Financial numbers are in from the Tor Project’s donations campaign, “Strength in Numbers.”
The non-profit organization was able to amass a total of over $460,000 during the year 2018.
According to the Tor Project’s blog, over half of this amount was raised during their annual end-of-year donations campaign.
The Strength in Numbers campaign, which last year ran from October 23 to December 31, saw donations from individuals rise than ever before.
Additionally, Mozilla agreed to match every donation during the fundraising campaign which equally saw an anonymous donor who offered to match all new donor contributions up to $20,000.
The organization gained 100 new monthly donors and received more than $97,000 from 2,029 new donors during the campaign.
The Tor Project stated that the funds collected from individuals as well as from Mozilla would be utilized to:
- Strengthen the development of their Android-based browser that is currently in alpha. This would facilitate them to accommodate the increasing number of users, especially those with limited bandwidth.
- Improvements on the Tor network by increasing modularization, capacity as well as scalability to make sure that users are more secure.
- A better solutions around internet censorship, allowing people living under oppressive governments to access the internet freely with enhanced privacy.
Numbers from Previous Campaigns
In 2015 Tor Project’s revenue was around $3.3 million, according to tax filings [PDF]. This was up from $2.5 million in 2014, making it the highest year income to date. There was, in addition, an increase in donations from other non-government entities and individuals. But a substantial portion of the revenue (86 percent) was from government-related grants.
But to reduce its dependency on government funds, the organization embarked on a crowdfunding campaign in late-2015. Furthermore, the Tor Project has stated that government funding is based on two common contract models.
The first, milestone-based model, is where the organization chooses a set of objectives as well as the prices that accurately reflect the cost of undertaking the project.
The second, cost reimbursement model, is designed so that the government agency that is funding directs where and how the money is invested.
Tor Project’s Ongoing Partnership with Mozilla
The productive partnership between Mozilla and Tor saw the latter raise over $400,000 from a similar campaign in 2017.
Mozilla has also benefited from the partnership with Tor Project. Developers have been integrating privacy features into Firefox.
An example of a well-known utility is the Enhanced Tracking Protection feature that was actually based on fingerprinting domains used by Tor.
In conclusion, the amount raised in the “Strength in Numbers” campaign is a moderate sum compared to funding amounts that other tech startups and non-profits have received.
However, it represents a significant and independent source of funding as opposed to a reliance on government grants.