OSDI Achieves Version 1 Status and Initial Implementation Commitments

April 28, 2015

osdi-map“Data nerds, your job should get easier soon”Colin Delaney, ePolitics

A broad coalition of progressive vendors, customers and experts proudly announce the release of Version 1 of the Open Supporter Data Interface specification. (OSDI).  OSDI is a community-governed specification that defines common formats for essential resources including like People/Supporters, Donations, Events, Forms, and Petitions.

The OSDI specification will help progressives exchange data easily between organizing technology systems, allowing for increased innovation, collaboration, and success as progressives take advantage of the ability to transfer their data to exactly where they need it quickly and simply.


Initial Implementation Commitments

At the time of the release of the specification, the following vendors have committed to implementation.  As time moves forward, look for more implementation commitments on the OSDI site.


“NGP VAN’s Voter Activation Network (VAN) product will support OSDI in the summer of 2015” — Aharon Wasserman, VP Creative & Marketing, NGP VAN 

Action Network

“Action Network will support the OSDI V1 specification in the summer of 2015.  It currently supports the pre-standard version” — Jason Rosenbaum, Director of Technology, Action Network 

Mobile Commons

The Mobile Commons platform will support a 2-way data integration to any CRM system that adheres to the OSDI specification in the Summer 2015 time frame.” —  Benjamin Stein, Director of Software Development, Upland Mobile Commons


“We are excited to announce that Organizer’s mobile application will support the OSDI standard in the Fall 2015 time frame” — Daniel Zauber, Product Director, Organizer


“Amicus will proudly support 2-way API-based data integration with any CRM that’s OSDI compliant by end of year 2015.” — Seth Bannon, Founder and CEO, Amicus


“ShareProgress intends to adhere to the OSDI specification and will be updating our API accordingly in the coming year.” — Jim Pugh, CEO, ShareProgress 


Broad Coalition of Industry Support

In addition to the implementation commitments, OSDI has broad industry support and active specification development from its members.

“Action Network aims to be a great online organizing tool at home in the progressive data ecosystem. OSDI aims to make connections between systems easy, allowing our partners to pick the best tools for each specific job and wire them together, so their data is never far away. We’re proud to be an OSDI implementer.” — Jason Rosenbaum, Action Network 

“OSDI lets progressives focus on innovations instead of integrations.” – Seth Bannon, Founder and CEO, Amicus 

“OSDI is an important step forward, and another example of how progressives are moving the needle forward on all things data and tech.” — Yahel Carmon, Director of Insight Products at Blue State Digital 

“OSDI represents a heroic effort to advance technology integration standards and best-practices that will accelerate development, improve collaboration and lower the barriers to new innovation.” — Jeff Crigler, Chief Technology Officer, Catalist 

“The Databank has provided CRM, fundraising, and advocacy services to progressive nonprofits and political organizations since 1998.  With an API built to the OSDI specification, our system becomes more useful than ever to our clients, to their users, volunteers and members.  Our data is consumable on more devices and platforms, and more interchangeable with different vendors.  Everybody wins!” — Mark Paquette, Co-founder and CTO, thedatabank, inc. 

“Mobile Commons knows the pain of maintaining data integrations all too well — our team currently maintains over 10 completely different API integrations to support our progressive customers. OSDI will be a total game changer; a common interface will dramatically improve Mobile Commons’ ability to integrate with new and emerging platforms, all the while reducing development costs and time to market.” — Benjamin Stein, Director of Software Development, Upland Mobile Commons

“NGP VAN is eager to build and extend the technological edge that Democrats and progressives enjoy. OSDI promises to lower the cost of integration among progressive vendors, and implementing the OSDI specification for the VAN is therefore an excellent way to further our mission. We’re excited to see what kinds of applications and advances in progressive organizing will be made possible by this effort.” – Shai Sachs, NGP VAN Innovation Platform Director

“Organizer’s mobile application is used throughout the progressive movement – both domestically and internationally – therefore a data sharing standard like OSDI is essential for our customers and our mission” — Ian Magruder, Director of Business Development, Organizer


The Customer Problem OSDI Solves

“Equality Federation members across the country have been fending off over 100 anti-LGBT bills this year alone. The last things they need are the headaches and costs of syncing data in systems that do not easily integrate. Ultimately, open standards will help our members better achieve their missions in less time and with fewer costs.” – Mark Snyder, Director of Communications, Equality Federation.

