Gittip, founded by software developer Chad Whitacre, describes itself as “Sustainable Crowdfunding”. It allows users to make recurring (weekly) donations to other users, anonymously (the total donated/received per user is shown). Many of the top receivers shown on the site’s front page are open source developers or other community members. It seems to have had particular success with Python developers, perhaps as Whitacre shares that background.
However… I would argue Gittip is more akin to “crowd patronage”, “micro patronage” (microdonations/micropayments) or plain old fundraising.
Kickstarter being the canonical example, I would argue the following elements define crowdfunding, from most important to least:
- Payments/donations from many people
- Towards a specific amount
- For a specific aim
- By a specific time
- With “rewards”
- And an all-or-nothing approach (if the goal amount is not reached, no one pays).
Indiegogo differs from Kickstarter in the last point in offering both “fixed funding” and “flexible funding” (where campaigners will receive all funds even if the goal amount is not reached), but it is obviously a lot closer to the Kickstarter style than Gittip, which shares only the first point in common.
More on Gittip:
- Crowdsource your salary! An economy built on love – Thoughful Salon piece that interviews both Whitacre and some beneficiaries of Gittip
- Money and Open Source “We need to figure out better ways to fund open source software.”
- Resentment by Chad Whitacre (in response to criticism by Ruby on Rails creator David Heinemeier Hansson)
- Gittip: Inspiring Generosity video of a talk at PyCon US 2013 by Chad Whitacre
- Help fund ReadTheDocs