See the pricing/sustainability page.
Communities deserve great software, and great software is expensive to build and maintain. See the pricing/sustainability page for more detail.
Almost certainly. Gather is already in heavy use in multiple communities which depend on it to run their meals programs, common spaces, member directory and more.
Building a bigger community of paying subscribers will only deepen the system’s sustainability.
Yes, as long as there is a firm and accountable hours commitment and those offering to contribute possess the necessary skills. Contact us and let’s talk!
It depends on the type of help you need!
Not yet but there will be. We have been focusing our resources to date on building functionality, and relying on communities members to support each other in using Gather.
We recognize documentation is necessary, especially for some areas of the system. We will cover the most commonly asked questions in this document for now. When more substantial documentation is rolled out, we will move much of this content there.
There will be very soon. We have plans to set up a Discourse forum for the community within the next few weeks.
Please contact us. We appreciate it!
Yes. This is a fundamental assumption of Gather’s design.
Children also have separate user accounts in Gather, but:
Having children in Gather is useful for things listing them in the member directory, including them in the work-share program (coming soon), etc. But adding children is optional.
|Biller||View and update accounts, send statements, apply late fees, etc.|
|Meals Coordinator||Create and update meals and meals formulas, send meals messages|
|Photographer||Update user photos|
|Wikiist||Edit protected wiki pages, delete wiki pages|
Email is the address at which people want to be contacted.
Google ID is what people will use for sign in. If the person never needs to sign in, they don’t need a Google ID.
A unit represents a physical location like a house or apartment.
A household represents a group of users that share finances for the purposes of billing. Meal signups and billing statements are on a household basis for this reason. It wouldn’t make sense to send separate statements to two members of the same household.
All users must belong to a household, but a household can have only one user.
We chose Google as the initial sign in method because it is easy and means one less password to remember.
Future integrations with Google products like Google Drive will also be made easier if all users have a linked Google account.
However, email/password sign in is a planned feature. If this is a deal breaker for your community, let us know and we can expedite it.
These are the basic steps:
Gather has a sophisticated set of protocols for governing reservations. They include:
Each of the above is configurable for a single resource or group of resources.
The user interface for editing these settings is still under construction. In the mean time, Gather staff can set things up for you upon request.
The reason we built a wiki into Gather was so we could have full control over the user interface and maintain an integrated experience. Other open-source wikis are all, in our experience, pretty clunky or lacking key features.
The wiki has been a huge success at Touchstone Cohousing, even among elderly residents! Pre-wiki, we were having a pretty hard time with information architecture. Our shared Google Drive was well organized, but people still had a lot of trouble finding things or even just “getting into” Drive in some cases.
Google Docs are also heavier-weight than a typical web page. They are slower to load, and clicking a link opens up a new tab. It’s not easy to jump around in order to find what you want or see what is available.
We still use Drive and Docs (they are peerless when it comes to collaborative editing) but we have the following guidelines:
Yes, subject to the availability of our development staff. Let’s talk.
We have chosen a very well established technology stack to ensure Gather’s longevity:
Currently we offer CSV export of user data. Meals and accounts are not far behind. CSV is great for doing data analysis, importing to other tools, etc.
However, we recognize that CSV outputs are not complete archives of your data. For this reason, we also pledge to provide full SQL and filesystem dumps of your community’s data upon request.
We do not believe in data lock-in!
Not yet. What would you need one for? Let’s talk.
Self-hosting is also not likely to be a cost-saving measure once you consider the value of your members’ time. Maintaining an active, complex web application takes a lot of time and expertise.
Self-hosting could be a sensible model if you have a lot of developer talent (and time) in your community and you want to do a lot customization. In that case, it would be great to work together to keep as much of that code as possible in the mainline and available for other communities to benefit from.
We like to think that contributing to Gather (either with code or with dollars) is an investment in a movement.
Heroku’s free tier is designed for experimentation, not production use, and Gather is a beefy enough application that your users’ experience will likely not be good on Heroku’s free tier. Some considerations:
Then there is support. As mentioned above, maintaining a production web application is not a trivial matter. (At Sassafras we like to say a web application is more like a dog than a hammer!) Heroku helps with some maintenance tasks but not all of them.
Given all this, we’d be much happier if your dollars were going towards supporting Gather instead of Heroku!