projects and maintainers they depend on.

Crucial parts of the open source infrastructure are maintained by a few hardworking individuals that often do it for free. Mercedes-Benz and many others use this code. Heartbleed and Log4Shell affected tools, for example, are used by a huge number of people and enterprises. It should be in the interest of all of us that we can rely on foundational tools. That’s the reason why Mercedes-Benz supports the work of these people.

- Wolfgang Gehring / FOSS Ambassador / Mercedes-Benz

While in beta, we saw exciting growth in direct funding from 3,500 partner organizations like AWS, American Express, Shopify, and Mercedes Benz. And in 2022, nearly 40% of sponsorship funding came from organizations, with each organization-funded sponsorship worth on average nearly 15X more to maintainers than the average individual sponsorship.

GitHub Sponsors provided me with a ton of early validation for tldraw. I might not have even tried to build a startup around tldraw without that validation—and I doubt it would have worked without the mix of individual and corporate sponsors backing up my pitch. The program gave me a great reason to create content and community around tldraw. I’ve been very public about who is sponsoring me so it’s been a way for my sponsors to grow their communities too.

- Steve Ruiz / Founder / tldraw

Sponsorships from organizations move the needle for maintainers, and so we’ve been focused on removing friction so that organizations can sponsor at scale—adding invoice payments, a dashboard for budget insights for invoice customers, and sponsorship history. As of today, these features are available to all organizations.

Introducing fees on organization-funded sponsorships

We’re proud that GitHub Sponsors has been fee-free since 2019 and that along with our GitHub Sponsors Matching Fund many developers have received funding for the invaluable work they do.

While we shared at launch that we would eventually introduce fees into the program, we wanted to do so in a way we believed would best support the ecosystem. We’ve worked hard to determine a fee-structure that aligns with the goals of the program while addressing GitHub Sponsors’ costs of processing payments.

As of today, fees will apply to all new sponsorships created by organizations and will depend on which method of payment is used:

  • Organizations paying by credit card will pay a 6% fee made up of a 3% credit card processing fee and a 3% GitHub service processing fee.
  • Organizations paying by invoice will be subject only to the 3% GitHub servicing process fee.

For all existing recurring sponsorships made via credit card, these fees will be applied starting June 1, 2023. For those currently made via invoice, fees will not apply to your invoices until your beta agreement expires. Sponsorships funded by individuals remain fee-free.

Learn more about switching to invoiced payments for your GitHub Sponsors payments.

Introducing bulk sponsorships

Organizations sponsoring at scale need better ways to make multiple sponsorships. Last year, GitHub sponsored over 900 of our identified open source dependencies at once and today we’re bringing that tooling to you, too. Bulk sponsorships are built into our GitHub Sponsors Explore page so that you have an easy way to get started with your sponsorable dependencies at hand and they’re now exportable as a CSV, too.

Learn more about bulk sponsorships.

The future of GitHub Sponsors and your feedback

We believe that organization-funded sponsorships are the future of sustainable funding in open source. Approximately 90% of companies use open source in some way today and we’re a long way from seeing that directly translate into financial support. We will continue to make improvements and share stories so that we can remove friction and normalize directly supporting open source dependencies.

Today’s announcements are mostly around the mechanics of payments and checkouts, a small portion of the overall work to be done. We’re also working on providing better ways for maintainers to manage their sponsorships and visibility with their sponsors.

We’re committed to learning as we work towards the goal of making open source careers possible. We love hearing from you in the Community Discussions repository and are grateful to those who help us out in user research and beta testing—thanks so much and stay tuned for more updates!

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