Write for DOnations - Frequently Asked Questions

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The Write for DOnations program brings together two initiatives: building reference content to help developers, and supporting tech-focused charities and nonprofits.

Authors who contribute to our growing collection of tutorials on open-source software deployment, configuration, and development will also have the opportunity to give back to a growing list of tech-focused nonprofits. Our goals are to enable authors to give back to the DigitalOcean and open-source communities, and to strengthen these communities by supporting the work of charities, nonprofits, and activists.


What does the Write for DOnations process look like?

It all starts with a proposal. When you apply to write with us, you’ll submit a a proposal with the following details:

  1. The article title
  2. An explanation of why this article would be a good fit for the community
  3. An outline of your proposed article, including the introduction, prerequisites, and the steps of your proposed article with a paragraph for each section that explains what the section will cover.
  4. A writing sample that demonstrates your writing ability, technical expertise, and ability to explain complex topics to readers who are unfamiliar with your topic.

Once we receive your proposal, we’ll review your proposal as a team. If we’re interested in your proposal, we’ll either accept it as is or work with you to refine it further.

Once we agree on the topic and outline, we’ll send you a contract to sign which lets us publish your work. That’s also when we’ll ask for your contact and payment details.

Then you’ll begin writing in Markdown, turning your outline into a full article. When your article is done, we ask that you thoroughly test it by reading through it and following it as a reader would. We will provide testing credit for this. You won’t have to incur any cost to test your tutorials.

When your draft is complete and tested, you’ll submit it to us, and the draft will be entered into our editorial queue. All submitted drafts enter the queue in the order we receive them. We sometimes have higher than normal volumes of tutorials, so it may take a little time before an editor can work on your draft.

When an editor is available, they’ll contact you to let you know they’ve started working on your tutorial, and will then verify that your tutorial is technically correct by following it as written. Our editors all have technical backgrounds and will look for technical best practices as they test your article.

If everything works as written, your editor will then do a thorough review of the structure, tone, and style of your article. When they’re done, they will provide editorial feedback on your article and send you feedback.

When you receive the feedback, you’ll address it and send it back.

Your editor will then review it again, sending it back to you if there are further revisions necessary. Once there are no more revisions to make, another editor on the team reviews the tutorial for formatting and other issues.

Once your article is ready for publication, we’ll publish the tutorial, send you the link, and process your payment. Your editor will then encourage you to submit another tutorial idea.

How do you evaluate proposals?

Our team reviews each proposal we receive. We look for clear explanations, strong writing ability, and solid teaching skills. Our tutorials are aimed at all audiences, and we strongly prefer writing samples that follow our tutorial style. Unfortunately, because of the high volume of samples we receive, we cannot accept every author who applies and we cannot provide individual feedback on each sample we review.

I have a tutorial that’s already published. Can I publish it through the Write for DOnations program?

Content on DigitalOcean must be original, first-run content that’s not published anywhere else. We pay authors for content and then we relicense it under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. However, you can submit your existing tutorial as your writing sample when you apply to write with us.

What topics are you looking for?

We’re looking for topics about open source software and Linux/BSD systems, including production installations, deployments, containers, and automation. Take a look at our Suggested Topics list to see some specific examples.

However, the best ideas come from our community authors. Many people write because they’re excited about a topic. You should suggest a topic you’re excited about when you apply to write with us.

What is the payout structure for Write for DOnations?

The typical payout for community authors in the Write for DOnations program is $300 for typical tutorial content. We then make an additional payout in the form of a contribution from DigitalOcean to the author’s choice of tech-focused nonprofits from our list of funds.

How do I receive payment for my article?

We will send payment for your article when we publish your final draft.

You can choose to receive your payout via PayPal or in DigitalOcean credit. You must have a PayPal account that can receive funds.

DigitalOcean will make donations using Bright Funds on your behalf, but you’ll tell us which fund or charity that will receive the donation.

I cannot receive payments via PayPal. Do you support other payment methods?

Unfortunately we can only make payments via PayPal at this time, and only directly to PayPal addresses that can receive money as well as send it.

If you cannot receive payment via PayPal, we also offer the same amount in DigitalOcean credits.

Which charities and nonprofits will my writing support?

In response to the current spread of COVID-19, we have put together the following fund focused on fighting the global pandemic and providing relief to those affected:

We’ve curated four tech-related funds, which are collections of nonprofits with similar missions:

We are continuously exploring additional charities and funds which may be a good match.

Can I choose the charity or nonprofit that will receive the charity payout?

You can choose to donate to one of the funds we support, which splits the donation equally among the nonprofits in the fund. You can alternatively choose to donate the full amount to one specific nonprofit from within those funds.

At this time, it is not possible for authors to select a charity or nonprofit that is not on our list, but we hope to expand the program in the future to include this capability.

Will my donation be tax-deductible?

Because DigitalOcean will be processing the donation through Bright Funds, it won’t be possible for you to claim it as a charitable deduction on your tax return.

I am a first-time author. Can I make updates to a DigitalOcean tutorial?

At this time, we ask all first-time authors to first write an original tutorial in order to gain a better understanding of our style and technical requirements.

Can I translate a DigitalOcean tutorial?

At this time, we are not accepting translations for publication. You may publish a translation of your own on your own web site, using the guidelines described in the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommericial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

I have questions and/or thoughts about the Write for DOnations program. Where can I share them?

There are two ways to share thoughts or questions about the program. The first is to write to us directly at [email protected]. Though we may not be able to reply to each email, we will read all of them and use your feedback to guide our future work. If you have a question that you think may help others, please feel free to leave it in the comments section below.

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