First I must say I'm deeply pleased with Linux Mint (after some rather frustrating Ubuntu experience) and want it to grow and get better.
Just donated $100 for the cause.
On the funding question, the website says this:
We believe Linux Mint can gather the momentum and the community necessary to fund itself entirely through donations, sponsoring and advertisement without the need to engage in commercial activities and without focusing our attention on anything else than improving the distribution itself. Our goal is to get to the stage where the staff behind Linux Mint isn't just giving some spare time, but paid and committed to work solely on the project, not just as a hobby but also as a full time job.
But donations alone don't seem to keep you afloat, and the duck-duck-and-go thing just doesn't smell ethically right (though their funding must have been important for Mint).
Now I wonder, why do you guys don't present your idea on Kickstarter.
There has been one pretty lame effort to date.
I'm pretty sure Linux Mint could easily collect say $100,000 in funding on Kickstarter to make next Mint release even smoothier. Or even more.