CiviCRM's donor management feature received an A for delivering on promises & deadlines in NTEN's 2011 Nonprofit Data Eco-System report...
IMPACT Silver Spring
IMPACT Silver Spring
9159 Brookville Road Suite C20910 Silver Spring, MD
IMPACT Silver Spring is a network committed to fostering a cohesive multicultural community in Silver Spring, Maryland, on the northern border of Washington, DC. They enlisted AGH Strategies to install and customize CiviCRM to not only track supporters and donors, but also to serve as a tool for neighbor-led projects and teams. IMPACT's community organizers can now track the many varied ways that neighbors interact with each other and the organization.
The client had been using a combination of an Access database and a raft of spreadsheets to track interactions with constituents. The primary interest was setting up a system that could be accessible by the entire staff--both in terms of literally being able to interact with it and for being a tool they could understand.
Among IMPACT's many projects are knocking on doors of thousands of Montgomery County residents each year. These interactions had been tracked through the old database, and they needed to be imported into CiviCRM. Moreover, one or more people live at each house, and each visit involved the door-knocking volunteers and one or more residents answering the door. Therefore, the import and ongoing tracking of these involves creating not only an activity record but also household and individual records, plus relationships all around.
Salesforce was also evaluated--the client looked at the two options because of their flexibility. Ultimately, CiviCRM's nonprofit focus, open-source background, and ability to handle dozens of users without additional fees made the difference.
For IMPACT, their Development Director, Lianna Levine Reisner, led the effort, joined by Alix Nunan, their Engagement Coordinator who started work at IMPACT soon after the project began. Planning, installation, customization, and training was led by Andrew Hunt, Principal at AGH Strategies. A technology evaluation in advance of the project was led by IMPACT's Operations Director Linda Kahn and Lisa Rau from Confluence Corporation.
In addition to the standard CiviCRM online contributions, profile forms, and contact and activity tracking, a key element of this project was tracking activities back to a project, which can have many contacts as project members. In addition, staff wanted to use CiviGrant to track grant applications.
Although CiviGrant is intended for grants going out, it took relatively few customizations to have it work for grant seeking. Most notable among them was allowing for pledges and contributions to link back to grants, since grants typically are paid in several installments. When recording a contribution or pledge, a drop-down menu lists the outstanding approved grants that can be selected. When viewing the record of a grant, the linked contributions are displayed as payments upon the grant. Project and team management made extensive use of the Organic Groups (OG) module and the bridge between it and CiviCRM. Each project is a group in OG, as is each team (linking to the project it belongs to). A custom field for activities allows activities to be associated with one or more projects or teams, and those appear in the project/team's workspace on the OG page alongside the listing of the OG members. When individuals join a project or team, they are added to the corresponding CiviCRM group, and a special Drupal node can be created to record attributes of this OG membership such as his or her leadership role on the team or other participation notes.
This site runs on a VPS with 1GB RAM.
Although this project did not break significant new ground for CiviCRM, it did explore the edges of certain functions. Therefore, the primary contribution back to the community was a series of bug patches. IMPACT understood that time spent on bugs is a good investment for them, even besides the benefits to the community, and they encouraged time to be spent on getting to the bottom of any CiviCRM issues.