It's that time of year again!
No, not what you think. :-) It's the time of year when new a CiviCRM version is behind the door, and it has cool new features. Code freeze is going to be introduced any day now - and we'll move on to quality assurance, alphas, betas and other equally exciting stuff.
Let me briefly introduce you to two new 2.2 features: one of them already mentioned here and there - Personal Contribution Pages (PCP), and a "last minute" addition - Soft Credits.
To present one of the aspects of usefulness of PCP, let me tell you about my approach to personal involvement with social campaigns... There are some that I personally would like to get involved with a bit more than just donating money. I would like these campaigns to grow, get the largest outreach possible and I'm even willing to put some personal time into it. However, I usually do not have enough of it to volunteer. CiviCRM's new Personal Contribution Pages (PCP) feature can be helpful in attracting people like me to your campaigns. Once you set up your contribution page and enable PCP for it, people will be able to start their own personal campaigns in support of your effort. They will be able to set up a page with their own text and photos, set their personal fundraising goal amount, and off they go - the can start campaigning in your name. They can send off a limited quantity of emails to their personal networks (through Tell-a-Friend functionality). All the contributions that they attract will be made through your contribution page of course, but they will be able to take the credit thanks to the personal campaign thermometer and honour roll on their "website". And of course they'll have a lot of satisfaction from participating in your campaign effort.
Speaking of taking the credit (or, looking from other side, having information in the database, that a given contribution has been "attracted" by a Personal Contribution Page owner, which of course is how it works)... we've introduced Soft Credit tracking for 2.2. From now on, for every donation, you can register the name of a person who inspired the actual donation maker to do it. Thanks to idmacdonald for inspiring this feature on forums conversation.
And at the very end of this post, to break the non-technical tone of it, here is a question to power users and integrators. Are you people using the solicitor_id column in civicrm_contribution table? Because if not, we're going to remove it. :-)
P.S. (I'm sure those who feel that last question is important for them will understand and step up. If you don't know what's this gibbering is about, rest assured that you don't have to worry about it. :-) )
P.S. Does anyone feel that splitting our blog into two separate blog entities: one technical and one more user- and product-oriented might be a good idea? We have been getting this suggestion from time to time, but perhaps it's time to ask our readers for opinions... Please let us know in comments or on the General Discussion board on forums.