Send in your ideas. Deadline October 1, 2024

What NLnet can do for you

The NLnet foundation is financially independent and is free to fund any activity that contributes to its mission, in whatever way it chooses. That opens many opportunities, some of which are mentioned on this page. If you have a creative or inspiring idea that does not fall under any of the categories below, and you believe NLnet should help you: just contact us.

Of course money is not the only type of support NLnet can provide. The foundation, and the people behind it, have a global network of potential partners, projects, and experts which can be of use to achieving your goals. When we support you, we don't sit back: we actively try to help you get results. NLnet serves the public interest through your energy and labor, and we are passionate about that. You can expect us to be a professional partner, with low overhead. It's all about helping you get the most out of your ideas.


The prefered intstrument of NLnet are microgrants: small, independent projects supporting independent researchers and developers. NLnet can fund or co-fund various types of projects, such as software development or standards efforts. NLnet does not require so called 'matching' for projects and may decide to fund 100% of your project. For smaller projects there is a fast procedure which could have your project up and running in 6-9 weeks.

(If NLnet is unable to help you, there may be organisations and programmes outside of NLnet that can help)

What you can do for NLnet

Do you like what we do and want to help out?

Help spread the word about projects

Our projects are awesome, and more people need to know that — and that every user actually can reuse everything for whatever purpose at no cost. There are many simple ways to help promote projects, and none of them actually take much of your time — and at the same time are terribly important for these efforts to get mindshare. This varies from sending off a quick message to good people you believe might be interested, to making sure any new worthwhile projects are put in the spotlights on for instance Wikipedia (and if you have language skills, do so across languages). All it takes is to press the edit button on the Wikipedia page in question, and add it to the page.

Both targeted private messages and public facing activity help people learn about the free and open offerings available. Whether you write articles, create tutorials or have a noteworthy social media presence where you regularly share your wisdom with your followers: by bridging to your audience, you help raise visibility which is necessary to make our technology more widespread. Thank you for that!

Help spread the word about us

The kind of funding we offer to free and open source projects with our open call is pretty unique — in their wide area of interest and our non-bureaucratic approach. We don't waste money on an elaborate marketing budget or on advertising campaings. So how do we reach the right people that need this funding, and do so at the right time early in the life of the project?

Again: people like you that have discovered us tell others. It is as simple as that: share the knowledge with those tht need it. If you really care about a project and want them to blossom, offer to help writing a grant application; you may know our process is very lightweight and non-bureaucratic, but people that don't are easily deterred by the logical assumption of horrible paperwork — and who can blame them, given how many institutions burden users with such paperwork. In fact, we hear people sometimes refrain from applying because it sounds 'too good to be true'. Please enlighten them, and do them and us a huge favour!

Help defend against patent abuse

You can really help us without spending any money, by helping us defend open source projects. It takes just five minutes of your time.

Help fundraising

This page will tell you how you can help
[English ] [Espanol] [Nederlands]

Join a specific project

Of course, in some cases a project could really do with more bottom-up help. Should a specific project be close to your heart, why not consider joining the project itself — you should find a link to the repository or homepage in the left bar of the project page. Often there is a chat channel or a mailing list, through which you reach out to the developers you can find out what is the best way to contribute at this point in time.

Share often, share early

If you have great ideas: get us involved. Even if we cannot help directly, we might be able to help you get nearer money and support elsewhere...

With money

If you like the work of NLnet foundation and the way we operate, and you have some money you can spare: your donations are extremely welcome (donate online now). We accept cash, cryptocurrencies, etc - tell us what works for you.

We give out money to those who can really make a difference, and we really care. If you are thinking about donating a large sum, or putting us in your will: contact us for doing this in the smartest way. NLnet is a recognised public benefit organisation (ANBI), and as such we are probably the most efficient way to allocate your money to the open internet.

Still interested? Listen to these good people as they convince you to about the difference NLnet makes