Community Organization Software
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sun, 6 Aug 2017 08:02:24 -0700 (PDT)
What we need is a community organization software that can be used from day 
one—first meeting. And grow with the community. It needs to help communities 
with a structure that offers aids to being organized, at the level they need. 
It needs to be sustainable while it addresses a niche market. Something for 
everyone in one package is too confusing. And requires too many compromises.

I think the Wordpress (WP) plugin model is wonderful. First level services are 
free and fully functional. Once an organization needs more, there is more to be 
had for an annual or monthly fee. That allows communities to learn what the 
software will do and what they need. Most people don’t know what they need. 
They have to try things. They won’t pay for things they need (or know they 

Paying up front for something that everyone else says is wonderful often 
doesn’t work. Too much behind the scenes Trumpism. Hidden relationships making 
everyone rich instead of honest information. I’ve been looking for the best way 
to transfer websites, for example. I paid almost $100 for a software that many 
professionals in the field say is the gold standard. Say what? It was 
ridiculous. After 3 contacts with their support staff and a week of testing and 
repeating and restoring, I said it didn’t work for me. They refused to refund 
my money when other companies had quickly refunded fees when I explained 

I trust WP plugins that I have used and liked, and can upgrade to professional 
versions when I need them. I’m not hesitant to pay for a plugin, or even to 
donate, when I know something works and the organization is easy to work with 
and honest.

So having a basic software that does most of the things a community wants until 
they are up and running, I think is crucial. They need something day one and it 
would be nice to start in one place and stay there.

So I’m still game to work on a community organization software using WP. 
Nothing so complicated that it takes three years to produce or have a degree in 
programming to use.

Someone set up a forum a few years ago to focus all the software discussion on 
a plan. I’m not a forum person except for asking questions about software, but 
this one seemed too complicated and not organic. And the conversation quickly 
turned to debates about programming. I dropped out but I don’t know if others 

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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