We started and ended CiviCon Denver this year by talking about community participation. In her keynote presentation, Stormy Peters of the Mozilla Foundation introduced it and discussed the value of participation in open source communities as well as how it represented a competitive advantage to proprietary software alternatives.
We recently updated our appeal for financial support on our download page and included a financial metric with two specific elements that I want to expand upon. In essence, we’ve published both the absolute dollar amount needed to balance the remainder of our 2015 budget (~ $300k) and we’ve qualified it by stating that this is the amount necessary for sustainability.
Version 4.6, the latest release of CiviCRM, has been out for just over a month now and for the first time we tied in a fairly concerted effort to encourage contributions during download. With the goal of reaching $5,000 in support, this campaign represented another initiative aimed at bringing CiviCRM as a project to a sustainable point. Given that this had not been attempted before, it was a bit of a test to see how the CiviCRM community would respond. So, how’d we do?
In May of 2013, Michael McAndrew initiated a blog post about the Core Team’s efforts to make CiviCRM sustainable. Two years later, we’re still on that path and sustainability remains our goal. During this time, and somewhat unnoticed until recently, the number of active sites using CiviCRM has steadily risen.
We’re almost 3 weeks into the release of version 4.6 and, based on today’s stats, it’s been downloaded from http://civicrm.org 1,839 times. We’d break 2,000 downloads easily if we added in those from SourceForge, however for the sake of this post, I’m interested only in those from the CiviCRM website because that’s where we’ve promoted a campaign to donate before downloading the latest version.
It’s been on my task list to post an update about the fundraising at CiviCRM, so I thought now would be a good time - with the release of 4.6 and a more concerted effort to encourage financial support - to review CiviCRM’s path to sustainability. The bottom line is that there's a significant and unsustainable gap between our revenue stream and our very modest operating expenses.
It’s a tad belated I know, but in reality it’s never too late to say thank you for supporting this incredible project. We made a push starting in October 2014 for both partner renewals and new partner additions and can now speak to the results. In the process we received quite a bit of feedback on how to improve the program, a central theme of which is to focus both CiviCRM and partners on growing the entire ecosystem. You’re going to hear this point a lot going forward, starting with a forthcoming post on the state of fundraising for CiviCRM.
For the past 2 years, the last Wednesday of each January has been earmarked for CiviDay, a worldwide effort to come together and promote all things CiviCRM. This year, CiviDay witnessed 26 events, from virtual meetups to all day affairs, across 13 countries, bringing together newbies and veterans alike to share stories and to learn about CiviCRM and what it can do for organizations everywhere.