For open hardware projects, the obvious reward is a physical object. For free cultural works, a nicely presented, aesthetically pleasing physical copy of the works could be a lovely memento (even if on a DVD rather than dead tree). For free software, a little more creativity is required as we so rarely arrive at software via a physical medium these days. Then again a copy of your software on a floppy disk (if you can fit it on) could be a really retro treat.

Physical things

make sure you have a nice logo / design team!

  • Stickers (great for laptops)
  • Postcards
  • Clothing – t-shirts, hats, pens
  • Mug/coffee cup
  • Keyring
  • USB drive
  • 3D printed object (of the logo? or something useful?)

Virtual things

  • Warm fuzzies (i.e. nothing)
  • Attribution on a website/Twitter shoutout/blog mention/etc
  • Digital wallpaper

Software things

  • Sponsored commit (acknowledge a donor in the commit message)
  • Copy of the sofware on a CD (…)
  • Early access to src (exclusive beta testing!)
  • Personal easter egg in the software
  • Influence/suggestions over features
  • Support (over email/video/in person)
  • Access to a hosted service/custom install
  • Extra theme (conditional on a number of people signing at that level e.g. Mailpile‘s ‘Paranoid Android’)

Extravagant things

  • Personal visit/video hangout
  • Personally cooked meal
  • Flowers
  • Invite to launch event
  • Road trip