Ways to increase monthly revenue for your open source repos on GitHub
Creating free open-source content is great for the community and soul. However, more often than not, these are created in our spare time outside normal working hours.
As your repos grow, it becomes difficult to upkeep numerous support issues and feature improvements. GitHub recently introducted Sponsors in the last year. You can think of it a bit like Patreon or The Open Collective. A user will show support by donating money to you each month (or one-off) via different tiers.
GitHub makes the process fairly simple and users can even pay via PayPal. A few years ago, most repos relied on Patreon or even Bitcoin ID's. With GitHub offering this within the app, now has never been a better time to start making income for your hard work.
GitHub currently only let you email sponsors via their dashboard with updates. Depending on your growth strategy, we found that it only really benefits sponsors that have been with you at the start. If someone was to sponsor today, and you had been sharing content weekly via email, they wouldn't see all the great guides and posts you made prior.
While the public repo should be enough for people to consider a sponsorship, users these days always want more. To help incentise and grow your sponsorship community, you could offer written articles for users that extend a repo's feature set further.
Writing articles that extend a feature set of your repo is a great incentive. Time taken to write these articles, share example code are one of the many ways to provide extra value. An example of this would be on Stancl's Laravel Tenancy package.
We have also seen cases where sponsorships could give access to screencasts. A great example of that is on Laravel Livewire's documentation
You can check an example of how Proly shows screencast content to only sponsors here.
You could offer access to your discord community to sponsors only and provide faster support questions. Currently, you'd probably need to use GitHub's graphQL api to check if they are sponsored and pop them into Discord. Zapier may even automate that process.
Offering teaser articles or maybe the first couple of screencasts are a great lead into sponsorships. Let the user see what value your content provides and make them want to read more.
An example of how Proly shows teaser content can be found here.
As mentioned earlier, you can make use of GitHub's newsletter style feature to post updates to current sponsors. However, any content written prior to a new sponsorship won't be easily seen.
Proly let's you write articles, post screencasts via YouTube/Vimeo and group them into collections for specific repos. You can even schedule posts to work around your schedule.
For more information and a free trial, check out our homepage
We also have a special offer right now if you make less than $300 per year through GitHub sponsors, you can apply for a full years pro subscription free of charge! Get in touch for more info.
For those that want to dive into the code yourself, GitHub offer a GraphQL api that offers basic support right now for checking sponsorships - we use this internally! You can read more about it here.
I hope that gave some insight into growing your GitHub sponsors. It's no easy task, but if you offer these incentives to people, I reckon it'll help kickstart growth compared to the standard offerings by GitHub at the moment.
Caleb from Livewire wrote a really great article on his Sponsorship journey as well if you need some inspiration :)
Happy coding! - Scott