Thunderbird Financial Report 2020 shows strong year-to-year growth

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 22, 2021
Updated • Mar 22, 2021
Companies, Email, Thunderbird

MZLA Technologies, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mozilla Foundation, released the financial report 2020 for Thunderbird last week.

The entire Thunderbird project moved from being a part of Mozilla Foundation, which it was a part of since 2017, to the newly founded MZLA Technologies Corporation.

The financial report gives interested users a glimpse of the project's earnings and expenses, and provides an outlook.

thunderbird donations financials

Almost the entire revenue comes from donations. Donations rose to a new record in 2020, with more than $2.3 million US Dollars received in that year. The project received a little bit more than $1.5 million US Dollars in 2019 as donations, which means that donations increased by about 800,000 US Dollars in 2020.

Donations have increased each year since the move to Mozilla Foundation in 2017. In 2017, the project team received about $700,000 U.S Dollars in donations, in 2018 donations crossed the one million mark and ended at about $1.2 million US Dollars.

Donations are the main income of the project. While Thunderbird does receive non-donation income from a partnership with the email provider Gandi, earnings amounted to "less than a fraction of a fraction of a percent" according to the report.

On the spending side, expenses amounted to $1.55 million US Dollars in 2020. Most of the money was spent on personnel, more than 82%, followed by professional services, more than 10%, and donation transaction fees, which sits at 4.8% of total expenses.

The Thunderbird team consists of 15 people currently, the majority are engineers. The team plans to hire new personnel to "help tackle the objectives laid out in [the] roadmap", but spending remains within the revenue the project team earns from donations.

Thunderbird has about $3 million US Dollars in the bank currently; development could proceed for nearly 2 years without any new income coming in.

It seems likely that donations to the project will continue to increase, and that 2021 will be another record year in regards to project donations. Expenses will rise as well if new team members are hired, but the ambitious plans for Thunderbird 91 and beyond would help reach those goals.

Closing Words

Thunderbird is doing well in all departments, and the outlook is positive. Thunderbird users, and everyone else, may donate to the project on the official Give page. (via Sören Hentzschel)

Thunderbird Financial Report 2020 shows strong year-to-year growth
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Thunderbird Financial Report 2020 shows strong year-to-year growth
MZLA Technologies, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mozilla Foundation, released the financial report 2020 for Thunderbird last week.
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  1. ULBoom said on April 4, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    Good. After a rough start, T Bird works well now. We only use two extensions, Compact Headers and Auto Select Latest Message (which may not be needed now.) Keeps client from opening where you closed it; starts with latest message downloaded.

    I’ve tried a number of other clients, most paid, and they all either don’t work smoothly or have a terrible interface. A few are just ancient versions of T Bird with many of the features missing. Silly, they want money for that?

  2. Anonymous said on March 22, 2021 at 11:29 am

    They get everything they need in donations to work more than comfortably, more than 2 million dollars in 2020. It’s just an email client, no need for billions. Everything was fine.

    But no. Let’s become for-profit. Let’s keep receiving those same donations as a for-profit, which stinks. Donating to for-profits, really ? Are you that dumb nowadays ? And next to that let’s prepare a future of Mozilla-style shady deals. Because you kids don’t understand that bills need to be paid, right ?

    1. ULBoom said on April 4, 2021 at 5:37 pm

      Uh, yeah. From your last sentence, I can’t tell if this is snark or not but non-profits are allowed to make more than they spend. What they do with the money is what’s regulated.

  3. John C. said on March 22, 2021 at 11:14 am

    Thanks for this information, Martin. I’m using the most current version of Thunderbird and it’s working nicely for me. This news means that the program will most likely be around for a while. At this point, and believe me I’ve looked around, IMO TB is the best freeware email/news reader available. When the developers moved completely to web-extensions, I was easily able to find alternatives for the extensions that didn’t get ported over. Of course, I might just have been lucky in that regard, but I do use a total of 13 extensions (not counting the search engines):

    Compact Headers: 2.19
    Filter on Folder Button: 1.3.0
    Hide Local Folders for TB78++: 1.0.1
    ImportExportTools NG: 10.0.4
    Limit non-BCC recipients: 2.1.0
    Manually sort folders: 2.0.6
    Message Header Toolbar Customize: 2.1.0
    Phoenity Buttons: 4.0b2
    Rise of the Tools:
    ThunderHTMLedit: 3.1.13
    Toggle HTML: 1.3
    URL Link: 3.5.1
    Xpunge: 2.1.1

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