Frequently Asked Questions

How is CiviForm developed and maintained?

CiviForm is an open source project that is collectively developed and maintained by the governments that use it, with additional support from and Exygy. Read about CiviForm’s governance structure to learn more about how governments work together to make decisions and shape the project.

How much does CiviForm cost?

CiviForm’s software is free and open source; however, setting up CiviForm in your community requires a significant organizational investment in civic service design to ensure programs and residents have an improved experience, and operating CiviForm requires ongoing staff time to manage questions and application forms. Additionally, there are infrastructure costs associated with hosting CiviForm using in-house resources or a third party.

Which governments are using CiviForm?

CiviForm is in active use by the City of Seattle and the City of Bloomington. CiviForm is actively being piloted for launch by the State of Arkansas. Our hope is to make CiviForm widely adopted in communities across the country.

How can I get CiviForm in my community?

Adopting CiviForm requires working closely with program administrators, IT teams, and other stakeholders to successfully understand and meet the needs of programs and residents. See "Getting started" for a detailed look at the process. Hands-on support for adopting CiviForm is also available through the Fellowship program.

What technical capacity is necessary to deploy and manage CiviForm?

CiviForm is open source software that can be deployed and self-hosted on each government’s own cloud or on-premises infrastructure. Existing IT staff with knowledge of cloud or on-premises systems can set up and manage CiviForm with minimal effort. Once CiviForm is deployed, non-technical users can manage programs and questions through a user-friendly interface. Read more about infrastructure requirements and staffing needs.

How does CiviForm store and manage applicant information?

Because CiviForm’s underlying infrastructure is self-hosted by each government, all applicant information is stored and managed by each government in accordance with their security and privacy policies. Read more about security and privacy considerations in CiviForm.

Why is CiviForm built as open source software?

CiviForm is built as a government software collaborative, which provides a way of co-developing and maintaining shared government software that reduces long-term maintenance costs and makes it easier to adapt to the changing needs of programs and communities. CiviForm’s open source approach is grounded in principles of transparency, community ownership, and community-driven development. Member organizations contribute to CiviForm’s shared codebase through collective planning and decision-making processes (read about CiviForm’s governance processes here).

Are open source tools like CiviForm secure?

Yes. Open source software is widely used across critical web infrastructure, including by secure government services such as CiviForm’s maintainers regularly update software dependencies and publish a new release each week. CiviForm’s approach to open source software development is inspired by best practices from technical government organizations such as 18F.