LanguageTool looking for donations

LanguageTool is going to start looking for donations soon. The reason is that we’d like to do more and provide more stable services.

Our current expenses

How are we planning to spend the money?

  • Move from a single server to two servers with a load balancer for more robust services: €66 (estimated, Amazon AWS)
  • Soon, we’ll hopefully also have a student to work on machine learning for error detection. The exact amount for that hasn’t been decided yet, but it will be around €500 per month for a period of six months.

To cover all these costs by donations, we’d need:

€12 Forum
€66 servers
€500 student

€578/month for a period of six months

There are more ideas, like paying students to write error detection rules, but with €578/month we’d reach our first goal. If that sounds like much, it’s less than 30 users contributing €20 each.

We now have to decide how asking for donations will work: what payment provider are we going to use? Or are we going to use a platform like patreon? This is something I don’t have any experience with, so please share your ideas.


Here’s an overview of how some other Open Source projects collect donations:

  • - monthly or one-time donations via paypal or credit card (implemented via stripe)
  • - a lot of options (Paypal, Flattr, Bitcoin, Wire Transfer, Cheque), managed via GNOME foundation
  • - monthly or one-time donations via paypal
  • - one-time donation via paypal as part of a special “End of Year 2016 Fundraising”
  • - via paypal or via credit card using Concardis payengine

These are much larger projects than LT. If you know about projects the size of LT that collect donations, please post them here.

Flattr and PayPal are great, but I think the easiest way for most users would be a traditional bank account they can transfer money to.

The option to pay directly into a bank account is good, but it should not be the only option.

To send money from my bank to a non-UK bank account costs me approximately 10 euros. If we ask for donations, we should not expect the contributor to pay bank charges.

I agree, it was meant as an additional option.

  • Mageia linux - a lot of options (Paypal, Bitcoin, Bank Transfer, via check)

A first version of the donation page (not yet linked) is available here:

It would be nice if someone could test it via PayPal with a small one-time amount, I’ll soon test it via credit card.

I tested with a credit card. The process was simple.I received a receipt soon after I paid.

Comments about the process:

  1. The selection of ‘One-time’ or ‘Monthly’ is not as clear as possible.I think the selection would be clearer if radio buttons were used (like the options for the amount.)
  2. As a business, I can claim the donation against tax. But, to do that, the receipt should contain more information. Include the registered address and the USt-IdNr (same as on the Imprint, LanguageTool - Imprint).
  3. Tell people that they will receive a receipt.

The page looks good, though I have not tested it.

In Opera (Chromium) and Firefox, the only change I would make is to improve the visual consistency, either by enlarging the donation widget to the same width of the text, or centering the widget on the page.

I agree, but it seems we’re limited to what DonorBox offers here. DonorBox is a service that makes the whole process very easy, but we lose a flexibility when it comes to the design of the form.

I’ve added that. At least in Germany and from a tax point of view, this donation is an expense like any other. That’s because LT isn’t a recognized nonprofit.

I would not put your bank account information online. It is a bad idea.

We did this many years ago and a criminal started manufacturing checks and using them for fraud.

It was all resolved and did not end up costing us anything, but there were some vendors who accepted the checks that got burned.

IMHO PayPal should be sufficient for almost everyone… take the bank account info off ASAP.

What country was that? There are thousands and thousands of publically known accounts, how should customers pay their invoices without knowing the account information?

The German Wikimedia chapter also publishes its IBAN+BIC for donations (, and many others do it, too.

So who could test PayPal? I can’t, as I only have one PayPal account and that’s already the account that gets the money, so I assume I cannot use it to also send the money at the same time.

For more transparency, I’ll list all donations in this spreadsheet. That page will be updated at least once a month, or more often in case there are many or large donations.

Two tests are still needed so we can announce and link the donations page:

  • Someone needs to make a small one-time donation via PayPal.
  • I must make sure the money actually gets transferred to the donation account. This will take about a week.

I have just donated €2.

Notice that the PayPal login page appears in German and it doesn’t allow to donate only €1 (it says the minimum is €2).

Thanks, the donation via PayPal works.

Not sure why that happens, I’ll ask support about that.

This topic should probably be pinned in the topic list.

I couldn’t fix this, so I’ve added a separate PayPal button to instead. Could anybody test this? You can donate €1 or maybe less.

Thanks @Jan_Schreiber for testing it, it worked. Was the process okay from your point of view, too? Then I’ll add a link to the donation page to the page’s top navigation.