14 August, 2015
By Parvez

CiviCRM stumbled into my life back in 2007 when I was evaluating future products for the closed source consultancy who employed me. Who decided to look into open source? Well that was me! I’d been in IT for a while and could see the changes in software were coming, no longer were the niche technology stacks that giants such as Oracle and Microsoft owned proving to barriers, instead open technology and the power of the enthusiast guided by the brilliant were taking shape. Back in 2007 CiviCRM reminded me of an Atari in the CRM sector full of Playstations. But there was one outstanding factor, the Atari had been produced using Open Source, meaning that its growth potential was huge. Together with the fact that it was, at the time, wedded to Drupal for the most part meant it had the perfect launch pad to make it serious contender when it came to software selection.

That was all of 8 years ago,...

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04 August, 2015

Yoga for the People (YFP) is a 100% volunteer-run nonprofit organization in Denver, Colorado. They believe that all people should have access to the benefits of a consistent yoga practice, and one of our primary operations is pairing volunteer yoga teachers with host-sites.
As a 100% volunteer-run nonprofit organization, Yoga for the People relies on the generosity of the community to meet its mission. They could not afford the services of a consultant to setup a CRM.

Cividesk offered their help as part of their Giving Back program. This program is targeted at ‘volunteer-run non-profit organizations providing free and secular services to the underprivileged’, and provides these organizations with pro-bono solution design, professional hosting, software customizations, technical support or training services. As we did meet the criteria of...

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01 August, 2015

The Australian Greens developed 2 new custom searches to enable us to do data clean-up and to monitor for spam records that were coming into our system, mainly through the Drupal user registration form.

The first search (addresses needing fixing) has a number of different combinations to find different issues with addresses. This allows to check for where there is a state set but that doesn't match the set country or where the postcode isn't correct for Australian postcodes. All Australian Postcodes are numerical and are 3 or 4 digits in length.

This search also has options to check to check on addresses which we have put in "NCA" in the street address field, (this stands for No Current Address as there was no easy way to have addresses on hold).This is done so we can review and see if we have a more up to date address being added to the system.

We also have an option to check on and make sure that the city (we call suburb) field is filed out if state and...

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03 July, 2015

The National Workers Union is a small trade union based in Trinidad and Tobago.  For those whose geography is not so good, we are the southern most Caribbean island.  On a map, we are a little dot just 11 miles off the coast of Venezuela.

We are probably unusual amongst trade unions in Trinidad in that we use Linux (Ubuntu) and open source software on all our computers. In preparing this article I checked the Civi Forum and found my first query was in September 2007. So I guess we might have been using CiviCRM since version 2.x and possibly 1.x.

As a trade union, our primary need is to maintain a list of members and record union dues. We have a legal requirement to submit annual returns showing how many members we have and a gender breakdown. Early on, we worked out how to set up Rules to show membership status which helped with this.

We also worked out how...

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03 July, 2015

In the summer of 2007, I was in my fourth year of volunteering for a very small organization, Friends of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites.   At the time, the organization had about 20 chapters statewide and just around 1,000 members.   The spreadsheets that managed all these names and addresses had become too cumbersome and, as a tech-head from HP, I was asked to see if I could do anything about it.  Like many small non-profits, the budget for the project was extremely limited.

After a few possible home built options (Access Databases, etc.), I came across CiviCRM.  Still in its early years, CiviCRM seemed to have everything we needed right out of the box.  Donor management, member management (the big key for us) and online sales options were all included and completely customizable to fit our requirements.  A quick install on my home computer, a quick demo for the board and a very inexpensive hosting contract were all...

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02 July, 2015

Message from Steinar (MAF Norge)

CiviRules is live and doing effective automation!

Two weeks ago, Wednesday June 10th, MAF Norway started to use CiviRules on their live production site.
We did set up one single rule, which starting from that day, saves us for approximately 1 hour work pr. day. That is almost 15% of one persons workload throughout the year!

The extension is open for download from github. It has some basics features and some cool stuff already.
If you also download the SMS API (or EMAIL API or PDF API), you could already schedule things like this:

  •     Automatically send a sms with congratulation every time a contact has birthday.
  •     Automatically put contacts in a certain group if they contribute over a certain amount.
  •     Automatically tag contacts that have changed their email adress.

This could again be combined with a report on some back office staff member....

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29 June, 2015

The Women's Fund of Santa Barbara (WFSB) is a collective donor group that enables women to combine their charitable donations into significant grants focused on the critical needs of women, children and families in Santa Barbara.  The organization is run exclusively by a team of volunteers.  Cividesk spoke with Mary Garton, Susan Robeck and Julie Capritto about making the transition to CiviCRM and how this solution has changed the way they manage their organization.

Before using CiviCRM, the Women’s Fund had a customized CMS system and also used Excel spreadsheets to store data. But there were limitations to the system: they couldn’t manage contributions, events or memberships, and they didn’t have a way of accepting online payments.  The team of volunteers decided it was time to make a change to a new system that could better meet their needs in the areas of tracking memberships, contributions...

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17 June, 2015

Amnesty International Flanders (AIVL) have been using CiviCRM for a couple of years now, initially with memberships mainly but lately more and more as a fundraising tool. They have implemented CiviBanking for their incoming bank transactions and are now in the process of testing CiviSepa for their direct debits. We (as CiviCooP) are part of their CiviCRM family and work together with them to support their processes in the best way we can, making the most of CiviCRM. Other CiviCRM community members like Xavier Dutoit and Björn Endres (of Systopia Organisationsberatung) also for part of the team with some projects and ongoing development.

AIVL has an ambitious goal for their street recruitment, striving to increase the numbers of donors but also the retention rate and the donated amounts. One of the key development areas in this respect is the...

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03 June, 2015
There is a jungle of donor management systems. All promise the heaven on earth for development officers, fundraising professionals and nonprofit executives. And if you think CiviCRM is just one among many, you might want to take a closer look.
 
Aside from its fully integrated system which manages all contact information and activities around all people involved in your organization, CiviCRM is also state of the art technology with a very attractive price point as open-source. There are no licence fees. It’s all installed on your host if you’d like to stay in control of your environment, data and security. As with any software system, it needs its fair share of set-up, configuration, maintenance and training.
 
I have been burned with open-source software quite a bit in the last decade but working with open-source has also been the biggest delight. There are open-source software communities that stand out and CiviCRM is...
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12 May, 2015

We received this message yesterday from our friend Steinar at MAF Norge:

Our pilots and logistical experts are co-ordinating flights to bring relief to hard-to-reach areas inaccessible by road. The helicopters are carrying medical personnel, relief workers and vital supplies to reach the most vulnerable communities. Women and children make up a large percentage of these villages. We are working in close partnership with more than 25 groups, including the UK's Department for International Development (DFID), Operation Mobilisation and the Nepali Government. The most critical need in Nepal is shelter from the monsoon rain, clean water and rice/food. But also Medical evacuation.

The SMS function in CiviCRM made it possible for us to make an appeal to our network of supporters as soon as we knew the need for MAFs support in Nepal. This made it possible for us to raise hundreds of thousands NOK even before we had sent out any mailings or had any adverts. The cost in...

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