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.
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.
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