As a CiviCRM implementer, I’m always looking for solutions that are sustainable, cost-effective and easy for the client to use day to day. As someone who isn’t a coder – I’m always looking for a solution that can be achieved through the user interface (UI)!
Working as a part of GMCVO Databases I implement CiviCRM and support local organisations with their installs. The diverse range of clients we have is a testament to how adaptable and flexible the system is to meet the needs of so many organisations.
A lot of our clients are small grass-roots organisations that run entirely on volunteers. They often don’t have the budgets to pay for bespoke alterations or custom solutions so I rely completely on the UI to make all their customisations and find solutions.
There are also some real benefits to working with the UI as much as possible...
If you’re ever unsure about a change you’re making just sit back and read the instructions on the screen - trust it! It’s actually really intuitive. Or if you’re really nervous – try it on the demo site first. It’s a great place for testing out new versions or how something might work live in your system.
We recently developed a CiviCRM install using Drupal for client who needed to manage over 100 volunteers. They wanted to track their applications, what they are approved to do, DBS status, information to match them as an appropriate mentor and more! They also wanted an online space where volunteers could login which allowed them to view documents, sign up as volunteers at an event, update their contact details and submit expense claims. Through a combination of permissions and Drupal modules, this was easily achieved using out-of-the-box tools and they now have a much better handle on the skills their volunteers already have and volunteers feel more empowered to get involved in other areas they may not have known about.
But importantly, it’s really easy for them to manage day to day. Just looking at someone’s CiviCRM record they know just where things are up to and what a volunteer is involved in. They have a really bespoke solution that was created using just the UI.
So get out there and have a look around and what other people are doing. You’ll often be inspired by what other have already done or find an extension or module that does just what you need already!