GitHub announced today that it is opening up the beta of GitHub Sponsors, a new feature that will let users financially support their favorite developers and open source applications. The digital tip jar will operate similarly to Patreon, with donors able to select a certain sponsorship tier and set up monthly recurring payments. For the first year of the program, GitHub is offering to match contributions up to $5,000 through its GitHub Sponsors Matching Fund.
During the beta, only certain developers will eligible to receive donations. A "Sponsor" button will appear on their profile, which users can click on to set up a recurring gift to support their work. For the first year, GitHub is waiving all processing fees related to the program to ensure 100 percent of donations go to creators. As the program expands, it will encompass all contributors on GitHub, including those who provide code, documentation, leadership, mentorship, design and other functions. GitHub may also allow organizations -- rather than just individuals -- to sponsor projects and developers in the future.
In addition to funding individual contributors, GitHub will also give open source projects the ability to set up funding directly from their repository. Project maintainers and contributors will be able to set up how the funding works, including showcasing sponsors, selecting from a number of popular funding models and linking to alternative funding platforms.