Why Fundraising Matters

Geoffrey MacDougall

We are about to launch Mozilla’s largest and most ambitious fundraising campaign. Ever.

The success of the Mozilla project is the direct result of one thing: contribution. We are a global movement of people who give their time and resources to build, shape, and teach people about the Web we need. Contribution empowers us to compete — and win — against closed systems, deep pockets, and misguided regulation.

Mozillians care about the Web. We understand its power and its potential. We believe that an open Web is the foundation for civic, cultural, and economic engagement.

But we also recognize that the Web is under threat. That what we call the ‘world’s largest public resource’ is susceptible to walled gardens, privacy violations, and centralized control. And that if we are going to win, if open is going to beat closed, we will need all the contributions of time, expertise, and money we can get.

This year, Mozilla will have a total operating budget of around $311M. That’s a huge amount of money by any measure, except the one we face: the combined strength of our competitors. Last year, Google spent more on advertising than we spent on everything.

There are two ways to look at this. The first is to be discouraged at the scale of the challenge.

But the second is to marvel at what we’ve achieved so far. To realize that a small community has built something amazing that not only competes, but wins against big odds. And to get excited about what that group of people can do next.

We are hard at work pursuing that dream. We are are teaching thousands more people how to help build the web, launching strong products into the mobile space, and working to get better at fundraising. To make donating a meaningful way to contribute to the mission.

Our community has an enormous, nearly untapped capacity to raise money for the Web. And what’s more, the dedication of our contributors and the reach of our products positions us to raise amounts that can truly drive our growth.

Health charities raise tens of millions from donor bases a tenth our size. At the high end, universities and international aid organizations raise hundreds of millions each year. While a program this scale is a long way away, it’s possible in the short term to see us match Wikimedia, which raised more than $30M last year.

Starting in November, we’ll be using e-mail and social media to tell our shared story, engage new contributors, and grow the pool of resources we all need to achieve our vision of an open web. Watch for it, share the message, and help us hit our goals. #lovetheweb