Folks gathered this past Monday evening for the first-ever San Francisco CiviCRM Meetup. We had a decent turnout - especially given the short notice (we wanted to squeeze this in before our India colleagues had to return to Mumbai).
We started with the usual introductory rounds - nice mix of backgrounds ranging from CiviCRM newbies to experienced users and consultants. Tomasz Finc from the WikiMedia Foundation
then gave an awesome presentation about how they are using CiviCRM for fundraising and donor management. (Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit which operates Wikipedia along with a number of other projects dedicated to creating and supporting collaboratively edited reference projects.)
Wikimedia raised over $5 million dollars during their 2008 Annual Fundraiser. A significant portion of this came through online fundraising using CiviCRM in conjunction MediWiki donation portal and a Drupal module which they developed to handle high-volume interaction with PayPal's IPN service. Tomasz noted that extensions they used are open source and available from their code repository. He also discussed the foundations increased focus on being an active member and contributor in the CiviCRM community. Currently they are collaborating on the contribution reporting aspect of CiviReport with the core team and the folks at Four Kitchens
You can download Tomasz' presentation here.
For the second part of the meetup, we split up into several smaller groups. There was a vigorous conversation about approaches to setting up Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings for CiviCRM - including the pros and cons of using Amazon's EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud)
infrastructure vs. grassroots ISPs. I did some Q and A separately with someone who had lots of questions about permissioning and self-organizing groups. Deepak and Yashodha spent time quality time with Tomasz reviewing and getting feedback on pre-alpha CiviReport screens.
We also discussed format and frequency for SF meetups. The consensus was to start with regularly scheduled bi-monthly get-togethers, and announce an agenda / featured presentation as early as possible. The next meetup will be Tuesday, August 4th at 6pm (location will be in downtown SF again).
» Sign up for the August meetup now
Finally, a big shout-out to Gunner and the folks at Aspiration
for hosting our first meetup - and stepping up on very short notice!