May 1, 2013
Conservancy Launches Fundraising Campaign for Non-Profit Accounting Software
Conservancy Seeks to Help All Non-Profit Organizations Worldwide with Free Software
Software Freedom Conservancy, a 501(c)(3) charity based in New York, announced today a fundraising campaign for an Open Source and Free Software non-profit accounting system. The campaign seeks to raise US$75,000 to fund a full-time developer for one year to first reevaluate existing Free Software solutions for their viability as a non-profit accounting system, and then improve and augment the best available system to create a new solution that will help non-profits around the world manage their finances better.
To keep their books and produce annual government filings, most non-profit organizations (NPOs) rely on proprietary software, paying exorbitant licensing fees. This is fundamentally at cross purposes with their underlying missions of charity, equality, democracy, and sharing. Conservancy, as a non-profit charity dedicated to the advancement and improvement of Open Source and Free Software, seeks to address this problem by first surveying the existing Free Software solutions available for for-profit accounting needs, and then launching a coordinated Free Software development effort to create a system for all NPOs to use. This project has the potential to save the non-profit sector millions in licensing fees every year. Even NPOs that continue to use proprietary accounting software will benefit, since the existence of quality Open Source and Free Software for a particular task curtails predatory behavior by proprietary software companies, and creates a new standard of comparison. But, more powerfully, this project's realization will increase the agility and collaborative potential for the non-profit sector — a boon to funders, boards, and employees — bringing the Free Software and general NPO communities into closer collaboration and understanding.
Conservancy's initiative has received endorsements from eight other non-profit organizations, including Open Source and/or Free Software NPOs, Free Culture organizations, and a premier arts/cultural fiscal sponsoring organization; the full list of organizations endorsing the effort is included in the full description of the project. In addition, many key figures in non-profit accounting and organizational representatives have made statements of support for this campaign. Conservancy's effort to develop a non-profit accounting software system as Open Source and Free Software is clearly filling an important need, and Conservancy asks donors to give generously to support it, and encourages developers and potential users to join the mailing list for discussion of this project!full list of Conservancy's projects can be found on Conservancy's website. Conservancy provides these projects with the necessary infrastructure and not-for-profit support services to enable each project's communities to focus on what they do best: creating innovative software and advancing computing for the public's benefit.