London Meet-up Summary - 9 May 2012

2012-05-12 04:22
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Fellow Civilians: Wednesday, 9 May, was another CiviCRM meet-up spectacular in London, hosted by Third Sector Design at TechHub.

Topics covered:

  • CiviMobile: The browser-based mobile phone app.
  • Screencasting: How to create Civi video tutorials for the web.
  • UK Direct Debits: Integrating paperless direct debit payments in the UK.

So without further ado...


PRESENTER: Peter McAndrew

SUMMARY: Browser-based mobile app that gives users access to Civi via their smart phone.

DETAIL: CiviMobile will allow people to do event check-ins, contact searches, and more on their iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and other web-enabled phones and tablets. The selection of fields will be based on profiles, allowing admins to customise what information appears onscreen for their organisation. CiviMobile, which runs on jQueryMobile, will be included with CiviCRM 4.2 as a Drupal module and fully integrated using symfony with 4.3.

TAKEAWAY: Want to see what it looks like? Hop on your smartphone and head to: (Tip: When you select events, pick CiviCon SF2012 for a full attendee list.)

ADDITIONAL LINKS: Presentation slides.

PRESENTER: Tony Horrocks

SUMMARY: A step-by-step guide for how to create screencasts for Civi, online video tutorials to market Civi and help potential clients and current users understand how Civi works.

DETAIL: Tony walked us through how to create screencasts.

To prepare, you’ll need:

    1.    Time: Approximately 1 day is needed to produce a quality 4-7 minute screencast.
    2.    Equipment: Lav (best) or other mic. Optional: An in-computer camera to record yourself.
    3.    Software: To create a professional product, you'll need the following for:
              ⁃    Slides: Keynote (or similar.)
              ⁃    Screen recording and editing: Screenflow, Camtasia (or similar.)
              ⁃    Beginning/end titles and music: iMovie (or similar.) 
    4.    Surroundings: Choose a quiet environment. If also filming yourself, make sure the background isn’t distracting.
    5.    Plan/Script: Tell people what you’re going to say, say it, and tell them what you just said.
    6.    Rehearse: Run through the script a few times before recording.

Then, to create the screencast:
    1.    Design your slides.
    2.    Record the screencast.
    3.    Edit slides and screencast together (in Screenflow.)
    4.    Add tops and tails (in iMovie.)
    5.    Export for the web.

RESPONSE: The group brought up the importance of creating a unified look for screencasts by using the same software and graphics, using available scripts (link pending), and possibly running a screencast sprint at the next London CiviCon.

ADDITIONAL LINKS: Presentation slides.

PRESENTER: Parvez Saleh

SUMMARY: A three-step plan for integrating paperless Direct Debits with Civi, which will reduce processing time, better serve supporters, and integrate a feature often requested by clients.

DETAIL: Direct Debits enable non-profits to pull funds from their supporters’ accounts and are typically used for recurring donations. Unlike supporter-controlled Standing Orders, with DDs, the organisation can change the amount, frequency, or withdrawal date — provided they notify the payer at least 10 days before. (For example, a membership organisation increases their annual fee, sends a statement, and pulls down the funds 2 weeks later.) With Direct Debits, the supporter doesn’t have to take action.

The details of the Direct Debit process are complicated. A simple overview:

  • The supporter issues a Direct Debit Instruction (DDI) with amount, date, frequency, and financial info.
  • This information is confirmed, typically by a payment processing bureau (eg SmartDebit) that issues a mandate to the non-profit, allowing funds to be withdrawn at a set frequency (usually monthly or annually.)
  • The non-profit can amend the mandate (eg change the date the money is withdrawn) and the supporter can cancel at any time.

Parvez outlined a three-phase plan for integrating paperless direct debits into Civi:

  • Phase 1: Capturing Direct Debit Instructions online
  • Phase 2: Automatically updating recurring donations
  • Phase 3: Managing mandates (amendments and cancellations)

RESPONSE: The group confirmed that DDs have been a long- and oft-requested feature that has never been fully funded for development. Also, Canada and the US have different names and somewhat different processes for the same financial transaction.

TAKEAWAY: Help make this happen. Check out the crowd-sourced MakeItHappen (MIH) project:

ADDITIONAL LINKS: CiviCRM Wiki on UK DDs (slides pending)


That’s it for this month, Civilians. Join next month’s London meet-up for another menu of the tasty delights CiviCRM has to offer.

Chris Wolfe


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