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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.

Thunderbird year-to-year donations: 2017 through 2021
Thunderbird year-to-year donations: 2017 through 2021

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:

But we’re not done expanding the team! For those interested, we are still hiring!

A pie chart showing Thunderbird spending in 2021.
Total Thunderbird spending in 2021

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.

Thunderbird is the leading open-source, cross-platform email and calendaring client, free for business and personal use. We want it to stay secure and become even better. A donation will allow us to hire developers, pay for infrastructure, expand our userbase, and continue to improve.

Click here to make a donation

10 responses

Antonio wrote on

Great content! Wish you continued success!

Kenny wrote on

I’d love to know why TB does not import Eudora 7.1, the last version made.
If it would, and I knew where the files for it were stored for backups, i would instantly be a donator.
but it does not.

You cannot install Eudora from its own exe file now. Any version of Windows in the last 4 years will not let you.
The work around is to install Hermes, from just to get it working on any recent version of Windows 10.

Adam wrote on

Awesome! Just come across a usecase where I needed a second mail client for seperation and Thunderbird is filling the role beautifully. Looking forward to getting more involved in the community, but great to see that it’s a thriving product 🙂

Jason Evangelho wrote on

Adam, that’s awesome! We can’t wait for you to see what’s coming in the next 2 versions. Thanks for trying Thunderbird and have fun!

Patrick Barbary wrote on

I have donated twice. I will donate again when I can synch TB and my Google contact. This is most needed.

miki64 wrote on

I would have liked to see the rankings for each nation of the amounts donated to the project.
Here there are proposals to improve Thunderbird, (in italian), here is my beloved motorcycle that wears Thunderbird livery

Kumar Akshat wrote on

So happy so see Thunderbird making a comeback.
I have been using it for such a long time. Its awesome to see it thriving.

Servizio wrote on

I am an elderly person. Before, Thunderbird was easy for me to use because all the icons had different colors and I understood the various functions even if I didn’t focus on the same icons. Now that Thunderbird no longer has colors in the buttons and icons, I don’t use it anymore and I’m sorry. Will you go back to making a colored interface and no longer all gray, indistinguishable? Among Mozilla’s missions there should also be some help for us who have these visual difficulties. Thank you.

Jason Evangelho wrote on

Thank you for leaving us a comment about this, and we’re sorry that Thunderbird stopped fitting your needs.
You might be happy to learn that in our new version (102) in late June, we’re bringing back colored folder icons, AND letting you independently adjust the font size of the entire application. You can see both in action via this short video on Twitter:

Thunderbird geht’s gut - LinuxNews wrote on

[…] stockte und die Zukunft war des Öfteren ungewiss. Dass diese Zeiten nun vorbei sind, belegt der erste Finanzbericht des neuen Marketing-Managers Jason Evangelho, den einige vielleicht von seinen Linux-Artikeln für […]

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