Long, and moderately outraged post, coming up.
We make a very small amount of margin on each board we sell; we also raise some money selling shirts (there will be new merch in the new year too), and we get some donations.
Because we like to be transparent about this stuff, I'm happy explaining what we spend that money on:
Development: we pay contractors to undertake some of the software tasks which are too boring or fiddly for the community to have taken on off their own bat (there's Pixman and Wayland optimisation work ongoing, for example, as well as Scratch optimisation). These contractors are all people who have many years of experience and who are known to us already as hardworking, productive, easy-to-work-with people. We have experts inhouse who have decades of hardware and software experience, who do other development we need on a volunteer basis
(see GSH's USB work). Nobody is paying them for Raspberry Pi work, and I think those volunteers from the university in particular would be offended to have it suggested that they're getting university money for what, for them, is a labour of love. We also have to pay for stuff like CE testing, prototyping (the camera board work is very expensive, for example) and so forth.
Outreach: visiting schools and universities, as well as conferences and other gatherings of enthusiasts, takes up a lot of time, but it's very important to get grass-roots recognition and support. We're going to be taking on a full-time employee to direct the Foundation's educational work in the New Year. Rob B already works for us under contract as both a developer and in doing outreach work. We have some schemes afoot about getting Pis into schools - you'll see more about that over the next couple of months.
Web: we have a very expensive server setup; there are usually 500 or more of you on this forum and a similar number on the blog. We do get some help there from Mythic (and from Velocix and Webfusion), but it's still a tidy sum every month, and for a while was our biggest outgoing.
Legal: there's a surprising amount of legal work that needs doing when you're running this sort of thing; our charitable status actually complicates things somewhat. We're very fortunate to get pro bono support from Olswang, but they can't support doing that for much longer. I do a lot of our contracting myself. I don't get paid for that, or for anything else I do here. We also pay two people (Lorna and Helen) under contract to manage tracking down and stopping trademark violation (it's a big job, and not much fun, so that's not something anyone's going to volunteer for).
We are incredibly grateful
- really, there aren't words - to all the people who volunteer on our behalf. We couldn't do this without those of you who mod these boards, upload improvements to the software stack, develop new stuff for the Pi, and do unpaid outreach work. There are some total superstars like Alan O'Donohoe, who runs the Raspberry Jams, out there, and the MagPi team, who do incredible things every month. We can't thank them enough.
An approach like the very entitled and uninformed one OP emailed me today (I will not copy and paste it here, although I'm tempted) is *very* unlikely to get any response from us, let alone an offer of work. Being generous, I'm going to assume OP is a very young kid. If you want to make money from your Raspberry Pi work, write some software that people will want to use and put it in the store. And think about what other people are giving, out of their own goodwill, before you email someone demanding payment.
(Apologies for miffed-ness. But REALLY.)