about/

note: the following is the original, old intro. We’re preparing updated video and intro page for the main site. The old intro is still a good reference though.

Intro to Snowdrift.coop

Things like computer programs, art, music, texts, research, data, plans…

These are all soft wares…

soft things imagined in a fuzzy cloud

They take effort to produce but cost little or nothing to copy and share.


Today, we have two ways support their development:

Proprietary

lock things down,
charge for access and/or show ads

Project teams get paid, but restrictions block freedoms to access, use, modify, and share!

Free/Libre/Open (FLO)

voluntary community development

Freedoms for all! Open access! Collaboration! But limited funding often means slow and fragmented progress.

In principle, we could get both funding and freedom…

The funds that now go toward proprietary access could instead fund FLO projects…

With livable salaries, core teams could dedicate full time and energy…

Volunteers could still contribute creatively, and those who can’t afford time or money would still have access…

Practical problems

Consider the snowdrift dilemma:

A big snowdrift blocks the road. Who will clear it?
If we don’t trust everyone to do their part,
then each of us waits to see if others will get to work…

The fundraising dilemma

Simple requests for donations only go so far.

As in clearing the snowdrift, people hesitate to do their part if they don’t trust that everyone else will come help.

Changing the economic system requires coordination.

How about crowdfunding campaigns?

To assure a critical mass of supporters, most crowdfunding sites use all-or-nothing fund-drives with hard deadlines.

These one-off campaigns sometimes work but have several problems. They are risky and often costly, offer little accountability, and usually rely on special rewards (thus favoring proprietary projects).

Solving the dilemma

To provide flexible, sustainable, and effective support for FLO projects, a solution will need both:

  • Ongoing engagement so the community can build trust
  • A social contract that provides mutual assurance

Introducing:

Instead of just donating unilaterally, patrons select projects to support and announce to the world:

Each month,

I will donate 1¢

for every 10 others who join me!

We call this fundraising approach crowdmatching.

Of course, patrons have different means, so wealthier patrons can set their match level higher

Maximum impact, minimum risk

With our system, nobody goes it alone.

Each pledge encourages more patrons to join.

A network effect

Everyone works together to support the most deserving projects!


more patrons × more $ per patron = quadratic funding growth

Budgeting your support

Each patron controls their own budget.
If budget limits are hit, patrons can choose to increase their budget or decide which projects to drop, and they can adjust their pledges at any time.

Accountability

As long as projects continue to do good work and respond to feedback,

they will receive ongoing support,

allowing them to prosper and grow.

A democratic platform

We’re organizing as a non-profit member-owned cooperative,

part of the international co-op movement

and we will fund ourselves as a project on the site instead of taking a cut from others.

Click here to read more about the Snowdrift.coop premise

Or jump in and try it…

Register an account to pledge. As we develop the system, we’ll add more clear charts and stats and more features to help projects succeed and keep patrons engaged.