30 October, 2016
By jgowans

Earlier this year, we did a community wide survey to better understand the CiviCRM user base as well as help refine our priorities as a Core Team. While there were a few surprises in the results, one item that we expected to stand out was a need for ongoing training. Let’s face it… CiviCRM can be complicated, at least for those that leverage its full potential and adapt it to their own business processes. Though there are a ton of resources to help, such as documentation, videos, training events and webinars, most could likely benefit from ongoing training opportunities. That’s why we’re psyched to roll out two new member benefits focused on training: Ask the Teacher, and access to CiviDesk’s CiviTips!

Ask the Teacher

Starting in February 2017, CiviCRM member organizations will have access to quarterly online webinars in which Stuart Gaston, aka CiviTeacher, will answer all...

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22 September, 2016
By jgowans
Filed under CiviCon, Sustainability

Last week, I wrote about the CiviCRM community and tried to boil it down to a very simple venn diagram. Not only does 'community' play a huge role in producing the software through new features, bug fixes, etc., it also is invaluable for helping promote and raise awareness about CiviCRM the software.

Part of the diagram outlining the CiviCRM community includes providers and organizations that financially give back to CiviCRM, like partners, members and, as is in the title of this post, event sponsors. We often say that CiviCRM is free to download, but not free to maintain, support and improve. Those end user organizations and providers that financial support CiviCRM truly go above and beyond to make certain that the software is maintained and continuously improving.

Special thanks to our CiviCon London...

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22 June, 2016
By jgowans

The Core Team has spent the past six months assessing its capacity, managing a cultural transition, and overseeing the CiviCRM project in a post-founder environment that requires a different approach to economic sustainability. The challenges and opportunities presented by this transition can’t be overstated. We’re confident that, with strong community support, we can evolve CiviCRM into a model open source project.

Before we do that, however, It’s important to recognize that not only are we undergoing a significant cultural change at CiviCRM, but that we’re also in a space (open source) in which there are few good business models. Needless to say, it’s very challenging to build a viable business based on freely giving your product away. CiviCRM’s own model has been based on community participation and has been financially supported by a relatively few number of individuals and organizations. Going forward, CiviCRM will become exceptional at cultivating its community for...

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21 April, 2016
Filed under Community, Sustainability

Over the past few months we've had a few requests for more clarity in on how the CiviCRM community is structured - how things are organized, lines of accountability, etc.  It's crucial that this stuff is well understood by everyone that uses and contributes to CiviCRM. It helps us stay productive, helps newcomers understand how they can get involved, and helps us to scale.

We realised that although we've done a fair amount of work recently on explaining how the core team works and how you can interact with us, we haven't spent much time bringing clarity to the wider community.  Our structure is often explained as 'the core team with a community of contributions. The lack of further definition of our community is telling, and its time to give it a bit of definition. It's time to say hello to teams and working groups.

There are a few 'interest groups' in our community already - they've sprung...

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06 March, 2016
By jgowans
Filed under CiviCon, Sustainability

As a project and as software for nonprofits, CiviCRM benefits from events in that they not only raise funds for the Core Team, they raise awareness about this incredible open source CRM and they foster the community participation needed to drive it. We’re excited to see that the first two CiviCon’s in 2016 are coming online, both slated for May/June time frame, though on opposite sides of the world; Ft. Collins, Colorado in the United States and Woerden, Netherlands.

Though there’s a huge distance between them, we’ve tried to align these and all future CiviCRM events such that they can support the operational objectives of the Core Team, specifically to raise funds and to grow the CiviCRM ecosystem. We took a step in this direction late last year when we began to better establish guidelines for CiviCRM events, and now with the recent re-formation of the...

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27 October, 2015
By jgowans
Filed under Sustainability

I've had the opportunity to present the ‘state of CiviCRM’ now at both the recent DC User Summit and at CiviCon London. While we often talk about and evaluate the features and technical capabilities of CiviCRM, we do at times lose sight of its central purpose... the 'why' behind what we do. Going forward,  we hope to keep this front and center in our communications. Why? (I knew you’d ask that)...

Because the central purpose of CiviCRM is its most ‘significant’ feature. Simply put, CiviCRM exists to empower organizations all across the world to have meaningful impact.

I'm asking you to consider this because I believe that appreciating CiviCRM for its purpose is necessary to reach sustainability. The more that I understand about CiviCRM and its community, the more I realize that supporting it because of what it can do technically is sufficient in and of itself. However, supporting it for its purpose, the reason why it exists, is...

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19 October, 2015
By katetak

Salvation Army Echelon, the official young adult auxiliary of The Salvation Army, is the product of an idea that began in Dallas, Texas in 2010. Echelon is the next generation of community action for the Salvation Army. Men and women age 21 to 35 engage in networking, fundraising and community service in chapters across the U.S.

After the network of chapters expanded from one club in Dallas to several clubs across the nation, Salvation Army Echelon wanted a solution to house the chapters under one umbrella while allowing each club to customize their own site. They chose Skvare based on their expertise in CiviCRM and the added benefit of having all web-related services - web development, hosting and maintenance - provided by one company.

Angie Harmon, Chair of PR & Communications of the Echelon Peoria Advisory Board says...

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29 July, 2015
By jgowans
Filed under Sustainability

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. I closed out CiviCon with the ‘1st Annual Ultimate Not-To-Be Missed All Things to All Attendees Wrap-Up’, again speaking about participation and how it affects the overall sustainability of CiviCRM, ending with a challenge to earn 10 new partners, 100 new members and 1,000 new followers in celebration of CiviCRM reaching the 10,000 active site milestone. Today, we stand at 10,514 active installations.

So, we’re not quite at the 10k mark,...

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29 July, 2015
By jgowans
Filed under Sustainability

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.

In dollar terms…

There will almost certainly be mixed reactions about publishing both CiviCRM’s budget (~ $600k per year) as well as the gap remaining in 2015. Having said that, we believe it’s important to frame these numbers in terms of impact and in relation to comparable systems. The mission of CiviCRM has always been to provide civic-sector and nonprofit organizations access to a CRM that improves their overall performance and enables them to positively impact the world. Whereas other CRM’s ultimately measure their...

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20 May, 2015
Filed under Sustainability

Ever wanted to hire the core team to work on an something important to you but didn't know how? Then take a look at our new Paid issue queue.

The paid issue queue aims to provide a simple mechanism for you to get the work you need into the next release of CiviCRM. It's designed to work in parallel to our standard issue queue, allowing you to 'jump the line' by providing the necessary resources to get your issue fixed.

If you aren't that familiar with how the core team works, this might sound like a fairly radical change.  But it is actually not that different from how we've always organised our work. We prioritise developments that people are willing to pay for on the assumption that if you are prepared to 'put your money where your mouth is' it likely has value for others as well.

What we are doing with the paid issue queue is formalising and simplyfing the process and publicising it more widely. And we'll continue to work on issues in the standard queue that...

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