Published
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 - 09:25
Written by
As soon as our organisation (a UK church) started using Civi, we realised that there was one particular gap in its functionality which had a big impact on us - the ability to deal with recurring events. We run lots of things that 'recur' - courses on parenting, marriage, the Christian faith; youth clubs; weekly children's groups - so Civi's inability to deal with them was a challenge. I did some research on the forums and realised that others wanted this functionality too as many organisations run courses, classes, training events, regular meetings and so on. Encouraged by that I decided to start a Make It Happen campaign. 
 
I launched it with a lightning talk at Civicon 2012 and had some good feedback and some initial donations but then things went quiet. I contacted people who sounded like they may be interested via the forums, networked as hard as I could and blogged, but to no avail. There was plenty of interest but the donations only trickled in. The Civi core team had been right - to give a Make It Happen campaign a flying start you need 40% seed funding to make it more attractive and we didn't have that.
 
Undeterred, I continued to follow up possible contacts and almost two years after my first steps the project was very generously funded in full by Zing... who had heard my lightning talk two years earlier. The main lesson I learned? It's worth persevering!
 
As you and your organisation invest in Civi, I'd encourage you to make any new developments as relevant as you can to the wider Civi community. I'm excited that the recurring functionality will be incorporated into Civi core in 4.6 which will be released around spring next year. It's also great that the recurring element will work not just with Events but with other entities like Activities. I'm already hearing stories from organisations which will benefit from being able to schedule multiple, recurring activities (like counselling sessions) in one go.
 
I'm also hopeful that, in time, the recurring functionality will be incorporated into extensions like CiviBooking and CiviVolunteer, benefiting many Civi users. I'd particularly like to hear from you if that's relevant to you - the ability to make regular room/resource/people bookings via CiviBooking or to schedule ongoing, recurring volunteer teams and slots via CiviVolunteer each week, month etc. Do comment here or email me at lindsey.mansfield@woodlandschurch.net 
 
For more information about the functionality that will be included, check my blog:  Recurring Events, Recurring Everything - coming soon.  For a more technical view, check Deepak Srivastava's blog:  Core Recursion:  The Recurring Events Engine.
 

Comments

For those who missed it Lindsey's talk at CiviCon 2 years ago was absolutely delightful - she told us that recurring event functionality would make her very very happy - and I think everyone left there wanting to make Lindsey happy. I think the magic formula was enthusiasm mixed with good humour.

 

The great thing is that this is being developed in a generic way so it can be used for other entities

Like Lindsey, our organization will benefit greatly from the Recurring Events system; tracking attendance for weekly classes/meetings is tricky.  We cannot wait for CiviCRM 4.6!  I am keenly interested in seeing how the recurring system could integrate into extensions like CiviBooking and CiviVolunteer.  It would transform in wonderful ways how we handle all of our weekly events and the teams of volunteers it takes to make those regular events happen.

Our process now is quite manual/labor intensive for verifying that a room is free for use (we have 35+ classes/events happening on site per week).  Recurring Events and CiviBooking automating that process would be a gigantic help.  Likewise, teams for our weekly classes and youth groups are managed in manual ways such as Excel spreadsheets shared via Dropbox.  To allow leaders a single place to make changes and have other staff see those changes, and have those records integrate into a contact's history... that would be brilliant.