Published
Tuesday, June 9, 2009 - 05:08
Written by

As cap10morgan noted in a recent blog, non-profits and open source solutions are a natural partnership. CiviCRM has been a fabulous gift to the organization that I lead, Trinity Episcopal Church. It allowed us to move from a FileMaker database accessible only to our office staff to a robust solution accessible to most of our membership. (We constantly remind ourselves that not everyone's online!) We are still using a FileMaker/CiviCRM hybrid solution however and CiviPledge is our roadblock.

Pledge accounting is central to our contribution accounting - 92% of our income is from pledges. Is your organization's income weighted toward pledges? Do you use CiviPledge? If not, what's missing for you? Join the discussion on our forums or edit the specification on our wiki page.

For us there are two deal breaker features missing:

  • Accepting pledge payments that differ from the expected payment amount.
  • Printing a report of the contributors regular and pledge directed contributions in a given time span.

CiviCRM's target users are non-profit organizations. I have to believe that there isn't an organization in our user base that wouldn't simply say "thank you" to a pledge payment that was "short" of the expected amount. I have even more confidence that a payment exceeding the expected amount would be just as acceptable! Our current model in CiviPledge only accepts a payment amount of Pledge/n for Pledges with "n" payments.

We are working around this issue by recording Pledges in CiviCRM, but then posting pledge payments to CiviContribute using a defined contribution type of Pledge. We then export Contributions and Pledge data to FileMaker, which links the two data sets, calculates pledge balances, and prints reports. This means that our online users can see their contributions on their CiviCRM dashboard, but not their pledge balance.

I'm beginning to think that what CiviPledge needs is a development roadmap, adding a couple critical features each release. Now you know what I would add next... what's important for you? Join in the process today and help us build a better solution!!

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Comments

FatherShawn:

Great blog post and a good start to building momentum around a specific component and seeing what are some crucial features missing and what needs to be developed in the short/medium/long term. Does help the core team and developers a lot to get immediate feedback from folks who are using it on a regular basis

In addition to a roadmap, would be really cool if folks would also pledge either sponsorship dollars or developer resources. As CiviCRM grows as a team and product such community contributions will indeed help bolster and support the product. To some extent we see our task as planting seeds and various non-profit communities help the seed sprout, grow and flourish :)

lobo

As a small nonprofit, Civi has been wonderful for us. I'm very, very grateful to the community of developers; we never could have afforded to pay for a commercial system (and I rather like the open source community more).

I've just started experimenting with CiviPledge, so I don't have much input. But, the two items FatherShawn mentioned are absolutely essential. I'm betting any nonprofit administrator would say the same. We definitely need the capability to select a time span then generate a printable report of contributors/pledgers. In fact, I've noticed this is lacking in CiviContribute, and it's really quite important. I wish I could offer more direct help, rather than just asking for someone else to do it, but my skills are limited.

Thanks so much for all you've done with this software.

Phase 1 of CiviReport is scheduled for inclusion in our next release - and will include Contribution and Pledge reports. You can preview the specifications here.

One great way to contribute back to CiviCRM is by posting a quick "story" describing your organization and your experiences using CiviCRM on the Showcase forum board (successes, issues, lessons learned - all good).