The ANSWR Project

ANSWR is an online platform initiative to help create richer, more strategic levels of understanding about critical nonprofit software areas by enabling users to locate documentation, training, consulting, and community support for their specific nonprofit software needs, no matter where those resources reside on the internet. ANSWR will strive to connect and augment existing resources, rather than duplicating, and wherever possible will help users find and navigate to appropriate online destinations. ANSWR is an acronym that stands for Aggregated Nonprofit Software Resources.

The project will be undertaken as a collaboration between a set of five organizations already well-known for their focus on nonprofit software. Idealware is the recognized leader in nonprofit software reviews, research, and analysis. TechSoup is the most trusted name in nonprofit software support and sales, and has a long track record publishing strategic content to support nonprofit technology efforts. Leland Design has focused on software selection and development projects for nonprofits for over 10 years. BCT Partners is a strategic consulting firm that works with nonprofit organizations and across sectors to improve organizational effectiveness and support strategies for change. And Aspiration, a capacity builder best-known for their innovative nonprofit technology events and Social Source Commons platform, is overseeing the initiative.

Laura Quinn, Director of Idealware, says “ANSWR will combine three different kinds of information: links to the great content that already exists about software packages and best practices around the web, new comments and information created by experienced nonprofit practitioners, and editorial software reviews and articles. Experienced moderators will highlight the best and most useful information, to help nonprofits find the answers they need quickly, and will encourage useful and lively community collaboration.

ANSWR’s goal is to complement existing nonprofit technology resources by better connecting them. The project represents the next generation in nonprofit software knowledge sharing; the advent of rich informations feeds and web site APIs (Application Programmer Interfaces) is paving the way for better integration and presentation of content and knowledge spread across the internet. The platform will also allow other sites to re-use and embed ANSWR information in order to supplement their own content. ANSWR is being built on top of Social Source Commons, Aspiration’s collaborative software platform for mapping who’s using which nonprofit software tools, and will be a fully open source platform, implemented using industry standard technologies.

Initial funding for ANSWR is provided by Surdna Foundation. Surdna is a family foundation established in 1917 by John Emory Andrus. The foundation makes grants in the areas of environment, community revitalization, effective citizenry, the arts and the nonprofit sector, with annual grantmaking of approximately $37 million.

ANSWR is supported by a rich and diverse advisory group of leading thinkers from the nonprofit technology field, who will be offering input and guidance on priorities and interoperability strategies.