I respect the argument that "any free software project is a toy of its creator". I also understand that this means that #mastodon is by no means a mature alternative to any social media platform.
If it's to grow, we need a community to get behind it. We need a design team. We need maintainers focused on the code and ones focused on getting new contributors, onboarding them and making sure they stay.
I can gladly pay for that. I don't want to donate to the project in its current state.