Josh here with the CiviCRM Core Team. Each January we publish an annual report that highlights our past operational and financial performance as well as our plans for the coming year. This year, we’re taking it a step further and hosting quarterly community round tables in conjunction with the CiviCRM Community Council (the next one is on July 13, details forthcoming).
First of all, it’s been a huge privilege for me to be able to attend the Global Community Summit in Barcelona and all of us here agree that first and foremost we owe this to the amazing team at iXiam for organising a fantastic event! Being new to the community, I was a little concerned that it might be a little too dev-centric but I needn’t have worried.
In late January, the CiviCRM Core Team published its 2019 annual report which laid out its objectives for 2020. While we’ve managed the occasional update somewhat randomly in the past, we’d like to stick to a cadence of quarterly updates going forward in order to communicate progress on our priorities. This update provides an overview of the first quarter of 2020 as well as reflects on what we see happening for the remainder of the year.
Let’s start with priorities that we cited where we’ve made some headway.
On 15 August 2019, we switched the contributor log (previously a webform/civicrm) over to Gitlab. Details on how to track time can be found here. We did this because more and more of the project management was taking place in Gitlab and because of weaknesses in the contributor log, specifically it was clunky and it was difficult to assess the legitimacy of contributions reported.
It’s been a long time coming, but we finally managed to post the Core Team’s financials online in a format that not only shows where we’re at but also breaks down our income and expenses over the past 12 months. We’ve maintained project stats online for some time at https://stats.civicrm.org so it made sense to just add a new tab there. Check it out here. The financials are currently updated each month, and we’ll continue to expand on them as we have capacity.
Late last year CiviCRM won some seed funding from Mozilla’s MOSS fund to support the core team, and also research our community priorities. We're focussing on two questions connected to CiviCRM’s future growth and sustainability:
Last month I attended Sustain Summit 2018: an inspiring 'one-day event for open source sustainers' organised by Open Collective. It was great to spend a day with people who are working hard to tackle the sustainability problem. Some focused on their own projects, others looking more broadly across the open source ecosystem. The sustainability conversation has moved on significantly since the last time I looked, in about 2013, and there are lots of new ideas and projects with the potential to impact how we work.
Of the 261 voters in this election, 199 cast ballots.
Those elected are:
Allen Shaw, US
Claire Williams, UK
Erika Bjune, US
Kathryn Carruthers, Canada
Rose Lanigan, UK
Of the 62 voters in this election, 49 cast ballots.
Those elected are:
The CiviCRM Core Team is pleased to announce what we hope will become an annual event; a combined governance summit and code sprint. This year’s event will begin on September 25th, immediately following CiviCamp Hartford, and will be located in West Milford, New Jersey (within an hour from major airports). Full event details including agenda and discussion are online (or will be soon) here: https://lab.civicrm.org/community-team/governance-summit-code-sprint/wikis/home
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)...
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.
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.
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.
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.
"When you donate and download, you make the statement to the entire community that CiviCRM is a vital, open source platform worth supporting. Nearly 10,000 organizations count on CiviCRM & on your support."
Co-Founder & Product Manager
CiviCRM Core Team
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.
CiviCRM has an opening for a part time fundraiser, who will work with the core team to strengthen financial relationships with vendors and end-user organizations. Primary responsibilities will include managing the partner and member programs, as well as setting strategic direction for financially funding the platform over the next five to ten years. CiviCRM is a global community; we will consider applicants from anywhere, so long as you bring initiative and experience with open source projects, online community management, and most importantly, raising funds for good causes.
As part of the the CiviCRM community, you’ve accomplished so much over the last eight years. You’ve helped build CiviCRM up from a simple contact management and email platform to a CRM that is uniquely able to serve the needs of nonprofits -- with support for volunteer coordination, event management, advocacy campaigns, and more. Alongside ambassadors and implementers, you’ve grown the CiviCRM community to include over 8,000 organizations.
For the past eight years, CiviCRM's core team have been shipping a free, powerful, industry-leading solution for non-profit organizations. This blog post examines how we have achieved this -- and what it will take to continue delivering a great product for the next eight years.