I have a small open source project, Symbianbible, a bible reader for the Symbian Platform. This is a small project, with many users, and I am the only developer. Currently, I have ported this application to every Symbian version that Nokia has (Series 60, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Series 80, Series 90). In this post, I am going to tell the story of how I got the funding to port this program for multiple Symbian platforms.
Since the first release, many people asked, “can you port it to device X?”. Buying every phone models (at least one for each platform) and their accessories (such as memory card, card reader, Bluetooth adapter, etc) is expensive, so I wrote in my FAQ, that I would only port if there are some people that donate or lend me their phone.
Surprisingly, someone did give me a Series 80 phone (Nokia 9300) and Series 6 3rd edition phone (Nokia E50, which I traded with Nokia E61). He gave those phones upon reading my FAQ. So the lesson learned is: ask your users something, and they might help you.
For the accessories and different phone models, I relied on Google Adsense. There result is not too big, but it is enough to pay my hosting fees, some phone accessories, and gives me additional money for buying other phone models. With the help of my friend, I also try to receive donations using PayPal, but until now, the earning is still less compared with Adsense.
My advice is, if you have an open source project, try funding it with advertising. Some incentive will keep you working on it.