How to use and together to attract long term collaborators to your open source project.

Many open source developers will agree that contributing to open source is a “when-I-have-time” labor of love rather than an actual means of earning a living. At the same time, open source projects often struggle with building and maintaining a collaborative community over time. and are two tools aimed at solving these underlying issues. Used together, Waffle and Bountysource provide a powerful toolset for obtaining and maintaining a community of active contributors.

Getting Started with Bountysource: Fund Development and Be Funded

Bountysource is the funding platform for open source software. The platform will aggregate all of your open source project’s issues, whether they are hosted on GitHub, Bugzilla, Trac, Jira, Google Code, Launchpad, Pivotal Tracker, and/or BitBucket.

There are three ways to fund your open source project on Bountysource — fundraisers, project donations, and bounties.


Fundraisers are time-limited campaigns with a specific funding goal and are usually framed around the next big release or rewrite of a project. Fundraisers are a great way to gather early support and funds for open source developers to pursue development of high demand software.

Project Donations

Project donations are direct contributions to a project’s Team account on Bountysource. Project donations can be given at any time to support an open source project and its long term development.


Bounties are crowdfunded amounts of money tied to specific issues within a project’s issue tracker. Bounties are often posted by users who own or heavily rely on a specific project. They serve as an extra encouragement to developers looking to contribute to the project, and also help project maintainers prioritize their roadmap. Bounties are paid out to the developer who resolves the issue, meaning they can be awarded to any contributor of the project, not just official collaborators.

On the other side of the spectrum, developers can set Bounty Goals on issues they’d like to work on. The community can then crowdfund the bounty to meet the Bounty Goal, encouraging the developer to begin working on his solution.

Bountysource in Action

The Neovim project (a user of both Waffle and Bountysource) raised over $33,000 from nearly 1,000 backers to fund its development. This new community has continued to support the project (which now has over 8,000 stars on GitHub) with project donations, which are then used by the Neovim team to post bounties on the most popular feature requests.

Neovim used Bountysource for initial fundraising

Getting Started with Organize, Prioritize, and Visualize Your Work is a GitHub-powered work tracking tool for software developers. If you use GitHub Issues already, you can seamlessly turn your GitHub Issues into a kanban-style board where you can track issues that are in the backlog, ready to be worked on, in progress, or complete.

Many popular open source projects, including Neovim and the Ionic Mobile Development Framework, have had great success using Waffle for their open source repositories. Why do they love Waffle for their open source projects? Neovim founder Thiago Arruda explained to us in an earlier blog post that open source projects need tools outside of what GitHub provides for community building. At some point, when there is critical mass behind an open source project, organization becomes key for attracting both users and contributors. Ionic team member, Andy Joslin, also interviewed with us and says their team loves Waffle because it provides an improved interface for visualizing and prioritizing their GitHub Issues— to the point where they rarely use GitHub’s native Issue tracking interface anymore.

Ionic uses Waffle to organize, visualize, and prioritize their development workClick here to view Ionic’s public Waffle board in real time

Waffle has proven to be a great resource for open source projects that need a way to highlight what issues are ready to be worked on by willing contributors as well as what’s in progress at any time. Further, because Waffle uses your existing GitHub Issues as its data source, there’s no need to maintain work in an outside tool. with Bountysource: Going the Extra Mile for Your Contributors

With the organizational powers of Waffle and the fundraising powers of Bountysource, users of both platforms can create a common place for interested contributors to give back to their favorite projects while making money too.

Bountysource users can install the Bountysource GitHub Plugin from the Tools page. This plugin will allow Bountysource to automatically edit GitHub Issues with bounty details. You can choose to add a label of your choice, add the bounty amount to the issue title, append text around placing a bounty to the bottom of all open Issues, or all of the above!

Set up the Bountysource GitHub plugin

Let’s take a look at a working example of using Waffle and Bountysource together. Neovim uses the GitHub plugin to add the default label “bounty,” which can then be searched for on their Waffle board. Now all potential contributors or active collaborators can clearly see which issues have bounties attached to them!

Neovim Waffle board filtered by issues with bounties Filtering the Neovim Waffle board by the label “bounty” returns issues with bounties

We want to hear from you!

We think Bountysource + Waffle is a pretty stellar combination for the open source community. We’d love to hear if there are deeper integrations you’d like to see between the two platforms. If you’re already using either Waffle or Bountysource, please share your thoughts on using the two together in the comments below!

With the help of the amazing, we’ve just released embeddable badges for teams and issues. You can now post badges that display:

Bounties your team has open


Total bounties open on projects that your team owns


Total funds raised by your team via project donations and fundraisers


Bounties per issue


Bounties per project

* * *

Have suggestions for other badges? Let us know by opening up a GitHub issue.

Many of you have been requesting Bitcoin support on Bountysource for a while, so we’re thrilled to announce that it’s now live. All payments (bounties, pledges, donations) and cash outs can now be processed in BTC.

We’ve also added a currency switcher to the front end, so you can choose to view all funds in either USD or BTC (with more currencies coming soon).


Continue to Bountysource »

Team Donations

We’ve added support for team donations! Streamline your project’s fundraising efforts by keeping everything centered around your Bountysource team. Bounties, fundraisers, and donations are all in one place. 

Some examples to check out: elementary, Neovim, and OpenRA.

