Consistent with our operational trends over the past few years, we’re scaling down this report to be bare bones and to the point, focusing only on information that may be relevant to the community and the project as a whole. We will cite various financial metrics as well as operational achievements and future goals throughout the report. For reference and additional detail, please review:
In general, 2021 was a positive year for the Core Team with respect to both its development efforts and its financial performance. We’ve continued to maintain focus on development while eschewing non-development oriented work where possible. Here are a few key points:
- Our operational budget increased 24.7% due to a 42.3% and 10.8% increase in earned income and community funding, respectively.
- Overall net income was positive due to a 6% decrease in non-development oriented capacity on the Core Team. Cost of labor declined by 4.4%.
- Looking forward, the Core Team is focused on ongoing developments in SearchKit and Form Builder, and is seeking to expand its development capacity by hiring.
2021 was very similar to 2020 in that we focused most of our efforts on actual development work, specifically on SearchKit, Form Builder, APIv4 and on several smaller projects. Non-development oriented projects, such as adopting multi-lingual support for civicrm.org, becoming B-Corp certified, etc. remained mostly idle.
Core Team capacity dropped 6% from 2020 to 2.815 full time equivalents, though nearly all of this was non-development oriented, hence why non-development oriented projects sat idle as stated above. As a result, Core Team labor costs fell by 4.38% despite having implemented a pay increase of 3% for Core Team members halfway through the year. The last pay increase was taken in the spring of 2019.
In addition to the reduction in labor costs, the Core Team saw a 24.7% increase in its operating budget to $493,445 from $395,660 in 2020. This was largely driven by a 42.2% increase in earned income resulting from work on specific projects such as SearchKit. Earned income continues to be a majority funding stream for the Core Team and accounted for 55.9% of the 2021 operating budget, up from 49% in 2020.
Though it represents only 4% of Core Team earned income, Spark grew by 12% and signups to the platform continue to grow steadily. In order to facilitate this, the Core Team moved Spark related information from https://civicrm.org to https://civicrm.com and is actively monitoring growth and conversions. Likewise, a lot of work has gone into automating the signup and implementation process for new Spark users, making it fast and easy.
Overall community support grew by a more modest 10.8%, accounting for 44.1% of the 2021 budget, down from 49.6% in 2020. The increase was largely driven by a 17% increase in funding from both CiviCRM Partners and CiviCRM Platform Sponsors (Stripe, iATS, PayPal and TSYS). Other income streams from community funding such as member dues, grants, etc. all saw declines year over year, the big one being Make It Happen campaigns which witnessed a 62% decline.
In general, our focus in 2020 was on ongoing release management, ESR, Spark and SearchKit. Given the initial progress in the latter, several organizations and providers helped fund additional features that helped mature SearchKit.
While I did mention in the abbreviated summary above that we’re looking to expand the Core Team, I do want to take a moment to acknowledge the current team that continues to make significant improvements in CiviCRM. They have made huge progress in the past 2 years in CiviCRM and have been driving many of the exciting development efforts that we’ve seen come online during that time.
- Coleman Watts has been tireless in his efforts to realize SearchKit and has been putting in a ton of work driving new developments throughout CiviCRM.
- Tim Otten continues to tackle many of the trickiest projects in CiviLand, in addition to managing releases and Extended Security, and of course acting as the level-headed architect that we’ve all come to love.
- Eileen McNaughton has been in the mix for many years and often finds herself in some of the thorniest parts of CiviCRM. Her work often lays the foundation for much of what we undertake.
- Seamus Lee originally came on board focused on security but has quickly blossomed into an invaluable team member, supporting all of the Core Team’s development initiatives.
- Mathieu Lutfy has kept everything running like clockwork and has been the mastermind behind Spark’s technical set up.
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So, What’s Next?
In general, we are happy with the operational trends in that they support our core development strengths and objectives. We do not foresee too much change in our approach as we move into 2022. Our objectives for 2022 include (not in order of priority nor is this list 100% complete):
- Maturing Form Builder - SearchKit is in a very sweetspot, and now we want to shift back our focus on to Form Builder in order to bring it up to par.
- Expanding development capacity on the Core Team - we are evaluating our budget and are beginning to search for up to a ½ FTE to come on board.
- Supporting CiviCRM standalone - we’re making progress to re-introduce CiviCRM standalone.
- Adopting a new default theme - improving the user interface has been in our roadmap for a long time, and with more options out there, it’s time to review how CiviCRM is best presented.
- Starting to swap out interfaces with new displays - we’re reviewing various screens within CiviCRM and plan to start replacing them with equivalent displays built on SearchKit/Form Builder
- Implementing the CiviCRM Foundation - we’re launching a new US-based NPO (or trying to) focused solely on marketing CiviCRM, specifically targeting offerings like Google for Nonprofits and similar.
- Revising the CiviCRM Partner program - this one has been on the list for a long time, however it’s time to reevaluate the program and make incremental improvements that support partners and maintain this funding stream.
- Making civicrm.org multilingual - another task that’s been on the list for a while, this one is quite important as the CiviCRM website is our central marketing channel.
- Expanding platform sponsors - we continue to pursue partnerships with companies that offer revenue sharing agreements and have a few opportunities planned for 2022.
- Growing Spark - subscriptions continue to grow slowly, though we’d like to see that ramp up more quickly in order to help grow the ecosystem.
- Promoting contributors - this is a pain point that we need to finally address; how best to recognize and promote contributors. We’ve stopped and started a few times but it’s high time we see this through.