AGENCY Home Page

AGENCY Software

"For Nonprofits that... keep data on spreadsheets and index cards" want to get everyone on the same page" don't want unnecessary software costs" want to control their own data" feel locked in by their vendor" want easy-to-access web-based software" aren't afraid of Free and Open Source software" want to form a collaborative community"
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Screenshot of AGENCY Home Page

What is AGENCY?

Do you need case management software? Fundraising software? A better way to keep your data? If so, AGENCY may be for you!

AGENCY is software designed for non-profits and others, allowing your organization to manage data and operations. It is a continuation and fork of the CHASERS project, and as such has been in development and continued use for many years.

AGENCY is founded with a strong belief that Free and Open Source software can bring many benefits to non-profit organizations, and with the aim of becoming a collectively-maintained and developed project that will empower organizations to operate more efficiently, make better use of their own data, and to lower their costs as well.

Many nonprofits are lagging behind in the use of computer technology. Many organizations don't use computers at all, or rely on very simple spreadsheets or databases. Others are reliant on vendors of proprietary systems, often supplied or mandated by funding sources. Such systems usually don't cover all of an organization's data needs, and don't allow full control of their data. Data often needs to be entered into multiple systems, involving wasteful and costly re-entry of data.

AGENCY is also about creating and maintaining a community among organizations that can discuss common challenges, share solutions, and identify and address issues and challenges that are common across many agencies.

Why use AGENCY?

  • Puts you in control of your data
  • No software costs or licensing fees
  • Robust, secure technology
  • Customizable to meet your specific needs
  • Designed for organizations, not limited to funder requirements
  • Join and build a community of nonprofit organizations

How much does AGENCY cost?

AGENCY is free software, meaning it costs nothing to install or use. There are no hidden fees or per-user licensing costs. However, that does not mean it will cost you nothing to run AGENCY. Here are some of the likely costs involved:

  • You will need a computer, or a hosting service, to run AGENCY.

  • If you wish to customize or improve AGENCY to better suit your needs, you may need to spend time making such improvements, or hire someone with technical expertise to do so. Or, get yourself a volunteer.

  • Remember, you do not have to pay for AGENCY. But if you use AGENCY, and like it, we ask that you make a donation to support the project. This is not required, but will help to make AGENCY a better program.

Does AGENCY work? Is anyone using it?

Yes. AGENCY Software is currently being used by Plymouth Housing Group, a large developer and operator of low-income housing in Seattle, WA. AGENCY is a continuation of CHASERS, which was been in use at DESC since 2002.

My group is interested in AGENCY. What do we do next?

To learn more about AGENCY, you could try the demo versions, look at the wiki , or download and install your own copy of AGENCY.

If you have questions about AGENCY, you could send a note to the agency-general mailing list.

Ken Tanzer, who was the original creator of CHASERS, led its development for 7 years, and is now leading the AGENCY project, is also available to provide consulting services for your organization. Please send Ken an email if you are interested in consulting services.

How can I help with AGENCY?

AGENCY needs lots of help to become an ongoing project. Here are some areas which you might be able to help with:

  • Use AGENCY!  (try the online demo)

  • Provide feedback

  • Report any bugs you find in AGENCY!

  • Help write documentation

  • Assist with designing or maintaining the website

  • Help develop artwork for AGENCY

  • Read or join the mailing lists on the Sourceforge site

  • Become an AGENCY developer

  • Make a donation to AGENCY

Also, see this blog entry for up-to-date information about helping with AGENCY.

What features does AGENCY have?

  • Web-based interface, simple to use

  • Uses robust Postgres open-source database

  • Pulls together everything you know about a person on one page

  • Simple Quick Search, plus advanced search options

  • Revision history tracks the complete set of changes to your data

  • Easy to track new kinds of information

  • Flexible permissions and access control

  • Create and run reports

  • Alert system notifies you upon selected events

  • Current “flavors” include:

  • “client” database for social service organizations

  • “donor” database for organizations doing fundraising