F.A.Q.

Below we answer your frequently asked questions. Still want to know more? Just contact us with any questions you have!

fold faq

What is CommonSites trying to accomplish?

Our vision is to develop an open and energized global heritage community, by providing our partners with innovative media tools. Our mission is to create open, transparent and easily accessible relationships among funders, partners and communities, to stimulate creative, ethical and sustainable heritage practices around the world.

Less
fold faq

When was CommonSites founded and by whom?

Work on CommonSites started in the summer of 2011. CommonSites was founded by Sjoerd van der Linde, Adam Jagich and David de Bruijne. Others who have played a key role in the begin were Peter van der Linde and Thomas Bjelkeman-Pettersson from the Akvo foundation, and our board members Willem Willems and Rutger Colenbrander.

Since end of 2012 CommonSites is a foundation, registered at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce.

Less
fold faq

Is CommonSites a commercial company?

No, we're a non-profit foundation. Our goal is to be financially independent, offering a stable platform for users of our services.

Less
fold faq

What are the prices CommonSites charges?

CommonSites is a non-profit organisation. Although the startup of CommonSites is subsidised, we believe that in the long run the CommonSites services should be self-sustainable, and not be dependent on subsidies. 


That is why CommonSites charges a fee for the services we offer like the Really Simple Reporting (RSR) system. All fees help us in maintaining and improving the CommonSites system.

For more information on our custom solutions and pricing please contact us at info@commonsites.net

Less
fold faq

Can I trust CommonSites?

CommonSites is a foundation, registered at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce.

We view the trust that others put in us as a serious responsibility. We are carefully building our network of partners. Using a thorough vetting process, we add new RSR Partners who already have a track record in heritage management and research work.


We are as open as possible about what we do, in both the development of our products and the financing that supports it. Our accounts are audited every year by independent public accountants, and the reports are published on our website. 

Less
fold faq

Will RSR attract donations to my projects?

When your project is in the RSR system, it can be made visible in many places. In addition to the CommonSites website and FaceBook page, your project can appear on websites that make use of widgets to show a selection of projects. This can be your own website, a Support Partner website, external fundraising websites, etc. 

Putting your project in RSR is the easiest way to get a ‘Donate’ button on your project and get rid of any financial bookkeeping involved otherwise. Setting up an online payment system represents a significant overhead for small organizations, and is therefore often not feasible nor reliable. With our donation function you get full donation functionality. 

Unfortunately, money usually does not drop from the sky. To increase the chance that your project attracts funds implement RSR as much as possible online. Share it on social media and embed it to the website of any involved organization. We can provide more helpful information on how to do this. 

The RSR system is developed to increase knowledge sharing, file projects online and easily share progress. The additional donation function offers an easy and reliable way to streamline donations. The possibility for (potential) funders to show the projects they fund directly on their own website is of course very interesting!

Less
fold faq

How do I know the RSR donation system is secure?

Our payment system is run by our Strategic Partner Akvo.org. At the moment, you can use PayPal and iDeal, which both are well-established and trusted payment gateways. Akvo’s partner for financial matters is the Rabobank, a large Dutch bank with a long track record in implementing secure online payment systems.

Less
fold faq

How do I know my money goes to projects worthy of support?

All projects in RSR have both a Field Partner which implements the project and a Support Partner which ensures quality. All our projects adhere to our focus areas. We pay careful attention to the selection of partners that can use the CommonSites system, who have to adhere to a strict set of rules and criteria. In addition, we are advised on this by our Strategic Partners.

But, you decide which project you want to see your money go to by donating directly to that project and not to our organization.   

Less
fold faq

Does 100% of the money that is donated go to the project?

Individual donors who donate money to projects or programs on RSR do not pay any fees, and we do not take a cut of the donation. Payment gateways such as Paypal or iDeal, however, may charge a percentage fee of the donation or a fixed fee.

An institutional or corporate donor which donates money to a project can get specific services and support for increasing the visibility of their funded projects. Herefor we'll charge a fee, depending on the demand. For more information contact us at info@commonsites.net

Less
fold faq

How do I become a RSR partner?

Depending on the size, location and activities, organizations may either become a Field Partner, a Support Partner or a Funding Partner. See our RSR partner page for more information. If you wish to become a partner, please contact us

Less
fold faq

What is a RSR widget?

Anyone associated with a project can embed a Really Simple Reporting(RSR) widget on their website or blog. Widgets provide a real-time window to the project information stored in the CommonSites database, effectively advertising and publishing all your projects and their progress. They let you and your visitors see what is going on as it happens. Our partners can even embed scrolling sets and map overviews of projects, bringing their site to life with field progress directly from all the projects they are funding or managing, while simplifying their online publishing workflow.

More information on Widgets can be found on our downloads page in the Widget Guide.

Less
fold faq

How do I get a RSR widget?

On each project page, there is a page tool called ‘Get widget’, which allows you to create the HTML embedding code for the widget. You can simply put this in your own website. You can customize the colour (light/dark) and which projects you want to show. Standard widgets are free, advanced widgets are only available for CommonSites partners on request.

More information on Widgets can be found on our downloads page in the Widget Guide.

Less
fold faq

What does it mean that RSR is open source?

Really Simple Reporting (RSR) is built by our Strategic Partner Akvo Foundation. This solution is open source, which means that is can be reused for other purposes, such as, for example, fighting malaria, market approaches for the poor, or agriculture. If you wish to use this in such a way, you can contact us or Akvo to discuss possibilities of developing this for you. The second option is to download the open source code, but the only thing that we and Akvo then ask in return is that any improvements that are made are shared back, in the same way as we share. For more information about the open source licenses used by Akvo, see this Akvo Blogpost

Less
fold faq

What is Akvo?

Akvo.org is a Strategic Partner of CommonSites, and we are both independent foundations. We share a vision that innovative tools can energize global development work. The tools and open-source solutions that we use in the CommonSites system, such as Really Simple Reporting (RSR), are developed and maintained by Akvo for the development sector. This is why you can see the ‘powered by Akvo’ statement in our RSR pages, and why certain donations will run through the Akvo payment system (Akvo does not take any cut of your donations).

Less
fold faq

What kind of projects do you host on RSR?

We believe that heritage practices can make a difference to communities around the world. We focus on archaeological research and heritage projects that adhere to our Focus Areas, and that adhere to strict scientific, sustainable and ethical criteria. 

Less
fold faq

Why does RSR focus on projects in the developing world?

Our initial focus is on projects in the developing world, for which we follow the OECD guidelines of DAC countries. We focus on these countries because the need there is greatest.

Still, we believe that communities around the entire world should be able to benefit from sustainable heritage practices, and that they should be engaged and involved. We are therefore hosting a range of projects in other parts of the world too.

Entire project portfolios of partners often contain ethical and sustainable projects outside the list of DAC countries. In order to publish their entire range of projects online, these projects are screened and added to RSR too.

Less
fold faq

Who owns the information in the RSR system?

The information in CommonSites Really Simple Reporting (RSR) is owned by the originators, which are the Field Partner and Support Partner. Any reuse of project information such as project descriptions, background descriptions, photos and movies, is subject to the permission of the originator of the material. CommonSites and its Strategic Partner Akvo can use the data from the projects in an aggregate form, such as the average duration of projects, average cost per person, etc. We might pass that data on in an open format so others can use it as well, but always under strict control and in compliance with partners where agreed upon.

Less