In the UK we’re used to being able to lookup our addresses based on our postcodes and charities add this to their wish lists for their own sites. However, once they establish the costs associated with this, they often find the ROI isn’t in the black and drop the idea.
There’s some good news………
Since July of 2013 Royal Mail unveiled its improved access to Postcode Address file including “Free access to PAF for independent small charitable organisations” i.e. those that have less than £10m per annum income and who are registered charities or CICs. So small charities can now get access to the PAF file for free, which is great, what we are proposing is an extension to allow charities to import the PAF file into CiviCRM (including Updates) and enable Postcode Lookups on Address fields.
There are of course other solutions out there but they’re paid for services and have obviously pushing out words of caution about using the PAF files. However, the power of open source and crowd funding should ensure that we can produce a solution that is not only free to use but functionally able to match, if not better, the paid solutions. We currently have an extension that allows users to lookup addresses using AFD postcode or Experian (you can see an example here) and we’re proposing to enhance this extension to introduce the core PAF files as an option, so you’ll be able to provide your supporters and staff the ability to use Postcode Lookups for free!
Now for the sell……
We need to make the following amendments to the extension;
Produce an interface to allow for the upload PAF files, including updates and verfication of file format
Amend the postcode lookup to use raw PAF files
Amend to allow both public and authenticated use
Ensure the extension is easy to deploy
If you’d be interested in hearing more or would like to get involved in one form or another please post your comments here. We’ll push out a wiki page and a MIH in due course…..
Thanks and Merry Xmas from the Veda NFP Consulting Team......