Blog post draft

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money? help? grow?

by guaka

Julien I just started writing some things here without a lot of structure. I’ll leave it to you to turn it into something sensible ;)


   How’s Trustroots different to CS (Mikael’s idea)
   Trustroots backstage

What we want to achieve with this post:

   A place to point to for people who are worried we’ll turn to the dark side like CS
   Someone who reads this post should walk away with a decent idea of how Trustroots operate (not nec. in details)
   A place to point to the people who want to shower us with money, so they understand it isn’t something we need.
   We want to achieve a certain degree of transparency through this post (who has the power, what can we-the-people do…)
   Our core values should be easy to pick out for this article. At least some of them.

Structure of the post

   Acknowledge the situation with CS?
   Follow up with a quick list of reasons it can’t happen with us
   Get a bit more in-depth
   Tell people what we need.

The elephant in the room

On the 14th of May, the largest hospitality exchange network has announced that they will be requiring many of their users to pay a monthly subscription. Since Trustroots is into hospitality exchange, this is very relevant to us.

While Ccuchsurfing hasn’t claimed to be a charity or a non-profit for a while, this move has angered many members of the community, and the questions that are being asked about Couchsurfing are also relevant to other networks.

While we aren’t taking any particular action in the wake of Couchsurfiing’s decision, we’re putting out this blog post as a “state of Trustroots in 2020” in the topics of transparency, solvability, non-profit status, community ownership and what kind of legal backing stands behind our good word to never sell out. Guaka’s notes:

Trustroots was launched on December 23rd, 2014. Trustroots Foundation has been running Trustroots since 2015. With the Foundation we wanted to give some guarantee that we don’t plan to ever sell out and to have a legal vehicle to make it possible to receive donations and do something useful with that money.

Our main essential costs so far have been hosting and domains. But if you this all up it’s not worth paying a bookkeeper and dealing with related paper hassle and the board has paid this out of pocket. Similarly some much less essential costs around real life board meetings (hard to imagine these days) and collectives have all been paid out of the pockets of board members and other volunteers.

Now, it seems people really WANT to donate. And this great. If we do reach a threshold of enough money this does really make a lot of sense. It will be lovely to organize more collectives, in a way that people do not have to pay for rent, food and transport (well, this last one is just for those who don’t hitchhike).

Some money for collectives, transport to/from (for the non-hitchhikers) and small stipends (order of €100 to €500/month), would be great… this kinda covers the range between 2k and 100k/yr

Once an organization starts hiring people this causes a lot of issues. It creates friction between hired people and volunteers, it adds a lot more responsibility and pressure to raise more money every year. There are many examples of this that we don’t go into here. We also don’t say we’ll never ever have employees but for the foreseeing future we do not want to hire employees.

At one point we had a bank account but we never really used it. We had some mention of donations but not enough people were interested in donating when we weren’t really asking for it. So we closed the account again because it just cost us money.

How much money does Trustroots need?

Less than €500 per year. The board has paid this out of pocket.

What if there are a million members?

Some of us have actually been around when CouchSurfing was growing very quickly back in 2006. Money was much less of an issue than smart people who know how to scale websites. It was much harder to attract and even more to retain smart people. For an active open source hospitality project focused on action it’s much easier to work with talent. …


We’re really not big fans of Paypal but if you want to donate … we may have a paypal account? checking with Mikael

So, you will be able to give us money at some point. In the meanwhile, we have a

Help grow trustroots

More than money, it helps us a lot if you have time to help grow Trustroots. You don’t have to be a coder to move us forward. Trustroots needs designers, people handling support queue, developers, copywriting and much more. The simplest thing of course, is to tell all friends about it, especially those who are into the idea of hosting people. If you can and want to do more than that, head over to