New Sponsor-Only Repos On GitHub
Written by Sue Gee   
Wednesday, 09 February 2022

GitHub has announced several improvements to its Sponsors program including sponsors-only repositories, a feature that will give developers more options for engaging with their sponsors. 


GitHub announced its Sponsors program in 2019 to provide a way for people to show their support financially for software projects and open source developers. Under the scheme, developers can put a “Sponsor me” button on their GitHub repositories and receive funds from sponsors paid directly into their bank accounts. After six months in beta the program launched for individuals in 30 countries and is now available in 36 regions, the latest additions being Bulgaria and Romania. As GitHub aims to extend the program to all the countries it covers, new countries are being added at a gradual rate. Developers in unserved regions can join a waitlist to be notified of its availability.

GitHub Sponsors proved to be a successful initiative. In a little over a year it was able to claim:

We’ve already seen millions of dollars flow to open source maintainers and projects. Those investments continue to grow rapidly. Some developers are already making six figures using GitHub Sponsors, and even more are able to envision supporting their communities as their full-time job.  


Originally the scheme was only sponsoring for individuals by individuals. However, in February 2020 GitHub Sponsors teamed up so that community-led projects could be sponsored using Open Collective to receive and manage funds. This was the route taken recently when Faker.js was rebooted as a community-controlled project. In December 2020 it was expanded to make it easier for companies to be able the sponsor the open source software that they rely on. Companies are urged to:


The latest round of changes start with sponsor-only repositories that only sponsors will have access to. GitHub suggests these could be used for early access, private discussions or for sponsors-only access to your projects. Invitations to these repositories are automatically managed by GitHub, so there’s nothing left to manage after you set it up. To make the idea more flexible, you can have different repositories for different sponsorship tiers.

Another new feature is support for custom sponsorship amounts, enabling a minimum amount to be set for sponsorships in your tier settings. A related update is you can now write a custom message for each tier, which will display for each new sponsor after they create their sponsorship. GitHub suggests that this is a great way to welcome your new sponsors and give them more information on how you run your sponsored projects.

GitHub has also added a new call to action on Issues in sponsor-enabled repositories to give more visibility to the program and prompt users to support the project.

GitHub Sponsors has already been successful in helping developers who need an income from their contributions to open source software and thus in making open source software more sustainable. It is to be hoped that sponsor-only repositories will lead to closer relationships between sponsors and the projects they support and make for an even more secure future for the supply chain.  



More Information

GitHub Sponsors

New sponsors-only repositories, custom amounts, and more

Related Articles

GitHub Sponsors - Money For Open Source

GitHub Expands Sponsorship Program

Faker Rebooted As Community-Controlled Project


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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 09 February 2022 )