Growth in relationships
City Bible Forum
City Bible Forum explores some of life's biggest questions with people who are considering where God fits into their life. Our aim is to do this in an open manner that is enjoyable, intellectually credible and which meets the needs of professional life. We love to discuss the relevance of God and the many obstacles to faith which people have. We do this in a variety of forums and discussion groups over breakfast, lunch and after work at many different city venues. We welcome everyone to discuss the bigger questions with us regardless of their beliefs.
City Bible Forum operates in each of the mainland state capitals of Australia. We are experiencing rapid growth in the number and diversity of our activities, and in our constituent relationships.
In 2008 it became obvious that our handcrafted Microsoft Access database could not meet the challenges that our growth posed. In switching to CiviCRM, we have found a solution that is both comprehensive and flexible. Indeed, we often find that 'feature creep' in our activities is matched by corresponding feature creep in CiviCRM!
The key for us is the degree of integration between contact and web. Our staff are People people, who want to focus on relationships, not on data. Since CiviCRM does the mechanics of email communications, event registration, and donations for us, our staff can focus more time on people.
When we surveyed our needs in 2008, it was plain that we needed to integrate our contact database with the web, to support emails, donations and event management. CiviCRM has enabled us to successfully integrate these.
The organisational challenge has been to implement CiviCRM with very limited resources. Fortunately, the project manager, Ken West, has years of experience in IT, project management and business process implementation. The flexibility and comprehensiveness of CiviCRM is a great bonus, but means that careful thought, testing, and planning is required during implementation.
The technical challenges have included data conversion, email setup, and moving to a VPS server.
The operational challenge is training. CiviCRM is so feature-rich that training has two key elements: explaining what CiviCRM can do; and then putting boundaries on that to ensure processes are done consistently. We envisage using Access Control and Hooks to help implement these business rules. When we get time!
The project team for implementation and support is one staff member, Ken West, and the CiviCRM Discussion Forum!
Why did this project use CiviCRM?
We stumbled across CiviCRM. Having identified that the key to contact management was integration with our website, we looked at contact solutions that integrated with Joomla. CiviCRM was the only open-source solution that seemed viable: being both free and functional.