Thanks @Mix Android! The goal is indeed to have some financial stability for a team, see financial plan in our wiki, but it's been getting there at snail speed (my initial predictions with Manyverse back in 2018 is that by 2019 or 2020 there would be enough funds for 1 full-time dev).
The only constraint is that Manyverse does not want VCs
Let's be careful with "the only constraint" there. There are lots of dirty ways of making money that I think are anti-constraints, like illegal money, cryptocurrency ICO, selling NFTs, etc. Even if you exclude VCs, there still exists non-VC investors, but that demands there to be a company for Manyverse, or "shares" in some sense. It would break some of the promises we made on the Manyverse website, and that's one of the things I'll never let happen, because the heart of Manyverse is social networking minus the bad stuff, plus the promises to not to have bad stuff. Take away the promises, and we're back to square zero. Manyverse is nothing without its promises.
So in one way or another, I think Manyverse will always be a donation-driven project, or public money like grants and other government funds. Thriving via donations is possible at scale. Basically donations are a function of adoption. You can estimate that 0.1%–1% of users will donate (say on average $120/year), so in order to have $100k per year, you need 833 backers, i.e. 83k – 833k users. Mastodon gets 5597€/month from 598 patrons, which is $73k per year, and Mastodon has roughly 1 million users, last I heard. (Thus the backer-to-user percentage is ~0.05%)
It's hard to get the backer-to-user rate to get much higher than 1%, so donation-driven projects have a limit. The whole SSB network has about 20k users, so we're still short.
Grants and government money is very different to that, it doesn't depend on project scale, but it comes with a ton of strings attached. Most grants require you to scope the grant project strictly and to have a common theme somewhat, so you end up improving only "one aspect" of the app via the grant, not improving the app overall (i.e. some aspects of app end up more well developed than other aspects).
There are a few low-hanging fruits we could do, like adding a donate button directly in the app (we have a "help translate" button, which is one way to contribute, so a "donate" button would be just another way to contribute).
There are also folks who get a lot of crypto money, and they could donate to Manyverse like that (our open collective supports receiving those and it converts to USD in our balance), but Manyverse itself is not going to directly start some crypto something, due to our promises. Reminder: Dfinity and Handshake are both crypto projects that donated to SSB, quite large sums. I think we could benefit from that type of thing again. @Dominic has a special charm to make people give him that type of money.