I recently cam across Givewell.net
, a group that has recently stirred some activity in the non-profit blogosphere. For more information and details you should check out the Givewell blog
They ask non-profits some specific questions and expect specific answers. Being a non-profit and an open source organization, I figured it would be a good exercise for us to answer those questions. Note that like most of my other blog entries, this is a quick unplanned writing exercise ...
What are you trying to accomplish?
From our mission statement in our recent year end report
Build, distribute and support open source software that enhances the effectives of non-profit and non-governmental organizations across the globe
Putting it in a slightly different way (or more bluntly), we'd like to give folks in the sector a free and open source alternative to the offerings of Kintera, Convio, GetActive et al. We'd like to build an ecosystem that helps define, deliver and support this software suite. We'd like to build a thriving community that helps the product with ongoing feedback, documentation and support other members as they grow through the learning phase.
What’s your evidence that you can accomplish it?
The evidence is having a software suite that meets / exceeds the needs of our market in as good as / better than other commercial offerings out there. Putting it as an analogy, we need to get to the state where Linux / Apache / MySQL are right now. In my opinion, we are not there as yet, but we are pretty close and I suspect will be there by the end of this year.
That said, software is just a small part of the entire equation. The ecosystem and the community around it is even more important. Building, nurturing and growing the CiviCRM community is a process that we approach as seriously (if not more) as building the software. We are in an arena where technology and market forces change all the time. We will be hard pressed to say, yes we've accomplished it :)
We are also proud of what we have accomplished so far both from a software and a community perspective :)
You can check my personal blog entry
for some of my other thoughts.