The community around CiviCRM is both welcoming and vibrant. CiviCRM as a software solution is a powerful and flexible data management solution for a vast array of nonprofit organizations ranging from the startup NGO to the established multi-million dollar foundation. In our daily work we are seeing more and more NPOs moving away from proprietary systems and single vendor SaaS solutions and embracing the open source community around CiviCRM. Organizations using CiviCRM love the extensibility and the freedoms that come with open source, freedom to choose hosting, freedom to choose project partners, and the freedom to re-use, re-purpose and re-deploy without paying extra.
I have been involved in the CiviCRM community for over 5 years, and enjoy implementing and programming CiviCRM for a variety of non-profits. I have been amazed at the rapid pace of innovation delivered with each new release, and CiviCRM's flexibility in being able to accommodate a variety of requirements. I have learned a lot about CiviCRM by participating in CiviCon, online forums, and CiviCRM book sprint.
At the Wikimedia Foundation, we leverage CiviCRM to maintain millions of records of donors and their contributions. Working with the product and particularly with the community has been a terrific experience. There's nothing quite like two open source organizations working together to meet their respective goals while ultimately strengthening the open source community as a whole.
CiviCRM is one of the core offerings of our company. Remaining close to the CiviCRM community is important to us, as it keeps us close to new developments in the tool, and allows us to offer our feedback for new releases.
I find the engagement with our community of users to be intellectually stimulating
and rewarding. Seeing folks with expertise in a particular area step up and contribute their time and ideas to help improve the product is quite exciting. Every time I hear about a new interesting organization starting to use CiviCRM, I get a renewed sense of excitement about our work. The range of civic sector organizations currently using the software is quite amazing to me - from large international advocacy organizations to local performing arts troupes. I also really enjoy interacting with our international community - building friendships and getting to share culture (food, music, humor ....) with colleagues on every continent.
I'm quite impressed with the responsiveness of the CiviCRM community, both from the core developers and many experienced users who have quickly provided answers and ideas in areas where I just needed that extra insight, or where we needed to do something totally new. After several years working with open source software, I'm finding the CiviCRM community to be the most responsive and helpful I've seen.
We make CiviCRM one of our primary offerings because it just provides so much right out of the box that our clients need, without a line of custom code. And when we need to extend it for the clients' unique needs, the APIs and programming hooks let us add in features that would be impossible in some other systems. This means we can provide great value to our clients with quick turnaround times and reasonable budgets, which is great for our clients and for us.
We work with non-profits to help them use and understand Civi. It's such an important tool for these organisations and it's great to see people using it in different and interesting ways. Using and working with Civi is made so much more fun and useful by the enthusiastic and talented community surrounding it.
Submitted by Dave Greenberg on February 25, 2013 - 14:49
CiviCRM is currently used by thousands of organizations around the world, and an increasing percentage of the product and associated services come directly from the community. At the same time, as with any open source project, there are core 'keeping the lights on' activities that are critical to ensure the ongoing growth and health of the project.
Submitted by Dave Greenberg on October 17, 2012 - 10:40
Unfortunately we have discovered a syntax problem in the 4.2.3 upgrade script which will cause the upgrade to fail under certain circumstances. We are pulling this release and will replace it with 4.2.4 shortly.
If you've downloaded 4.2.3 and not tried the upgrade yet, you can trash that tarball and then download 4.2.4 shortly.
If you tried to upgrade using 4.2.3 and got the fatal error, you can safely download and run 4.2.4 shortly.
This issue will not affect your site if you installed a new CiviCRM site using 4.2.3.
Submitted by Dave Greenberg on August 20, 2012 - 11:43
At our last big sprint there was some good discussion about ways to clarify the filtering conventions used on many of the search forms. One specific area that seemed to need "help" is the set of checkboxes for filtering on Pay Later, Recurring and Test contributions. Here's the current version of that section of the form:
Submitted by Dave Greenberg on April 6, 2012 - 13:18
Following on our wonderful CiviCon day in Berkeley, several CiviCRM "evangelists" arrived at the Hilton Hotel in downtown San Francisco to help spread the word about Civi at NTEN's annual conference. Kurund and I arrived about 30 minutes before our morning session - "Is CiviCRM Right for Your Organization". The hotel was buzzing with non-profit technologists and vendors - lots of flashy signage for the large proprietary software vendors of course. But more importantly lots of folks who work in the incredible array of non-profits that belong to NTEN - networking, sharing, learning, looking for ways to help make their organizations work more effectively.
Several folks from consultancies that implement CiviCRM came to the session to help answer questions and showcase Civi projects - Frank Gomez and Michael Daryabeygi from Gingko Street Labs, Lisa Rau and Ashma Shrestha from Confluence, and Andrew Hunt from AGH Strategies.
Submitted by Dave Greenberg on February 22, 2012 - 15:31
Batch entry of gifts (checks, cash, etc.) is a much requested "missing feature" in CiviCRM. Thanks to a generous sponsorship commitment from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, we are about to launch a Make-it-Happen campaign to implement this feature for the next release (4.2). We've spent some time discussing requirements with folks at EFF and several other organizations, and we've reviewed analogous functionality offered by several of the proprietary donor management products. The purpose of this post is to share the draft specifications for the feature and solicit feedback from others in the community.
The goal is to provide a streamlined interface for data entry of batches of contributions and membership payments. A simple batching concept will be introduced to provide verification of count and totals. The feature will use a grid-style input form with the columns controlled by a selected profile. This will allow sites to add or remove non-required fields in the grid (e.g. add custom contribution fields, add or exclude premium fields etc.). The current plan is to have a separate flow / input grid for batch entry of contributions vs. membership signup / renewal payments. This will help reduce the number of columns required for each type of input.
Submitted by Dave Greenberg on January 22, 2012 - 17:37
Thanks to a successful Make-it-Happen campaign the 4.1 release comes with a much improved and super flexible approach for running Civi's critical back-ground processing tasks. These tasks include keeping membership statuses up to date and sending renewal reminders, sending scheduled CiviMail mailings, sending pledge payment reminders, and more. I've spent the past 10 days testing and documenting the new "consolidated cron" functionality, and the good news is that I think it fulfills the promise of providing a convenient and friendly way to administer and run all the required tasks for a site.
The "bad" news is that these improvements are NOT backward compatible. The set of PHP scripts which were previously used to run these tasks have all been deprecated (and moved to a 'deprecated' directory). This means that all CiviCRM-related cron jobs will stop working as soon as any site is upgraded to 4.1. (Yes, a loud warning will appear on the screen at the end of the upgrade process.)