Recap from a consulting project: Automated Reminder Emails (and a lot more)

Published
2011-06-09 20:54
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In the past three weeks, we worked with a client to build scheduled email reminders for activities in CiviCRM. Detailed project specifications are on the wiki at ARMS Project Home. We've added the following new features to CiviCRM as part of this work:

  • We've extended Profile View/Edit to handle a combination of Contact + Activity + Custom Fields. Thus we can send a mailing with a link to a profile edit form and collect activity related details from the end user.
  • Coleman W integrated a similar set of changes for CiviCRM WebForm v2. He also incorporated a bunch of other changes in the v2 version including the ability to create multiple contacts and create an associated activity. The new v2 UI is quite spiffy
  • You can schedule a reminder email to be sent to a group of activities that meet a certain criteria. You can see the UI for this on our demo server (you will need to be logged in). The workflow allows you to send repeated reminders on a specified schedule. Emails can be based on message templates. A visual specification of this can be found on the wiki
  • A scheduled cron job processes all the reminder criteria and sends email as needed. It also records what it did (in the civicrm_action_log table). There are a few hooks called in this process so another module can intercept and modify the workflow.
  • An Advanced Search Pane was implemented for CiviCRM. This allows an admin to target contacts based on engagement with a previous CiviMail blast.
  • We've also added the ability to enable simple changes to custom data types. This is restricted to custom data fields whose type can be safely changes with little or no change to the underlying values.

We've integrated all these features for the next release of CiviCRM (v3.4.3 / v4.0.3). You can see the list of issues that were addressed for this project on our Issue Tracker. Overall it was another great example of combining the needs of a client and the needs of the larger ecosystem, very similar to what we did described in a prior blog post: Recap from a consulting project: Improving CiviCRM functionality. We do hope that this set of blog posts help other consulting firms and integrators structure all of their client relationships in a similar manner and help improve CiviCRM significantly :)

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Comments

Nice features, folks!

(Sorry to be pedantic but I have a suggestion for the UI as per the demo: the date/time dropdowns should be filtered depending on whether the scheduled reminder is for an Event or an Activity.)

Ken - Can you detail out your suggestion as a comment on the issue tracker issue:

http://issues.civicrm.org/jira/browse/CRM-8151

I'm not sure which form / fields you're referring to. The "When" set of fields on the Scheduled Reminder create / edit form does rebuild the last dropdown, replacing "Activity Date Time" with "Event Start Date" / "Event End Date" as you switch between reminder for Event vs. reminder for Activity.

Anonymous (not verified)
2011-06-19 - 00:43

This sounds like it could be very useful for a lot of organisations. Thank you!