New Fee Structure

After lots of feedback, we’ve consolidated our fee structure into a standard 10% fee charged on all cash outs from Bountysource. We’ve removed fees everywhere else. 

You can read more about this on our Pricing Page.

Bounty Goals

Don’t think a bounty is high enough? Set a goal to let existing and future backers know how much you think the issue is worth. You will be notified as soon as the goal is met.

Developer Alerts & Bounty Search

Follow projects on Bountysource and get alerted every time a bounty is posted on an issue within that project. You can also keep up with new bounties with our improved Bounty Search: search for bounties to work on based on your own criteria… keyword, language, bounty amount, and/or project.

Some smaller changes…

Improved Bugzilla Integration

Added vote, priority, and severity to Bugzilla trackers. We also sync trackers more often (every 30 minutes instead of 24 hours).

"Start Work"

Let backers and other developers know you’re working on a solution to an issue. You can provide an estimated completion date, link to your code, and other notes.

Improved Project Stats

Project pages now display unique participants, thumbs (“+1”, “:thumbsup:”, and Votes), and age per issue. We’ve also added open bounty count and top backers.

If you’re in San Francisco, join us for our November drinkup! Meet the team, other users, and enjoy some drinks on us.


Where? House of Shields @ 39 New Montgomery St., San Francisco
When? Tuesday, November 5th, 6-9PM
Attending? RSVP by Friday, November 1st (Eventbrite)

Hope to see you there!

Hi, I’m Josh Dolitsky. I am a web developer from Chicago living in Los Angeles. My current weapon of choice is the MEAN stack (Mongo, Express, Angular, and Node) but I have experience with PHP, Perl, Ruby, and Python. I also maintain an open-source library called AppDotNetPHP used by developers in the community.

When I first found out about Bountysource, I was genuinely upset with myself for not coming up with the idea. It’s so simple and brilliant. There are thousands of talented programmers already writing and fixing open-source code on a daily basis, free-of-charge. Why not just incentivize them?

As an open-source developer, I saw this an opportunity to make a bunch of money. I had to try it out.

I started looking at all the bounties that were posted on the site. I could see why some of the more difficult bugs had such high payouts as they were complex and time-consuming. I wanted to find a bounty that would yield a significant amount of cash, but one that was also within the scope of my ability.

That’s when I found the bounty Every single page should have a <title> appropriate for the page’s content for $150. The project was on Bountysource’s frontend and I thought it was safe to assume that I would get the money if I fixed the issue correctly. Their site is built with Angular, which I have been working with extensively. I forked the repo and ran Bower and Grunt like the hipster I am.

After looking around the code for a bit, I discovered the problem: the Bountysource site uses frontend routing. Every time you click on a link on Bountysource, the page does not actually refresh, but instead, changes templates with Angular and loads data from an API. This made for a pretty cool setup, but it meant that the page title would always remain the same. I figured out a way to define a title for each route and submitted a pull request on the project’s GitHub.

The next day, Bountysource’s CEO, Warren Konkel, took a look at my code. He said that he liked my approach, but had a few concerns. I did my best to address his points with another commit. I didn’t hear back for a couple days, and started to wonder if they were going to use my solution or not. All of the sudden, Warren merged my code and I received an email from Bountysource saying that my solution had been accepted. If nobody disputed the solution over the next two weeks, then the bounty was mine. We have since improved the bounty pay-out process making it even quicker to get a payout. Read more here.

Sure enough, two weeks later, I received another email from Bountysource that my claim for the bounty had been fully accepted. They gave me the option to cash out the $150 via PayPal, Google Wallet, or a physical check. I asked for a physical check and gave them my home address. A few days later, I received a physical check in the mail, along with a sweet sticker to add to my ever-growing collection.

bountysource sticker

And just like that, I’m $150 richer. Bountysource is an awesome company closing the gap between open-source and proprietary software. Some of the biggest complaints about open-source is the inability to get something fixed when you need it. Do you have a major problem with your open-source software? Man up and post a bounty!

We’re really excited to be sponsoring a global hackathon put on by Geeklist, #Hack4Good. The event will run from October 4-6 all around the world, in cities such as San Francisco, New York, Moscow, London, Tel Aviv and Paris. What makes this hackathon unique is that it will revolve around solving economic and social issues - hunger, disaster relief, and more - hence the name.


Over the course of the hackathon, Geeklist will be sponsoring several workshops on the different APIs and tools available for use, as well as a meetup where all participants can interact, collaborate, and geek out over their own projects. 

Be sure to check if #Hack4Good will be coming to your city! If not, you should consider hosting your own event. If all else fails, you can participate online. 


We are proud to be involved in this event and we hope you can join us! Tweet us @Bountysource if you plan on attending.  


Bountysource has hit 10,000 users!

To celebrate this milestone, we hosted a Twitter contest for $100 in Bountysource credit. Davglass (@davglass on Twitter) won our random drawing. Congratulations!

We’re enthusiastic to continue to grow beyond 10,000 users. Thank you for all your support so far!

We had a great time hosting our first drinkup in San Francisco on Tuesday night. The Chieftain, a pub off 5th Street, made the perfect place to meet up and have a few quality drinks. The team was joined by developers and friends from a wide array of communities to talk about open-source and its importance in most organizations.

We had a great time meeting some of our local community, and we hope to meet more of you at the next drinkup!

Find all the photos here.