We have had to do several changes this summer, changes that we would rather not do. We’ve seen a trend lately in donations to cachetur.no, which forced us to do these changes.
This is not a crisis yet, but it might become one if this trend continues.
Changes we’ve done
We have increased the frequency of the banner shown to those who have not contributed financially. And also automated the control of the banner. It is not displayed more often when we have a negative monthly balance. Which unfortunately have happened a lot lately.
We have also added a new box on the dashboard, showing the current status of our monthly donation goal.
We have ongoing expenses
We have to pay our bills every single month. Some months have less expenses than others, but on average we have to pay NOK 3000 (~USD370 / ~EUR320) per month just to keep everything we have running. In addition to this, we have other variable expenses. And we have to save money for future investments and expansions.
This is why we need ongoing donations as well.
Cachetur.no does not pay any salaries or compensate anyone. All development, operations, support etc. is done voluntarily – in our spare time.
So 100% of everything we get (after the bank, PayPal etc take what they require) go towards keeping cachetur.no running, and making it better.
We have not been very good at communicating the options in DonorBox (which is what we prefer, due to the crazy PayPal fees) regarding recurring donations. You can tell DonorBox to repeat your donation every month, or every quarter.
The app was expensive
The app cost a lot of money. Not because we had to pay to get it developed (we did that for free), but because it was expensive to get it published in the AppStore. Licenses, equipment and other requirements.
76% of these expenses have been covered per now.
It was previous donations that allowed us to invest and start working on the app. This is also why we have to save money now for future projects. We can’t do that now.
Growing isn’t free either
We’re not a tiny Norwegian site anymore. We are international. With international users. And increased user base equals increased resource requirements. All of this leads to higher costs (but also more contributors).
The positive about this, is that some of the upgrade we’ve had to do, have introduced a lot of new features and possibilities we didn’t have before. Growth is good for us, and needed. But it comes with a price tag.
We have a lot of projects we want to start on. Like an improved route optimization service. One that doesn’t require a lot from your computer. And one that will be able to optimize 80 waypoints in just a few seconds. It would be great, wouldn’t it? It will also cost us more money…
We also intend to expand the app, which can lead to further costs.
Why not just add premium memberships?
We want cachetur.no to be equally great for all our users. We want everyone to have access to what we make (as long as you are a premium member on geocaching.com). Since none of us get paid to do this, happy users are our only payment and main source of motivation (remember to say thank you the next time one of the ambassadors help you).
And we don’t want to be commercial.
We are registered non-profit/non-commercial
Cachetur.no is registered as a non-commercial non-profit organization. This comes with a lot of advantages. Most, including geocaching.com, treats us very nicely.
LingoHub, where we do all our translation, give us a 100% discount. Can’t get it much better than that. This saves us $149 every single month – which is $1788 yearly.
WPML, which is the plugin that allows us to translate the blog posts here into multiple languages, didn’t cost us anything either.
We get Slack for free, and the same with Google GSuite. Google is also nice enough to give us around NOK 2000 in extra Google Maps Credits, every month. This is the same Google Maps that most others have removed from their services. We’re still keeping them available for you.
As if this isn’t enough, we also get a lot of other discounts on services we use. In addition to all the libraries and APIs we use for free – many of them would cost a lot if we suddenly turned commercial.
So making cachetur.no for-profit/commercial is not worth it. It won’t happen.
Things we want to do
We have always wanted to give something back to our contributors. But we haven’t found the perfect solution yet. Feel free to share your suggestions, if you have any! We’ve tried several things, but don’t know exactly what worked or not.
But we really appreciate all our contributors – you make this possible! We want to do what we can to show our appreciation.
A wise ambassador told me today that the most important reward you can get, is the knowledge that you have contributed to make cachetur.no possible for a little while longer. That is something you should be proud of!
Things we don’t want to do
We don’t like nagging about this. Not at all. And this is partly the reason we wanted the Norwegian geocaching associations to pay for everything. We have way too many expenses for that now, and only a handful of them are still with us as contributors.
If we have to, we might end up doing some tings we don’t want to do. First we could add an even bigger banner, or even a GSAK like nag-screen. Or we could start turning off features, like route calculation, route optimization, the map, fetching of logs (resource heavy) etc.
We could also be forced to halt further development, and reduce the resources to a bare minimum.
But we hope that it doesn’t have to come this far. So join us, help us keep cachetur.no running!