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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04 May, 2015

My colleague Tommy has been leading our response at AGH Strategies for Civi911 calls that come in, and he's noticed a few common themes.  I suspect that you may encounter some of these same issues, and this might save you some time and money in addressing problems that crop up on your CiviCRM site.

Six Common Problems We’ve Seen in the First Six Months of Civi911

Six months ago we launched a service for emergency, one-off support requests called Civi911. We’ve gotten calls from all sizes and types of organizations, and many of them share common problems.

  1. Wordpress Plugins - Not to name names, but the first thing we do with a non-working Wordpress site is to disable all the plugins. Typically it is a caching plugin that is wreaking havoc, but it is best to leave no stone unturned. The most problematic have been the plugins bundled with a particular theme or...
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03 May, 2015

For core team member Coleman Watts, it all started while working for an environmental & peace education center that needed a database. Trying out CiviCRM, he soon discovered its power to unite different facets of the organization into a coherent whole. Using a holistic database transformed a weakness (running many programs meant piles of spreadsheets and disorganization) into a strength (a person's engagement with multiple aspects of the organization could now be tracked, facilitating collaboration between departments).

After attending a CiviCRM developer training, Coleman began extending the system and adding custom features for his organization. Inspired by the open source community he reworked his custom form code into...

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13 April, 2015
By petednz

We have started a small collection of blogs about using Views, Views Bulk Operations (VBO) and CiviCRM Entities to provide a Views-based interface for bulk updating Civi data.

This opens up a number of possibilities for bulk data updating which may not yet be straightforward in CiviCRM itself.

The recipe is basically

  • install CiviCRM Entity version 2.x & Views Bulk Operations VBO
  • create a View based on the Civi entity in question eg Contact or Participants or Relationships
  • add the VBO field and configure the desired 'bulk operation'

Setting up a View with a bulk operation to modify the entity in question is pretty straightforward. The one 'catch' at this point is that as far as VBO is concerned, we have to enter the CiviCRM 'value' not the 'label', so if you are wanting to update a...

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