People need to pay for the services they use lest they end up shutting down or overrun by ads.
But maybe you could offer a freemium service, similar to what WordPress.com is doing. Pay more per month for more space (for images & videos) & possibly include other services (like @peertube or @pixelfed) as perks.
I personally don't think the Fediverse should emulate centralised social media with instances attempting to get the largest number of users and professional moderation, support, etc.
I think that smaller communities are much nicer for the end user and it makes moderation almost a non issue for admins.
@darnell Yes, something like that seems a good approach to me too. From many different perspectives actually, not just funding. In example in terms of legal / compliance, running an instance as an individual feels quite ... risky to me, at the moment, especially if that's a public (larger?) instance. Or considering "personal redundancy" - who's that person to respond to that CVE on Christmas Eve while the admin's on vacation...? 😉
Just a personal instance of Mastodon that is intended for one person. :-)