Idea to Encourage Donations

TL;DR - Make it a requirement for VA Partnership that the VA management are donors to VATSIM Inc.

I personally think VATSIM should make it a requirement of the VA Partnership program for VA partners (the managers of the VAs) to be donors to VATSIM Inc. It could be that each VA Partner needs to donate at least $10 USD per month, donated by any of the VA Partner’s management.

I say this as a VA administrator myself - I think it is reasonable to expect that VA Partners are generally able to meet such a requirement, given that VAs tend to be run teams who can afford their VA’s running costs, and an extra $10 per month on top of their existing running costs probably wouldn’t be that steep an increase for them.

Moreover, VATSIM needs donors to survive. Based on the discussion that was had a few days ago in the community Discord server, VATSIM is only 30% funded for the current year.

According to the MyVATSIM website, there are around 150 VAs in the partner or associate programs. If even 50% of them complied with this requirement, VATSIM would roughly be fully funded for the year. (This is assuming the funding requirement is 12 000 USD per year, of which 30% or 3 600 is already raised, plus the total annual donations made by VA partners if 50% of them complied, 10x12x75=9 000, =12 000.)

This obviously isn’t a panacea to the donations issue, but in my opinion (as an outsider to the upper echelons of VATSIM,) VATSIM needs to try more and different ways to promote its fundraising, and this could be an interesting idea to try.

Keen to hear your thoughts,

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Talking as a former staff member in the Virtual Airlines Department,

I believe this would be just a way to make VAs step away from the VATSIM Network. You got to believe me, the balance between requirements and benefits is indeed already border line, and even some have been complaining that the VAs do not get enough back from VATSIM. Asking them to even pay for the partnership would just be a step backwards.

Also, we can’t really rely on the VAs to bring the network forward, can we?

Kind Regards,


We’re definitely seeing some more donation flow after promotion across social media. I think it’s still great that we’re thinking about fundraising methods though!

I’d be concerned that for smaller VAs, it might seem like a barrier. I think the last thing we want for VATSIM is for it to seem like we require payment for such things.

Also, on the more legal/compliance side, if we required donations to become a VA partner, my concern would be that it puts us into the grey area of that being a payment for goods and services. Not sure what that means but it probably changes some deduction rules.


A required donation is not a donation, it’s a fee.


I think that’s the main point.

VATSIM should rather encourage VAs and their members to donate to the network, because until very recently it was known “to everyone” that VATSIM could not accept donations. VATSIM could use its contacts to virtual airlines to disseminate the information about the possibility to donate even better.

A lot of members are actually very happy with VATSIM and will not mind dropping in a few coins into the “donation hat”, but a lot of them did not know until very recently or they still do not know about it.

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IMHO a bad idea. Far from encouraging “donations” (requiring a fee to be a VA is not a “donation”) it would simply discourage them completely.

Now this is just a spitball, but what do others think about an annual “fly-a-thon”? Pick one day (24 hour block) where we try to light up every FIR for a few hours at a time (not all at the same time!) and encourage (but not require) a nominal donation based on the time they spend on the network that day. If even just 20% donated, say, $1 or similar for each hour they spend online that day, it would add up to a lot. See if developers will get behind it and anyone who donates goes into a draw for some sort of prize.


While it is appreciated that members are endeavouring to create novel ways to promote donations to VATSIM, I can assure you that this particular idea will not be utilized. If individual VAs want to impose such a requirement on their own senior managers they are certainly welcome to do so, however, VATSIM itself will not attempt to compel anyone to donate or make it a requirement for participation.

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Any thoughts on a fly-a-thon day to encourage donations?

There is a 24 hr event scheduled for March 4th. While it was not planned to encourage donations it could serve as a vehicle to promote the notion.

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How about leasing registrations? Example, Let’s say I want to “lock in” my registration (tail number) so nobody else can use it (like real life). I would have to pay an annual fee to have it. Once the year is up I have the option to renew it, pay another annual fee, or let it go.

The 24HOV is the sort of thing I had in mind, but brand it as a fly-a-thon or similar. A suggested (but not required) donation of, say, $1 per hour you spend on the network on that day.

To be honest,

I’m a long time lurker, first time poster. I am not sure why VATSIM is still free. Navigraph is pretty much required to fly on the network and for 9 bucks a month it delivers a fantastic product. Charging people 9 bucks a month would be an easy way to fill the coffers and allow for R&D of the future. The product Vatsim delivers is truly amazing. I say this after being on the network for 3 years. Free is a good thing and I understand the notion behind it for educational purposes. But if I’m flying along my IFR route to ATL and I see a B747 nose dive from 35k ft to 10kft and then do a barrel role, it pretty much defeats the purpose of education. I would happily pay for the immersion that I demand from my sim and the networks I subscribe to.

Since this posting I took notice when on VATSIM. GA aircraft is a definite minority. So, I don’t think there would be much $$ in my suggestion.

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You’re welcome to use other non-free services, but you’re looking over what the founders of VATSIM was founded for.

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