Dear Open Source Developers,
Do it because you love it...
I believe that open source is a wonderful thing. I've spent countless hours working open source since I started my journey in 2005. I like to solve problems and architect solutions all while sharing this with the world. I've learned more as a developer working on open source projects than on my day job.
However, greed is a bottomless pit. If you love something, just give it away. Don't ask for personal donations to fund your open source development. If your heart isn't in it, then you shouldn't be working on it. It's very easy to loose perspective on why you are involved in a project. If wishlist items or donations are the only thing that keeps you going, then just stop. You're efforts aren't helping anybody.
What to do about personal donations...
A couple years back, I was asked about a personal donation for my efforts on the Mach-II Project. I decided that all donations should be make to a charity or non-profit on a per contributor basis. Here's an example from the Mach-II Contributor's page:
For gifts of thanks to Peter, please consider donating to Second Harvest Heartland - the Upper Midwest's largest hunger-relief and food bank organization or Hands Together - helps the children of Haiti and runs a K-12 school in Cite Soleil slum for 7,400 students. They provide uniforms, books and daily meal to all students. Donations for Hands Together can be made at JustGive.
Most of the contributors for Mach-II have listed one or two places where donations can be made in their name for causes they care about. I consider myself lucky because I live a life that is more comfortable, safer and fun than the majority of my fellow human beings around the world. Just look at the disasters in Japan, New Zealand, Libya and other shaken places around the world. I don't need donations to be happy and I don't need them to stay involved in open source. My heart is in it and that is all that is required.
I hope this letter to open source developers makes you reconsider asking for personal donations. There is nothing wrong asking a business for free hosting or other infrastructure so your project can do what it needs to. We all know that most open source projects do not generate enough (or any) revenue from training and support to pay for the services needed to run their project.
So please take my challenge and ask for any personal donations to go to a charity or non-profit of your choice in your name. Help the world; you help yourself. Plus, it's great karmic energy.