Back in 1998, RSPCA Sheffield asked if we could help them. They were drowning in administration and they could not find a suitable computer management package. A number of US-specific packages existed, but they were very expensive and did not cater for the needs of the UK.
We'd already been involved in volunteering and fundraising, and used our professional skills to implement in a computer program what they needed. We put up the program on the internet and gave it away to let other shelters use it. More shelters started to use the program and got in touch to say what else they needed.
Charities contacted us from the US, Australia and Canada. ASM grew to accomodate the additional needs of those countries. People were soon contacting us from all over the globe - India, South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia, Australia - including other programmers and translators who liked what we were doing and wanted to help out.
By 2006, the internet was in much wider use and shelters wanted to take advantage of it by sharing their databases centrally and having volunteers and fosterers connecting from home. Networking and security are difficult for normal users to setup and cost money. So, we started sheltermanager.com to offer hosted ASM accounts to shelters for a small annual fee.
Today, ASM is a feature-rich management system, built from the ideas and needs of shelters all over the world. Our work isn't done though, we have a roadmap of many years work ahead to incorporate new features!
Who are we?
Today, we're a small company with two full-time developers and a team of support staff.
We coordinate submissions from a loose-knit collection of programmers, translators and volunteers around the world who are also involved with animal charities.
Free and open system
Animal Shelter Manager has been carefully designed to interoperate with any operating system and computer platform, ensuring that you always have choices and options. Using ASM you will never be locked in to any one particular technology or forced to spend money to get what you need.
The system is completely free in all senses of the word and utilises other free software solutions, ensuring no licence costs to users and most importantly ensuring your rights and freedoms to open standards, open file formats/protocols and the ongoing guarantee that unfair terms will never be put upon you whilst you use the system. For more information on the Free Software movement in general, visit the Free Software Foundation.
A conservative estimate, based on downloads and feedback we have received over many years indicates that the ASM user base numbers into thousands of shelters across the globe. Compared to commercial competitors, this gives ASM one of the largest installed user bases of any computerised shelter management package.