I'm in-between jobs right now(occupied with a side project), but at some point I'd really like to fund feature development on some open source projects:
* GNUCash has a solid heart, but has some usability issues that make it a pain to use in practice.
* Freenet last I checked had only 1 fulltime developer. And he's probably taking a serious cut to market salary to work on it.
* GHC could stand to have some performance optimization done on the compiler.
* Inkscape or GIMP are handy to have around. Inkscape even has a page describing how you can host a fundraiser for targeted feature development, which is very rare for open-source.
* I don't know that TOR needs much software help, but I wouldn't mind funding some exit nodes. It'd be nice if you could buy a locked-down black-box exit node that you could plug into your wall or something, that was guaranteed not to incriminate you. Maybe outside the scope of this, though.
* Everyone has a little app or site they use where a few people are working without much benefit to maintain something you use all the time.
Is there a good list of needy open-source software?
It can be difficult to know whether or not you are making an impact with a donation. Fortunately there are sites like Charity Navigator  that audit aggregate and audit charities to make things easier. Some sites (like Giving What We Can  and GiveWell ) make it even simpler by suggesting a few charities that they deem most effective.
For example, one of these top charities is the Against Malaria Foundation . They're a fairly straightforward charity: they receive and review requests for mosquito nets and fulfill orders with donations. When you donate they tell you exactly how many nets were bought with your donation and where they were sent. In this way your dollars (approximately) directly help prevent the spread of malaria. Now, could this problem be better solved with donations to a malaria vaccine research group? Perhaps. For the time being, mitigating the issue with nets seems like a decent interim solution.
My point is that there are many, many charities out there doing great work. It's worth looking into.
(Another note: I don't mean to imply that you shouldn't give to open source projects. I am just trying to say that you could also consider giving to traditional charities.)
 - http://www.charitynavigator.org/
 - https://www.givingwhatwecan.org/top-charities/
 - http://www.givewell.org/charities/top-charities
 - https://www.againstmalaria.com/
Consider reframing it: With a small donation you solve the problem for a family (where the problem is the risk that their children will die!), and you can solve it over and over just by repeating the action - it's the definition of scalability. You won't have to keep adding different colors of net to make that family safe.
But there's always another software feature to be added, the job is never done - and when you add a feature it's only for the one package! If you want to do it again you have to start from scratch.
Also, when you consider improvements in your projects, you no doubt consider both cost and impact. Compare the impact of the feature-add your donation might make in an open-source project, to the impact saving one or more family's lives.
Tor needs help with software too.
Tor relies on exit node diversity for security. Jurisdiction diversity, organisation diversity, sysadmin diversity, hoster diversity, hardware diversity, OS diversity etc. Funding exit nodes reduces a lot of those. It would be best to setup a node yourself and convince people you know to setup nodes. If you still want to fund nodes, the Torservers project accepts money to do that. Tor itself had/has an experiment on funding exit nodes. Exit nodes tend to attract law enforcement in some cases, there are no guarantees. Relay nodes are much safer.
Tor needs funding diversity too, hence their recent individual supporters campaign.
Tor FAQ about funding:
I think there needs to be a strong "not Adobe" toolkit and probably something similar for music and film (Blender is good for film actually). Those are creative and content oriented fields that often get overlooked by us programmers but there's so many young folks that need/want good and free tools to express their creativity.
[it doesn't help that digital drawing oards and the like often don't work with Linux so maybe some more hardware as well]
Similar to the TOR point you made, maybe it's not the projects that need the money (eventhough I'd say if in doubt give it to them). More tutorials that focus on the free tools would help a lot in that field. You can actually drive adoption by having better tutorials. If my first 10 hits when I search for "draw comic book character" all lead to Inkscape and not Illustrator tutorials that's a nice win.
It allows donating to free software projects without burdening the developers with the administrative cost of accepting donations.
It currently supports about 40 projects: https://sfconservancy.org/members/current/
I decided a long time ago that there are too many good causes, and too many charities. While I don't donate much every single donation I've made for the past fifteen years has gone to the same three charities.
I can cheerfully ignore starving children, tsunamis, and all other good causes precisely because I know that I'm making a (small) difference in some other areas that are both meaningful to myself, and which I've "audited".
Too many charities seem very vague, or produce little measurable impact. I think the key is to pick something local, and something with which you want to be engaged. (Or sidestep the problem entirely and donate time, space, resources rather than actual cash.)
* RNLA, Royal National Lifeboat Association, - their members get my respect for literally risking their lives to rescue others. (Alongside other people such as firemen, mountain rescue teams, etc.)
* A specific cancer charity.
I just wonder if DDG is investing in their own crawler? With Yahoo BOSSS API bite the dust therefor loosing access to Bing search result. DDG nowadays has to rely on Yandex (Russian search engine) for their search result. The search results of DDG have gone from okay to a bit worse, so what's their long term strategy? Stay a meta-search-engine, or invest major resources to crawl the web themselves? What many people hate is high latency and to lower latency you cannot rely on third party APIs for the main search.
Additionally the donation itself got a vast amount of coverage in the relevant communities, including HN, so the expenditure is offset against advertising for user acquisition they didn't need to do. It probably also strengthened their core community, making their users more sticky. The donation also went to some of the infrastructure they use anyway.
After 6 years, Google was doing 200m searches a day.
Google now does something like 4 billion a day. So duckduckgo, after 8 years of growth, has captured about 0.3% of the search market. At that sort of rate, it'll take decades to get any meaningful share, and that's assuming Google stand still, which they won't.
Seems to be a fairly good deal. I try to convince the bosses where I work to do something like this and they just roll their eyes at me.
Here's an example of using it for the backing store for my blog: https://bluishcoder.co.nz/2015/09/14/using-freenet-for-stati...
Here's a series of articles on writing dynamic apps for Freenet - in this case chat-like things http://www.draketo.de/light/english/freenet/communication-pr...
For details and how to do it, see http://www.draketo.de/english/freenet/connect-speak-freely
[Now hurry and make DDG better for non-English languages, I want to use it for everything and more importantly want to make it the default for my parents, friends etc...well I guess strategically it doesn't make much sense if the target niche is developers but one can hope :D]
On topic, I think their donation is a great move.
But then I wonder, what is that the community would benefit most from? Money or actual code contributions?
I develop open source software and I get paid for doing it, which is a great luxury. Go DDG, raise the bar even further, employ people working on these projects if you don't have any already and even release more software!
How much does baqqer charge on the donations that a maker gets through it? I can see very little to no information without signing up.
Right now we charge 7% but only because we're trying to reach our server costs quickly since we're bootstrapped. Once we're at a break-even point we'll be dropping it down to 5% and remain competitive.
Most information is (probably erroneously) here: https://baqqer.com/tos