I know there is a certain idealist view to the world when it comes to open sources projects. Lets face it, it doesn't always work that way; especially when it comes to smaller projects with big goals. For example, the whole green movement didn't really start taking off until people could be shown how to save money with green thinking (a little gov regulation doesn't hurt). Ideally, people would do it because it's the right way to do something but that never works unless you can show how it will benefit the individual, ideally, monetarily. People are selfish creatures. Lets use that to our advantage. Lets use that for the project's advantage.
People don't want to pay for a feature they will never see the benefit of. A perfect example is supported orbiter configurations. I want an iPhone orbiter. Other people want an Android orbiter. Will one see the benefit in the other? Will one want to contribute to the other? Why not let the community decide with their donations. Currently, a donation appears to go into one pot; one black black hole, if you will. Why not let the completion of features be based on how much support a feature request receives. Instead of one donation link, why not have a donation link for each feature request. Be as specific as possible with each feature listing. Have a dev come up with a 'money dollar' amount that will cover dev costs and post that with each feature/link. Allow people who are interested in that feature to donate specifically to that feature. Keep a running total and when the dollar amount is reached, start development on said feature. If a feature request turns out more complicated than previously thought, come back to the community with how far the feature was developed and why more work is needed and why more money is required. Then, reopen the donation link with the new amount. This gets people more involved in the development process and feel more connected to the project.
There should be a page on the website where all of these features and donation links are listed. Develop a process for getting a feature request added to the list with it's own required amount and donation link.
I would appreciate questions and comments. I do want this project to succeed. I know there are people out there willing to pay for work and there are starving devs who could use the work. Lets start implementing some processes and procedures that will achieve our goals.