“As a digital consultant solely working with progressive clients, one of my biggest frustrations has been having to deal with sets of tools that we use in the progressive movement that don’t mix and match very well causing my clients and me many a headache over the years. I got excited about OSDI and got involved because the idea of leveraging a system that allows us to package a set of tools easily that will play well with each other on the data side to do what a client needs to get done is heaven” — Beth Becker, Partner, Becker Digital Strategies

“Citizen Action of New York is excited to be able to link up and update our contact data with many different sources and partners using OSDI. As users of CiviCRM, the open source contact relationship management platform, and as customers of NGP VAN, Catalist, Salsa, CallFire and other vendors, we’re eager to move quickly to implement OSDI.” – Joe McLaughlin, Citizen Action of New York 

Today, customers are faced with serious challenges integrating essential different systems and their data.  The lack of common standards introduces unnecessary complexity resulting in: 

Person-time Costs – Extra staff, or consulting hours must be paid for, volunteer time is wasted 

Suboptimal targeting – without being able to correlate data between systems our ability to target voters and supporters is diminished.

Data loss – with varying columns and field names, as well as semantic differences in those fields across systems, we often throw them away to make the data import/export possible. 

Inability to leverage new products and services – We often have to limit our choices to the set of products and services that have built one-off connector modules. 

Innovation Suffers – Due to the high costs of building and maintaining integration connectors, smaller vendors are unable to support the wide set of CRMs and systems in this space. 


The Solution

The Vision –  If Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer can work with any website, why can’t progressive technology systems work with each other? 

They can.  It merely requires the will to work together and for customers to insist on it. 

OSDI addresses these challenges by standardizing the formats and APIs that systems use to integrate. An investment in a single OSDI connector will allow integration with any system that supports OSDI. 

To see a concrete example scenario that OSDI will bring, watch this two minute video, which demonstrates a WordPress signup form that pushes data into multiple online contact/organizing databases, also known as constituent (or customer) relationship management systems (CRMs).

A quick 2 minute demo.
Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsoHsXVjN0g

Next Steps

With v1 out the door, the committee is now entering the design stage for our next version.  This will evaluate new areas including Social Analytics, Field Canvassing, Dialers and Phones, Advocacy, and others. 

If you are a progressive vendor or customer with an interest in participating in these discussions, please see information below about joining OSDI.


Joining OSDI

Are you a progressive org or vendor that progressive customers depend on? Want to join us?

visit https://actionnetwork.org/forms/join-osdi or email info@opensupporter.org


Governance and Membership

OSDI is defined and governed by a broad coalition of customer orgs and vendors to reduce costs in the progressive community. 

Our members include: Act Blue, Act.tv, The Action Network, ActionSprout, Amicus, The Analyst Institute, Attentive.ly, Beth Becker Strategies,Blue State Digital, BroadStripes, Catalist, The Center for Popular Democracy / Action for the Common Good, Citizen Action of New York, ControlShift, CornerShop Creative, DSPolitical, Equality Federation, FasterCampaigns, Indigo Strategies, Microsoft Corporation, Mobile Commons, LGBT Netroots Connect, Netroots Nation, NGP VAN, New Organizing Institute, Organizer, Revolution Messaging, Salsa Labs, ShareProgress, Sierra Club, Sunlight Foundation, TargetSmart, The Data Bank, The Quad, Trilogy Interactive, UFCW, Veracity Media, Washington 43rd Democrats, Washington United for Marriage, Wide Eye Creative, Winning Mark. 

The full coalition can be found at: http://opensupporter.org/#coalition
Our Leadership and Officers can be found at http://opensupporter.org/leadership


Contact Information:

For questions or more information,

Email  pr@opensupporter.org

Visit http://opensupporter.org

For questions about product implementation schedules, please contact your vendors.