Dear Community,

After a lot of user research and usage data analysis we have decided to restructure our self-service plans and pricing to better serve our community of users. As a non-profit social enterprise, Ushahidi’s goal is to achieve our mission of helping disadvantaged people raise their voice and get the help they need, while earning enough revenue to cover our costs and do good work in the world. The support, both financial and other, of our users and clients is what allows us to continue to serve this mission a decade into our existence. We have conducted a lot of research into our users’ needs and our pricing model. The recurring and overarching issue is that our pricing model is not serving our users, thereby affecting our ability to support Ushahidi as well as affecting the potential impact of all our users.

We want to walk everyone through the problems and solutions that we have identified, and the logic as to why we think this new configuration will create more global impact and help us to better achieve our mission of empowering disadvantaged people to raise their voices and get the help they need.

Problem 1: The feature-limited self-service Mapper plan does not help users gain an accurate idea of the value and potential of the full-featured Ushahidi platform.

Our Solution: We are changing the self-service feature-limited Mapper plan to a self-service full-featured plan called “Ushahidi Demo,” which is only limited by 25 reports and 30 days of use.

We originally created Mapper as a way for people to test out the product and then upgrade to a full-featured plan once they grasped the value of the product. After numerous user interviews and analysis of usage data, we learned that the feature limitation was making it difficult for users to understand the true potential of the Ushahidi platform. People would sign up, but then move on without upgrading. We realized that a much better way to create a “Demo” self-service plan is to give the full-featured software to everyone for free to try and test out. Then once deployments start achieving scale, users would be prompted to upgrade to a paid plan.

We settled on gating this Demo version not by features, but rather by reports and usage time. Gathering, managing, and responding to crowdsourced reports is the primary function of the Ushahidi platform. When analyzing the curve of deployments which have transitioned from a demoing phase into an active usage phase, 25 reports was the knee of that curve. As such, we have restructured Mapper into Ushahidi Demo to showcase all the features of the Ushahidi platform but require users to upgrade once they hit 25 reports. Demo deployments are also frozen once the reach an age of 30 days if they have not already reached 25 reports. At that time, Demo users will also be prompted to upgrade or conclude their usage of Ushahidi Demo.

Problem 2: Most organizations either can’t pay anything, or can but need more support in the form of consulting, set-up, strategy, and dedicated customer support.

Our Solution: We are discontinuing the self-service Surveyor plan, and are encouraging people to engage as an Enterprise Partner, use the self-service Ushahidi Basic plan, or apply for a Grassroots License.

We originally thought that there would be a long tail of Ushahidi users who would be able to pay a little bit for a slightly more feature-rich version of the platform,and therefore Surveyor would meet their needs. After speaking with users and looking at the data, what we have found is that this is not the case. Most users fall into one of two categories: 1) they are either a grassroots org who has zero budget for software, 2) or they are a organization that is looking for an Enterprise Partnership with customer support and technical expertise in addition to the software. There are very few users who fell in between. As such, we encourage users apply for a Grassroots License, use the full-feature Ushahidi Basic self-service plan, or form an Enterprise Partnership with us. We believe that these three routes will provide the best options for software usage and support to our active and potential user base.

All existing Surveyor users will be grandfathered in. These deployments will upgrade to the Ushahidi Basic plan for the same price they are currently paying.

Problem 3: The self-service plan names were confusing.

Our Solution: Our self-service plans will now include Ushahidi Demo and Ushahidi Basic (formerly Responder).

The Responder plan is the full-featured version of the Ushahidi platform, however, in user testing we found that the name was causing confusion. As such, we have decided to call this plan Ushahidi Basic, because this is full Ushahidi platform software, but does not include any of the value-added services we provide through an Enterprise Partnership. These additional services allow us to share our technical expertise and support project success as a full scale technical partner.

Problem 4: Users were unclear what services and support came with a self-service plan and what was included as part of an Enterprise Partnership.

Our Solution: More transparency into our Ushahidi Enterprise Partnerships offerings and base pricing.

In conversation with potential partners, we frequently hear that it would help tremendously to have more transparency into the offerings and pricing of all our value added services up front. Too often organizations include the cost of a self-service plan in a budget line prior to speaking with us, but don’t realize that we offer platform set-up, trainings, survey configuration strategy and advice, workflow development, a dedicated account manager, and other technical expertise and services. These additional services are what makes working with Ushahidi as an Enterprise Partner worthwhile. We want to take care of the technology and let you focus on your project goals and impact. Moving forward, we will include a more comprehensive list of these services on our Pricing page, and differentiate where they are included and not included across an Enterprise Partnerships and the self-service plans. Our hope is that this will help user make better and more informed decisions about the level support and engagement they desire and which option would best meet their project’s needs..

Encouraging use of Grassroots Licenses

We want to highlight that we offer Grassroots Licenses to support grassroots users who don’t have the technical skills to use the open source version, and don’t have funds to afford a hosted version. This license is a free version of our Ushahidi Basic self-service plan. Organizations, citizens, or grassroots communities that are 1) mission-driven, 2) have an organizational wide budget of less than USD 250,000/year qualify for a Grassroots License. Ushahidi usually takes 72 hours to approve a grassroots application.

This is a concerted effort to help make the Ushahidi platform work better for all our users, from grassroots activists to large multilateral organizations like the UN. We will continue to conduct user interviews and listen and adjust accordingly. As a non-profit social enterprise, Ushahidi’s goal is to achieve our mission while earning enough revenue to cover our costs and continue doing good work in the world. We make our software open source and focus our product development effort on important global problems, such as crisis response in the face of climate change, human rights reporting in the face of political crisis, and building trust in elections in the face of misinformation and bad actors. The support of our users and clients is what allows us to continue to serve this mission a decade into our existence.