Sunday, September 25, 2005

Why do we need open source nonprofit CRM infrastructure?

Three distinct disaster response situations come up recently underscoring the need for a solid open source NPO/NGO CRM platform.

  1. The Katrina PeopleFinder Project created a single unified database of virtually every missing and found person record on the web (640,000+ records).
  2. The ShelterFinder Project created a comprehensive listing of Katrina evacuee shelters (from large Red Cross shelters to small 10 bed churches).
  3. The Fluwiki is building an infrastructure to deal with the potential bird flu pandemic.

Each of these projects needs to quickly and efficiently build an application based on individuals and organizations (missing persons, shelters, flue victims). Each started with CiviCRM, but moved on to another solution because CiviCRM isn't quite ready.

The PeopleFinder experience allowed us to optimize CiviCRM, achieving a 100x efficiency improvement. What we need is your support to continue the development of CiviCRM and, most importantly, support its broad adoption in the nonprofit and non governmental sectors.

Open Source means that no one has to ask permission or buy a license to mount a disaster response. We don't have to wait for a philanthropically minded corporation like Yahoo to send 40 engineers to Houston. The nonprofit/ NGO sector can put together a response that leverages volunteer skills into a complete solution within a matter of days (as demonstrated by the PeopleFinder project).

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