CiviCRM's volunteer feature received an A for usability in NTEN's 2011 Nonprofit Data Eco-System report.
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CompassPoint pursues its mission of strengthening non-profit organizations through a wide array of workshops and a large annual conference. CompassPoint's old registration system was a closed-source, proprietary platform that was not evolving along with the organization's needs, so CompassPoint turned to CiviCRM. Building on CiviEvent, Giant Rabbit worked with CompassPoint to identify which of the organization's registration and donor/participant tracking needs could be met by CiviCRM out of the box and which required custom code. Giant Rabbit configured CiviCRM to meet many of the organization's needs and then developed a significant new set of features, the Multiple Event Registration system, to allow CompassPoint users a high degree of flexibility in signing multiple users up for multiple events at once (which was a must-have feature for an organization whose constituents are often large organizations where a single staff person will register many people at once). Once the system was operational, Giant Rabbit seamlessly migrated all current data and future registrations from the legacy system into the new system. Since launch, Giant Rabbit has continued working with CompassPoint to add new features to the system.
To replace a legacy closed-source registration system with an open-source platform that allows CompassPoint to: - access and control its own data - take advantage of new features coming from a growing community of developers - customize their own features when necessary.
The biggest technical challenge was replacing a core component of CiviCRM with code that radically changed the workflow. It required careful planning to cut deeply enough to make the necessary changes, but not so deeply as to make it hard for the organization to upgrade and stay current with new versions of CiviCRM as they arrive.
CiviCRM began with a set of features that were very close to CompassPoint's needs, and the openness of the platform allowed Giant Rabbit to fill in the gaps. CompassPoint was further attracted to CiviCRM because of its robust development community that will continue to offer new features, and grow with the organization's use of the platform.
The Giant Rabbit team involved in the project was led by Senior Project Manager Anthony Nemirovsky, with the participation of partners Daniel Heath and Peter Haight. Development was provided by Peter Haight and Adam Wight, with assistance from additional contract coders and the Giant Rabbit QA team. On CompassPoint's side, Ben Felsing, IS Manager, coordinated a far-reaching effort to gather input from stakeholders throughout the organization, including finance, program staff, and marketing/outreach.
In addition to the normal suite of CRM functions (donations tracking, etc.) provided by CiviCRM, the event registration components of CiviEvent were critical--including robust mechanisms to receive payments, issue refunds, etc., as well as export tools to provide reports for integration with the organization's finance team.
The largest customization to CiviCRM was the addition of the Multiple Event Registration system. This added feature required a great deal of customization to CiviCRM's default event registration system, essentially adding an event shopping cart allowing users to pay for multiple event registrations all at once. To handle CompassPoint's yearly conference, Giant Rabbit implemented custom functionality to allow events to be associated as children of a main conference event, thereby allowing users to register for the main event and then register for a number of sessions within the main event. On their legacy system, CompassPoint ran a number of reports that allowed them to track event registration financial data for which Giant Rabbit implemented custom reports in CiviCRM. As this was a Drupal/CiviCRM implementation, Giant Rabbit utilized a number of contributed modules for Drupal, including Views. The Views module was used to drive the page listing available workshops. Some additional View handlers were implemented to better handle filtering the listing page based off category and/or location. Giant Rabbit also implemented a number of smaller CiviCRM interface customizations, such as turning adding auto-complete fields to the event template field when creating a new event as well as the current employer field when a user registers for an account. These interface tweaks helped to streamline CompassPoint's workflow for users and administrative staff alike.
CompassPoint's CiviCRM instance is currently running on an Amazon EC2 High-CPU Medium instance.
Giant Rabbit developed the added features (as detailed in this CiviCRM blog post: http://civicrm.org/blogs/anemirovsky/case-study-civicrm-multiple-event-registration ) and released the system as a patch: http://issues.civicrm.org/jira/browse/CRM-8705 to allow other organizations to benefit, pending an eventual merge of the code into CiviCRM core.