Patreon is a community membership service that lets you pledge monthly donations, at a price you set yourself, to creators.
Back in December 2017 I first created a Patreon account to support Vasily "bezumkin" Naumkin with his work on the MODX core. Shortly after that I added pledges to the creators of PHPunit, FlySystem, and Wait But Why (which has nothing to do with programming, but is just one of my favourite blogs on the internet). At a later point in 2018 I also pledged to Homebrew.
They're all small amounts, more a token of my support and gratitude than anything else. The largest part was for Vasily ($25, until July), and the others were $3-5 each for a total of $38.
There are no tangible benefits, other than making sure that the software doesn't just go away by rewarding the creator. I routinely spend more money on stupid things I don't really need (like a huge foam enter button), while what these creators share with the world is much more valuable, so that's a really good deal.
They are also recurring, automatically charged monthly, which starts to add up over time.
In 2018 my personal Patreon donations totalled at $348. Still not enough to pay anyone's bills or full time employment, but probably more than I would've donated to these projects if they only accepted one-off donations, and the numbers do get more meaningful for the creator when you consider the effect of more people contributing. Previously these creators would fund their work through client work, sacrifice free time after a day job, rely on one-time donations, or juggle things in another way, while with Patreon they're offered a predictable (extra) income directly attributable to the work they share.
After a chat about the work that goes into my open source projects and in particular the work that goes into the MODX core, I decided to set up my own Patreon yesterday.
I am fortunate enough that I have a business that's running well and pays the bills, but I still constantly have to prioritise my time and energy. When the to do list explodes, or energy gets low (yay, burnout), I have to choose what things to work on. The reality of running a business is that things that make money are more important than things that don't, and as a result it's usually the open source work that gets snoozed first even though I strongly believe that the work I do on the MODX project should be an important part of my day-to-day work.
So that's where Patreon comes in.
By supporting me on Patreon, you're supporting my work for the MODX core and open source extras. Every contribution shows that these hours upon hours of work are worth something to you, and that will motivate me to keep up and make more time available to keep making the CMS you use better, one PR at a time.
If you're interested in supporting others in the MODX community, check out Joshua Lückers' Patreon, who is the most recent person to become a MODX integrator and has been putting in lots of hours as well.
I'm not aware of any other MODXers with a Patreon page at the moment (Vasily shut his down in July), but if you find any, or have any other Patreons you support, leave a comment below :)