But to start with and to help with context, I think I should explain who they are and what they do.
The Django Software Foundation(DSF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organisation that develops and maintains Django, the free and open source web application framework that we all know and love!
Like most open-source foundations, the goal of the DSF is to promote, support, and advance its open-source project. In this case, the Django Web framework.
The Django Software foundation's goals are to:
But, did you know that Django relies on donations each year to keep running?
Operating as a non-profit independent foundation the Django Software Foundation has a modest fundraising budget of $200,000 per year to operate!
Where does that money go?
Annually, the DSF’s biggest expense is the Django Fellowship Program. This is the project where paid contractors (Fellows) are employed to manage the Django project and to support the ongoing development of Django itself!
Since it started in 2015, the Django Fellowship program has had a major impact on how Django is developed and maintained.
The Django Fellows, alongside the triage team work through lots of new tickets each week, reviewing and merging non-trivial patches from the community.
Major releases happen on an 8 month schedule and bug fix releases occur monthly, all led by the Fellows. Django Version 5.0 is imminent and wouldn't be possible without the Fellows.
There are many other initiatives that the DSF runs each year that you may or may not be aware of or benefit from. These include:
For most people who use Django, this work goes unseen. I don’t know how many people even know that the DSF exists or why Django is the tech of choice of their employer. They use it and they benefit from everything that happens behind the scenes.
Last year around 5000 people took part in the Django developer survey but I’m sure as a recruiter who has spoken to thousands of people in the 15+ years that the actual number of developers is much higher.
Imagine how easy it would be to fund the DSF each year if every person who took the survey also donated.
If those 5,000 people taking the survey donated $40 each and Django would be funded for the whole year. Estimating that only 10% of all django developers took that survey, this could mean there are 50,000 Django developers globally. If they each gave $10 per year then the DSF would more than double their fundraising target.
Just think how amazing the Django community and Django itself would be with that level of funding!
This is not realistic though, not everyone can individually afford to donate. That really is ok, developers can do other things to give back if they want to.
It’s also ok if you don’t or can't give back.
According to GitHub sponsors there are 150 current sponsors through their platform. This is a mixture of individual and corporate sponsors.
There are thousands of companies that use Django. They benefit from the amazing work this community does and they get to build great software which they profit from. These companies employ tens of thousands of Django Developers each year.
This is in part, a way to give back. But could your company do more? Maybe point your CEO/CFO in the direction of the DSF Corporate Members page or towards FOSS Funders.
There are actually ONLY 37 (at the time of writing) companies that donate each year to the DSF. Giving from $2,000 to over $30,000 each.
These are the Corporate Members of the Django Software Foundation.
The current level of sponsorship, through individual donations, leadership-leaders (companies donating $1,000+ per year) and these corporate members means that the DSF should hit its annual goal each year.
At the time of writing this the DSF is currently at 80.1% of its fundraising goal for 2023.
The way I see it. As a recruitment business, Foxley Talent is paid to find Django Developers for our clients.
Therefore Foxley Talent benefits from the work of the DSF, the skills of Django Developers and the innovation of the companies building their products in Django.
As such we have pledged to give 5% of our profits each year to the Django Software Foundation.
In addition, we support the major conferences by attending, sponsoring and participating. This is our team at DjangoCon US 2023 in Durham, NC.
We share our knowledge with the community for free at every opportunity and have given talks at conferences, online and at local events.
In the last 18 months we have set up and have been growing the Django.Social community. Creating free to attend social events for Django Developers. This has now grown to over 600 members, 8 groups in 4 countries with more to follow next year.
We do benefit commercially from our involvement in the community. As most of the companies and developers we work with come to us because of our reputation.
We are in a unique position where all we do all day, every day is speak to Django people. So we play our part in the community bringing people together, sharing our knowledge and sharing stories/news from around the Django world.
This goes full circle, by giving back to the community more people want to work with us. This means we are more profitable and are able to spend more supporting the community.
The more profitable we are, the more money we will give to the DSF. In turn, our reputation grows, we make more money and therefore can donate more.
But this isn’t just about growing our profits (and donations) but it links back to my beliefs and the gratitude I have to this amazing community.
A community that has given me such a warm welcome (as a non-technical member) over the years, presenting me opportunities in my personal and professional life that wouldn’t have been possible if I worked as a recruiter in another sector.
We don’t measure the ROI on our donation. It’s not an investment!
For me and the other Directors of Foxley Talent it’s just the right thing to do!
A phrase I regularly hear about Django is: “People come for the software but stay for the community!” - It couldn’t be more true!
I suppose in this blog post, I wanted to explain why we donate to the DSF but it has evolved into something more. If this inspires one business owner to donate, one individual developer to donate or a developer to ask their employer to donate then the whole community will benefit too.
To finish, I wanted to say a giant THANK YOU to the Django Software Foundation and the Django Community as a whole.