Thunderbird By The Numbers: Our 2021 Financial Report
Transparency and open source go hand-in-hand. But just because Thunderbird’s development work, roadmap, and financials are public, doesn’t always mean they’re well publicized.
That’s where my role as Marketing Manager comes into focus. To shine a spotlight on the numbers, the features, the facts, and the future. I want to keep you informed without you needing to hunt down every scrap of information!
With that in mind, let’s talk about money. Specifically, Thunderbird’s income for 2021, and how it positively affects our team, our product, and our roadmap.
Thunderbird Income in 2021
You may have heard rumors of Thunderbird’s demise, or assumed that the project’s financial outlook was bleak. Thankfully, that’s not remotely close to reality.
In fact, 2021 was a very successful year for Thunderbird. Our income, which is sourced almost entirely by user donations, totaled $2,796,996. That represents a 21% increase over donations in 2020, and it’s more than twice the amount we received in 2018.
Do we have other sources of income? Yes, but that non-donation income is negligible, and represents less than a fraction of a fraction of one percent. It comes from our partnerships with Gandi and Mailfence for users to get new email addresses. That said, we are exploring other potential revenue opportunities beyond user donations, but only those that align with our mission and values. (When we make concrete decisions regarding those opportunities, you’ll read about them here).
Thunderbird Spending in 2021
In total we spent $1,984,510 last year. The majority of that (78.1%) was allocated to Thunderbird personnel. These are the talented full-time employees and contractors paid to work on Thunderbird. And with an increase in generous donations, we’ve been able to grow our core staff.
We currently employ a talented team of 20 people in the following roles:
- Technical Manager
- Product and Business Development Manager
- Community Manager
- QA Engineer
- Add-ons Coordinator
- Lead UX Architect
- Security Engineer
- Senior Developers x3
- Developers x4
- Infra Team Lead
- Build Engineer
- Thunderbird Release Engineer / Web Infra Engineer
- Director of Operations
- Marketing Manager
But we’re not done expanding the team! For those interested, we are still hiring!
The pie chart above breaks down the rest of Thunderbird’s spending in 2021.
“Professional Services” include things like HR (Human Resources), tax services, and agreements with other Mozilla entities (for example, access to build infrastructure). The remaining items help us to run the business, such as various services and technology that help us communicate and manage operations.
2022 and 2023: Not Surviving, THRIVING!
As 2021 came to a close, we had a total of $3,616,032 in the bank. This means we can afford to pursue a variety of bold initiatives that will radically improve Thunderbird. We don’t want to just meet your expectations of what a modern, best-in-class communication tool can be. We want to exceed them.
And you’ve graciously given us those resources!
Moving forward, you’ll see fantastic new features and quality-of-life improvements in Thunderbird 102 this June.
Also happening in June: we’ll also be unveiling our plans to bring Thunderbird to Android, providing a much-needed open source alternative for mobile users. (June is going to be awesome!)
And in 2023, you can look forward to a modernized Thunderbird experience with a completely overhauled UX and UI.
One more thing before we sign off: having cash reserves doesn’t make us complacent. We are careful stewards of the donations we receive from you. We don’t just use it to enhance features; we invest it strategically and wisely towards ensuring long-term stability and viability of Thunderbird. That’s what you deserve!
Your ongoing contributions not only enable Thunderbird to survive, but to thrive. And we can’t thank you enough for that.