Working with the Open Source community, especially in the areas of internet freedom, but also in many fields beyond, we had to realize that current support for the community is in many respects inadequate.
Most support organizations, and funders most directly so, concentrate on financial support. Yet simply handing out money does not fit the structure, ethics, and values of the community. Funders often like to have one point of contact in the communities, and expect to work with hierarchical structures. In most cases, however, the communities in question take great care to avoid hierarchies, and look to communal decision making instead. Also, many communities and projects consist of volunteers contributing their time depending on other commitments – only very seldomly there is an unchanging and alway present core team.
We need to be able to support such organizations without requiring them to adapt outside structures or forcing them to go against their ethical principles. Furthermore, financial support often comes with burdens for open source and other organizations. The need for proper accounting, tax filing, and especially donor reporting weighs heavily on such organizations ad takes valuable resources of time and commitment from what they actually set out to accomplish.
This is why we concentrate on making things as easy as possible for them – on helping them do what they do best. With our Center for the Cultivation of Technology, we take care of the rest.
Center for the Cultivation of Technology – A Non-Profit Home for Open Source Projects
The Center for the Cultivation of Technology provides a supportive and nurturing environment for free and open source projects. We take care of organizational matters for the projects, including contract management, office and legal setup, fundraising, progress reporting and tax filing. Additionally, the Center trains and empowers project maintainers to navigate organizational matters themselves, so they can choose to set up their own organization using our platform and tools should they wish to do so.
CCT’s main features:
- Donation Management & Donor Reporting
Our donor management platform facilitates tax-deductible donations to member projects using various means such as wire transfer, credit cards, Paypal, or Bitcoin.
The Center is able to provide tax-deductible donation receipts in Germany and within some European member states. By growing partnerships with fiscal sponsors in other regions of the world, we aim to provide tax-deductibility in more and more regions of the world over time.
- Accounting, Employment and Contracting
Our web-based platform allows our member projects to manage and allocate budgets as they see fit, including provisions for sub-budgets such as contract work, travel, or equipment. Our platform facilitates all transactions, and helps us manage required paperwork, including receipts and documentation. We provide employment and contracting templates, both for Europe and world-wide. We will manage payroll and tax reporting, and provide necessary documents for internal and external audits. In essence, all projects will be free to allocate funds and work as they wish, and we will take care that everything goes smoothly and is properly documented.
- Facilitate In-Person Developer Meetings
Most open source projects are developed in a distributed fashion. With some projects, it is quite common that developer teams have never met in person. Despite this, the importance and effectiveness of human contact is as strong as ever. Most successful projects have in common the fact they regularly meet, e.g. at project-specific developer conferences, which often see great bursts of creativity and productivity. We help organize and plan these meetings, including travel arrangements and conference support together with event experts (moderation, note-taking, etc.).
- Crowdfunding Campaigns & Merchandise Logistics
… so projects can focus on what they do best – write code!
- Grants Management
We support our projects’ applications for grants, for example to private foundations or for European Union grants and will also spearhead our own funding initiatives. This includes the processing of larger grants, including the management of restricted funds and audited financial reporting.
Expert Network and Mentor Community
Our knowledge and connections, and the knowledge and connections of our projects, combine to build an expert network. All projects will be able to call upon our mentor community (including members of our advisory board and other experts) with problems or questions they might have. We will fill needs and vacancies, connect developers and activists with, for example, designers, journalists and institutions.
- Office and Meeting Space
While most projects are not housed in a specific location, where this is the case and appropriate, we help arrange office and meeting space – ideally shared office space with similar projects to enable collaboration. We are providing such a space to the community and our member projects in Berlin.
- Billing & Sales
Our hybrid legal structure as a non-profit limited liability company allows us to bill companies and buyers in the name of our projects. As a developer, you can work on customer projects, and conveniently use the Center‘s web interface to bill clients for commercial work.
- Asset Stewardship
The Center is able to hold assets, e.g. trademarks, domain names and physical equipment for member projects whenever they would like us to do so. In many cases, this will help avoid licensing issues quite common in larger projects with fluctuating contributors.
For more details, please consult the Center For The Cultivation of Technology website.
With our help, projects will no longer have to re-invent the wheel in terms of organization, finance, fundraising and reporting. Instead, they will be able to rely on the tools and experience we provide, freeing their energy for what they originally set out to do. In addition, funders can be confident that they will receive quality reporting via one interfacing organization across multiple, independent projects.