The community is the shell in which your system grows. Each community can have one or more applications, each designed to help you manage a specific process. It also contains any components that you need to use.
Each community has a unique URL, one or more administrators and a set of users that are members of the community. While user accounts can access more than one community, membership of the community is managed at the community level.
In most cases organisations will need only one community. However, large organisations may need several (or in case of government, possibly even hundreds) of communities. Individuals communities are useful in these contexts as they help to:
- Manage users (and hence access)
- Set and manage defaults
- Manage which apps the community uses
- Change settings on apps to customise them to a specific context
Sharing data across communities
A donor or government may fund or need to collect data from hundreds of organisations. If each organisation runs it's own BetterData community they have full control over a range of important areas. However, it's still easy for them to share data to one or more collector databases.
More importantly, if the communities use the same indicator sets then the shared data can be automatically aggregated to provide a bigger picture. Take the following example:
A donor is funding 200 NGOs across several countries. While their activities differ significantly, they share the following:
- They all work with citizens and need to track who they are working with
- Many provide training through workshops
If the donor defines standards for the indicator sets used to record data on citizens and training and if the NGO agrees, the data can be automatically shared and aggregated to a collector database. This would provide data on all citizens engaged via donor funded activities and the training they receive.