I would like to propose that Sugar Labs reconsiders adding a membership structure for donors. It appears this was already discussed in the oversight board meeting that took place 2008/09/19, as indicated in the meeting minutes excerpt:"We also discussed the idea of members dues, but reached consensus that it wasn't a good idea at this stage." (http://sugarlabs.org/go/Sugar_Labs/OversightBoard/Meeting_Minutes-2008-09-19)
As a potential donor, I see the following benefits to implementing a membership structure:
- It is easier to introduce other potential donors to the project when one brandishes a fancy membership card.
- Annual membership payments would match nicely with the annual salary requirements of paid developers.
- Membership tenure (in the form of cheaper renewals, bounty points, etc . . .) could be used to entice existing members to renew their memberships.
Some examples of other non-profit organizations that utilize a membership based donation system:
- The Planetary Society (https://planetary.org/join/membership/)
- Founded in 1980
- Free Software Foundation (https://www.fsf.org/associate/support_freedom/join_fsf?referrer=4052)
- Provides members with bootable membership cards
- Electronic Frontier Foundation (https://secure.eff.org/site/Donation?ACTION=SHOW_DONATION_OPTIONS&CAMPAIGN_ID=1082&JServSessionIdr006=8sqitlker1.app13b)
- Receive a T-shirt and/or hat with membership
If you donate hardware to Sugar Labs and give us a full inventory that you donate, we will send a letter back that acknowledges the in-kind donation. As far as the value of the donation and how much you can you use as a tax deduction, that's up to the donor to discuss with their accountant, using the acknowledgment of the in-kind donation. In other words, the recipient 501(c)(3) organization doesn't get involved with what the financial value is, it merely acknowledges for the donor that the physical items have been received as an in-kind donation on a particular date. The rest is for the donor and their accountants to figure out.