Gather is community supported software.
Subscribing communities can choose to contribute on the following sliding scale:
|For communities on a tight budget||For communities with healthy finances||For communities wishing to invest in the Gather vision|
Children and inactive members don’t count toward the price.
A 90-day trial period will be allowed so that communities can fully explore the system before subscribing. This period can be extended upon request to accommodate community budget schedules.
Gather is always free for communities in the planning or forming stages that have not started living together.
Software is expensive to build and many software companies rely on funding from private investors to get off the ground.
The Gather team has never taken funding from venture capitalists and has no plans to. Instead, initial development of Gather was supported by volunteer work and the Touchstone Cohousing workshare system.
In order to take Gather to the next level and serve a wider range of community needs, we need more time to work on the project, and this means we need funding. Yet we don’t want to be beholden to the demands of private investors, only the members of the communities we serve. This is why we are asking for community support.
Relying on volunteer efforts poses risks to long-term sustainability in two areas: development and support.
New feature development and bug fixing will always be needed for any software project of a sufficient size. Volunteer developers come and go and can’t be relied upon for steady work on community needs.
Reliable system support requires having staff on call who are familiar with the system. Again, relying solely on volunteer efforts here is risky.
Gather is actively maintained and supported by CommunitySoft Cooperative, which became a worker owned cooperative at the end of 2022. In the future, we are considering transitioning to a multi-stakeholder cooperative. One class of owners would be the workers who develop the software, provide customer support. The other class of owners would be the communities who use the software. Please get in touch if you would like to work with us!
Constituting Gather as a cooperative ensures its continued accountability to those it serves, rather than investors or shareholders, as the system grows.
Hosting costs, accounting and legal fees represent the primary material cost of the system. Funds may also eventually support advertising and travel costs for marketing purposes.
Supporting staff time represents the lion’s share of the system’s cost. Staff time is spent on the following tasks:
The more funds that can be raised to defray these costs, the faster development can proceed, and the more community needs can be met.