[July 31, 2000] Open Philanthropy Exchange (OPX) Consortium Releases XML Specification for Gift Information Transfer. OPX (Open Philanthropy eXchange) was founded "to help the philanthropic community make effective use of the growing number of technology opportunities currently available. OPX provides a standard for formatting and exchanging digital information about donors, gifts, volunteers, members and events. By using a common data format, nonprofit organizations and service providers can streamline communications between Web sites and back-office databases. Software applications with incompatible formats can use OPX to transfer information using a common language. The OPX Consortium brings together diverse industry partners to define and shape the OPX standard. The consortium will comprise many different organizations -- software vendors, charitable donation capture Web sites, and other nonprofit solution providers -- to ensure OPX is truly an open, industry-wide tool. OPX is based on XML (Extensible Markup Language). XML is a standard language used to structure and describe data so that a broad range of applications can understand it. OPX defines an XML grammar that allows for a flexible, standard way to tag specific pieces of information such as donor names, gift amounts, membership levels, event registrations and volunteer opportunities. The most important goal of the OPX development team was to define the OPX wire format (or layout) in an industry standard fashion. Therefore, XML 1.0 serves as the basis for the OPX layout. All HTTP requests contain an XML payload conforming to the OPX document type definition. Using XML technology allows the standard to be flexible and easily expanded. XML is also both platform and system independent, companies can employ OPX without drastic change to their existing systems. A company can install any web server that accepts HTTP POST requests; this will act as an OPX server. XML presents no constraints on implementation; the company determines how best to integrate OPX into its systems. The consortium will help define future versions of OPX. OPX 1.0 provides the foundation for the OPX initiative. Future versions will define data exchanges for volunteers, events, memberships, as well as matching information, and other types of data relevant to nonprofit operations." From the text of the 2000-07-31 announcement: "The Open Philanthropy eXchange (OPX) Consortium today announced the release of the initial specification for an open technical standard for use by the nonprofit community and organizations that provide services to that sector. Based in the programming language XML, these specifications are the first step in an evolving process to develop and maintain an open data exchange standard that benefits the entire sector. The OPX standard can be accessed at www.opxinfo.net. The development of open standards helps to speed the adoption of technology and Internet-based applications and services. OPX was founded to help the philanthropic community make effective use of the growing number of technology opportunities currently available. This initial release of the OPX specification facilitates the seamless transfer and importing of donor and gift information from e-commerce-enabled Web sites to nonprofits' database software, and other donor relationship management tools."
[June 29, 2000] Announcement from 2000-06-29: "XML Standard for Philanthropic Sector To Be Announced in July. Industry Leaders Announce Upcoming Launch of the Open Philanthropy eXchange, Encourage Sector and Industry Participation." - "A coalition of leading technology providers to the nonprofit community today announced plans to release an XML-based open language standard for use by the sector and those who provide services to the sector. Blackbaud, Charitableway.com, and MyAssociation.com announced that the Open Philanthropy eXchange (OPX) will be launched in July 2000. OPX will help streamline and facilitate the philanthropic world's use of technology. The founders of OPX also announced that the first OPX Consortium meeting, which is open to the participation of all interested parties, will be held in September 2000. The release of OPX 1.0 will enable nonprofit organizations and supporting industries to interact in a common technology-based language, facilitating e-commerce transactions and the flow of data. Similar to the industry-specific standards introduced in other sectors, the creation of a philanthropic-centric standard will greatly improve the ability of charities to make use of the latest technologies. OPX defines a neutral standard using XML that will support communication and the ability to exchange and track data about donors, donations, members, volunteer services, and events. OPX will help facilitate the donation process for both donors and charities. An individual will be able to visit an OPX-ready online giving site or service and make a donation to the charity of his or her choice. If the nonprofit then also uses OPX-ready software, donor and gift information can automatically be downloaded into the organization's database. This process helps charities streamline their communication and interaction with supporters and devote more of their time and attention to their own missions and charitable services. 'The creation of an XML standard for the nonprofit sector will enable Health and Human Services agencies to capture and exchange data electronically over the Internet,' said David Armour, Executive-in-charge of the Internet Strategies Initiative for United Way of America. 'United Way of America recognizes the importance of establishing these standards and welcomes the opportunity to participate in their development.' OPX will be maintained as an open standard to be adapted, developed, and evolved over time. The OPX specification will be made publicly available for implementation by any nonprofit organization or service provider. The standard will enable nonprofits to more easily use and integrate the data they have from different technology services and systems. OPX aims to be an inclusive effort that is beneficial to the entire community. The founding members of the OPX coalition are actively encouraging others in the sector and those who support the sector to get involved in helping to develop and implement the OPX standard. Groups and individuals interested in joining and providing input to OPX are encouraged to contact the coalition and attend the OPX Consortium meeting that will focus on incorporating ideas toward the development of OPX 2.0. Please contact Blackbaud, Charitableway.com, or MyAssociation.com for more information."
[July 31, 2000] "New Open Technical Standard to Help Charities Streamline Data Transfer." - "The Open Philanthropy eXchange (OPX) Consortium today announced the release of the initial specification for an open technical standard for use by the nonprofit community and organizations that provide services to that sector. Based in the programming language XML, these specifications are the first step in an evolving process to develop and maintain an open data exchange standard that benefits the entire sector. The OPX standard can be accessed at www.opxinfo.net. The development of open standards helps to speed the adoption of technology and Internet-based applications and services. OPX was founded to help the philanthropic community make effective use of the growing number of technology opportunities currently available. This initial release of the OPX specification facilitates the seamless transfer and importing of donor and gift information from e-commerce-enabled Web sites to nonprofits' database software, and other donor relationship management tools. Based on the input of OPX Consortium members, future releases will incorporate additional functionality, such as the ability to exchange member, volunteer, and event information. . . A number of leading technology companies that offer products and services to the philanthropic sector have already indicated their support of OPX, including ACCESS International, Araize, Charity.ca, Charity Reach, Convio, DonateTo.com, eContributor, eFundDrive.com, eTapestry, 4charity.com, FUND E-Z, Heller Consulting, MicroEdge, and TRAC, Inc. The founding members of OPX are Blackbaud, Charitableway, and MyAssociation.com. With OPX, all participating parties agree to speak the same technical language to expedite the exchange of information. When a participant sends or receives data, no translation is necessary. Participants do not need to create different interfaces for each partner with whom they interact. All transfers of information are conducted according to the privacy and security policies of the originating site. . . Open Philanthropy eXchange is an XML-based specification for data transfer between different technology systems and services for the philanthropic sector. OPX enables organizations in the nonprofit arena to communicate in a common language; it removes technical barriers through seamless transmission of data. OPX is maintained as an open standard by a coalition of diverse partners from the technology and nonprofit communities to ensure that OPX is a beneficial, industry-wide tool."