2020 CiviCRM community: update from CiviCRM Core Team

2019 is long over, however the CiviCRM Core Team wanted to do a brief recap of what they have accomplished throughout the year as well as present their priorities for 2020.
Since 2016, the Core Team has largely scaled down its operation in order to balance its budget and continue to transition to a community driven and funded project. Now that we've reached some financial balance, our focus going forward is on doing what we're best suited to do while continuing to grow community support and direction of the project.

The Core Team is Expanding!

Growing the Core Team is a lot like walking a high wire. It’s scary and there are risks, but at the same time, there’s really only one clear path forward. In order for us to build upon what we’ve achieved in 2019 (as well as simply to build momentum), we have to add capacity. Consistent with our focus on ‘core’ work, we’re particularly interested in growing our development capacity in order to 1) deliver a better product and 2) push new development forward, faster.

Having said that, we’re pleased to announce that Seamus Lee of JMA Consulting and Eileen McNaughton have officially come on board to the Core Team.
Prior to signing on with JMA Consulting, Seamus worked with the Australian Greens. On his own time, he focused heavily on PR review, maintenance oriented tasks and security work for CiviCRM. Seamus is heading up the Security Team for CiviCRM.

Eileen McNaughton needs no introduction. She is and has been a huge contributor to CiviCRM and we are all indebted to her (let's hope she never comes collecting!). Her interest is in product maintenance and overall stability. She is heading up the Maintenance Team for CiviCRM.

Plan for 2020

We saw a 27% increase in funding from the community in 2019 over 2018. For the same time period, our overall funding grew by 23% and our earned income grew by 16%. The two largest drivers in community funding are via Make It Happen campaigns (income is up 41% year over year) and through our Technology Partners (income is up 190% year over year).

So the short of it is this: the community is funding more and at a faster rate than in previous years. We view that as a very positive trend. While we list a number of financial metrics online, we’re not going to make this a thorough financial report. We achieved a financial equilibrium in 2018 and carried it forward into 2019, resulting in Core Team members being back at full pay (based on actual work performed).

On the more operative side, the Core Team pulled back somewhat on various initiatives in 2019, taking more of a ‘wait and see’ approach. For a few years prior, we attempted to play an active role in driving non-core (i.e. what could be argued as “non-essential” for the product) initiatives forward such as marketing, events and community engagement.
While these are absolutely vital to the success of the project, they’ve stopped and started and sputtered, and ultimately have consumed Core Team resources without a clear result or path forward. Unlike other efforts such as Form Builder, ongoing release management, security, etc., many of these require skills or capacity, or both, that we simply do not have, or that the community would like to come from outside of the Core Team.

A clear and significant example of this is marketing, where efforts to centrally coordinate it have not met with consistent success nor been widely embraced by the community. Instead, marketing is and has been more locally driven, if done at all. At the same time though, specific marketing initiatives have moved forward, such as the transition of the website to D8, a rebranding of the CiviCRM logo, and, most recently, a community oriented video.
This is not to say that the Core Team will not play an active role in any such efforts, just that we’re not going to expend unnecessary resources trying to force them when we’re showing progress in other areas over which we do have direct responsibility. At the same time, the Core Team is always present in the event of an impasse in the community or to assist where appropriate.

In our view, these sorts of ‘non-core’ (for lack of a better way of saying it) initiatives are ideally suited to be managed by the CiviCRM community instead of by the Core Team anyway. The process of doing so will still adhere to the group structure whereby an individual takes on a role based on the size of the effort they’re going to put forth. If somebody wants to lead the marketing group, which is no small task, then by all means they can. Likewise, if someone wants to work on a very specific project within the umbrella of marketing, like a video, again, they can. 

In the big picture, our lesson from 2019 and our plan for 2020 is around focusing the Core Team on what it’s best suited to do, on maintaining a stable and growing budget, and on cultivating and supporting the community such that it can continue to take on more responsibility over various aspects of the CiviCRM project.

Visit CiviCRM website to read the full article: https://civicrm.org/annual-report