Tor's First Crowdfunding Campaign
When we launched this first crowd funding campaign, we weren’t sure what would happen. We knew we wanted to diversify our funding sources; crowd funding gives us flexibility to do what we think is most important, when we want to do it. It allows us to fund the development of powerful new privacy tools. Or make the ones we have stronger and more resilient. Or pay for things we need like a funded help desk or an Arabic version of our web site.
But we didn’t know if people who like Tor would actually invest in our independence.
Now we do.
Together, our community has contributed $205,874 from 5,265 people to support Tor in this first crowdfunding campaign. We are so excited.
What we’ve seen, we think, is our community in action—our whole community finding ways to support us—by making a donation, or by sending us a bug bounty as GitHub hackers did. By making a matching donation, or just pinging their friends to help out.
Following our theme "This Is What a Tor Supporter Looks Like," you sent in photos of yourselves in Tor t-shirts doing back bends or teaching your daughters how to use Tor browser, or covering your face to preserve your anonymity but trumpet your support for Tor.
You sent fundraising notes to giant email lists. You tweeted screenshots of your donations. You bragged about your Tor relays (thank you) to inspire others. Some of you pointed out that Tor has saved your life.
The international Tor community rose up to support Tor’s independence in every way it could think of. And independence is power. Power to defend the rights of human rights activists. Power to defend the privacy of all of us.
Even though we’re a privacy organization, we found out what a Tor supporter looks like. It's someone who takes action to support their right to privacy.
Our deepest thanks to Tor’s wonderful champions, who put on the T-shirt first and took the plunge to support Tor in our first-ever campaign:
Amanda Palmer and baby Anthony
Rabbi Rob and Lauren Thomas
Daniel Ellsberg and Patricia Marx Ellsberg
By Kate Krauss, for Tor's fundraising team:
Isabela Bagueros, Juris Vetra, Leiah Jansen, Mike Perry, Shari Steele, Sue Gardner, Katherine Bergeron, Nima Fatemi, Sebastian Hahn, Roger Dingledine, Nick Mathewson, Ben Moskowitz, Jacob Appelbaum, Katina Bishop, Colin Childs, and Kate Krauss.
I attempted to donate to Tor via your bitcoin donation page (using Tor). First i got a server timeout page when trying to access the Tor donation page, i refreshed and it appeared, i was given the default option of donating via paypal (no thanks) and went to see what these "other" options were, saw the Bitcoin donation form, upon clicking the bitcoin button i was redirected to cloudflare's obnoxious MiTM captcha page, then after completing that i was redirected to bitpay and was served a 404 - Page not found.
Come. The. F. On.
Yes indeed. This is an example of something we'd like to clean up for future funding campaigns. This one was a great experiment, and also it turned out really well, but there is plenty of room for making things smoother next time.
Another big one was that sometimes Paypal would just give you a blank white page, if you were coming over a few particular Tor exit relays. You could change your circuit and it would work, but a) you have to know to do that, and b) it's super easy to decide to just stop there. I'd like to have more options than just Paypal, or heck, eventually just have our own payment receiving mechanism.
No US non-profit has ever 1) possessed a bitcoin and 2) passed an A-133 audit. I'm not saying it can't be done, but our choice of Bitpay, way back when, was based in large part on the "choose your battles" argument.
Thank you, hadn't realized that part about the audit.
I'm glad the drive overall was a success, and continue to use Amazon Smile to donate to the Tor project that way.
A good example, by the way, of why it is so important that Tor supporters be somewhat aware of the political/legal realities of trying to create a user-supported NGO on US soil. Many problems are created by USG, not by what some insist on trying to interpret as TP ineptitude (which is usually absurd).