CiviCRM sprints are a tremendous opportunity to get involved with the community while supporting the project. But, they can be a bit off-putting for non-developers because there is often a perception that they’re geared towards writing code. There are always opportunities for non-developers to get involved with CiviCRM, and this year’s post-CiviCon Colorado sprint is no different.
CiviCRM continues to make incremental improvements across various aspects of the project in order to both foster growth and stability in the product, as well as deepen community engagement and progress towards financial sustainability. With respect to events, we rolled out some basic guidelines intended to help standardize CiviCRM events. We’ve tried to keep these flexible while at the same time consistent with the Core Team’s overall objectives of ecosystem growth and financial stability.
Compared to other open source projects like Drupal, WordPress and Joomla, CiviCRM is quite small and unassuming. It’s powered by a dedicated community that serves an important need; providing world-class software for nonprofits, non-governmental organizations and for civic sector organizations. Though CiviCRM is used around the world, the Core Team would like to see the total number of active sites grow substantially, thereby improving our capacity to grow not only the project’s base of contributors and supporters, but to increase the overall impact that the software can have.
CiviCRM packs a ton of features for nonprofit organizations, ranging from contribution and donor management, to event management and mass email capabilities. If you use CiviCRM, then you already know that it’s a competitive piece of software for nonprofits. And yet, as a CRM, it’s not widely known. In fact, it wasn’t even listed in Idealware’s recent review of plugins for nonprofits using WordPress.
As a project and as software for nonprofits, CiviCRM benefits from events in that they not only raise funds for the Core Team, they raise awareness about this incredible open source CRM and they foster the community participation needed to drive it. We’re excited to see that the first two CiviCon’s in 2016 are coming online, both slated for May/June time frame, though on opposite sides of the world; Ft. Collins, Colorado in the United States and Woerden, Netherlands.
Back in May of 2013, Dave Greenberg made a push to improve the marketing of CiviCRM, resulting in a team of partners and contributors working together to help raise awareness and promote the software. Fast forward to 2016 and we’re continuing to market CiviCRM, building upon their initial efforts. Today, we’re taking another step.
It’s amazing that we’re talking about CiviCRM in 2016. First, because it’s 2016… how time flies! And second, because we’re still pushing CiviCRM forward after 11 years! This year does mark a big change for CiviCRM, however. As Dave Greenberg indicated several weeks ago, he and Donald Lobo, the co-founders of CiviCRM, have transitioned to advisers of the project and are no longer active Core Team members.
I've had the opportunity to present the ‘state of CiviCRM’ now at both the recent DC User Summit and at CiviCon London. While we often talk about and evaluate the features and technical capabilities of CiviCRM, we do at times lose sight of its central purpose... the 'why' behind what we do. Going forward, we hope to keep this front and center in our communications. Why? (I knew you’d ask that)...
It’s been nearly 15 years since I’ve been back to Europe and to the UK, and never before for a CiviCon (in London), so I didn’t quite know what to expect. Up until about 11:00am on Wednesday, I’d felt quite prepared. But then Tim Otten told me that I was giving the welcome speech and was introducing the keynote speaker. I thought he was joking. After that small oversight on my part, I spent much of the rest of the day preparing to open the conference in front of an international audience. Nothing like pressure.
In case you haven’t noticed, we don’t spend a ton of time on marketing and sales. Not only is our budget for marketing small (and by 'small', I mean 'tiny'), just take a quick look at the makeup of the Core Team and at our roadmap and you should get a good sense of what our focus is (and is not). Like most things CiviCRM, we rely on our community to help spread the word about the project and the benefits of using the software.