27 August, 2014

For over 15 years, NDItech has been in the business of developing technologies for development. One of our newest pet projects is called DemTools, or the Democracy Toolkit. DemTools is a set of four webapps to solve some of the most common problems our global partners experience: civic organizing, managing constituent relationships, tracking election data and fostering civic debates. Two of them are custom-configured versions of CiviCRM, so we’ve been working closely with the core team throughout our design and development process. 

The thinking behind DemTools was simple: to design context appropriate solutions for advocates of political change that were informed by user needs and could enhance existing workflows. However, what we learned from conducting a host of usability tests on our Civi-enabled tools was that making them work was anything but simple.

In a recent DemWorks blog post, we shared some of the...

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25 August, 2014

The 4.5 Documentation Dash,held on Sunday, July  27th and Monday July 28th, was a remote sprint designed to finish documenting all the new features coming up in CiviCRM 4.5 and finalise the restructured Membership section.  With typical CiviCRM flexibility people worked on issues before, during and after the designated Dash days.  We closed 14 issues  (see https://issues.civicrm.org/jira/secure/RapidBoard.jspa?rapidView=14 )

Participants ranged from experienced CiviCRM users and documenters through to people who are fairly new to CiviCRM and were first-time documenters. Thanks to Joanne Chester, Jen Crothers, Eliot Mason, Chris Ward, Graham Mitchell, Diego Viegas, Laryn Kragt Bakker, Oliver Gibson and Michael McAndrew.

24 August, 2014

I am Yashodha Chaku, one of the core team members of CiviCRM. I stumbled into the Civi-world quite by chance. After graduating from college with Bachelors in Computers Science I happened to join Web Access (which hosts a Civi team in India) in 2006 and started working on CiviCRM. When I started off CiviCRM was in its nascent stages (1.4 I guess) and it has come a long way ever since. With each added feature it has started getting more and more traction from a wide range of organizations both in terms of size and spectrum. 

I am very excited about the work we do on CiviCRM which involves building on each other's ideas to create the best of breed solutions for non profits. The crowd-source nature of open source software makes sure it's in sync with the needs of non profits. The sheer amount of enthusiasm, expertise that community members bring to the table is amazing and interactions that we have had with folks during meetups, CiviCON, sprints...

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24 August, 2014

Mthulisi Ncube, Data Coordinator at MSF South Africa says: “We are working closely with our service provider Ixiam who have helped us customise CiviCRM.  MSF South Africa has been using CiviCRM for over a year now to store and manage all our fundraising contacts and donor database.  We chose to go with CiviCRM because of its customizability and free online availability. We do a lot of emailing to our donor base and CiviCRM helps us track who opened what and the click-through rates. Our contacts also have an option to opt-out and all the interactions are recorded directly into the CiviCRM.

CiviCRM also allows us to generate financial files when we run monthly debit orders, and it sends this information to the our payment software, linkserv, which enables collections from bank accounts. As per regulations in South Africa, we are also able to generate Consolidated...

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24 August, 2014

Kabissa is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 1999. Our mission is to help African civil society organizations to put Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to work for the benefit of their communities.

Kabissa's current priority is to support the networking, information sharing and ICT peer learning needs of African civic society organizations.  This is done by maintaining an online platform at http://www.kabissa.org with a searchable organization directory, community blog and monthly member newsletter. Kabissa also runs a community forum and organizes webinars. Kabissa works closely with Erik Hommel, their in-house CiviCRM guru who contributes a few volunteer hours a month to Kabissa.

On May 20, 2014, Kabissa organized a...

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24 July, 2014

Contributed by Christie Wentz, Executive Director of Drug Free Pennsylvania, Inc

In the spring of 2013, I was appointed as the Executive Director of Drug Free Pennsylvania. It didn’t take me long to realize that we had a challenge when it came to the several disparate tools we were using to track and interact with the supporters of our programs . As a parent organization for three sub-programs, we had a substantial amount of data to track. A critical step in growing our outreach was to identify an agency to help us update our outdated websites and marketing materials. As I reviewed our processes I began to realize how everything was interconnected. Donations were being passed through our website to PayPal where those transactions and contacts were being stored. Constant Contact was being utilized for mass email campaigns, QuickBooks for billing, and another employee had Filemaker Pro on their laptop for...
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03 July, 2014

Last week I have been working for MAF Norge to connect CiviCRM to their SMS Gateway (PsWinCom) so that they can send and receive SMS from within CiviCRM. In addition PsWinCom offered a the possibility to send SMS which will charge the receiver an amount of money. This way MAF Norge used to receive SMS donations. Now they can do that from within CiviCRM.

This done by two components, one is the PsWinCom SMS Provider and the other a newly developed SMS Autoreply extension. 

SMS Autoreply extension

The SMS Autoreply extension does sends auto replies to incoming sms-es. It is triggered by a keyword...

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25 June, 2014
Tribodar Learning Center is a non-profit organization that develops non-formal education activities in a start-up eco-village in Alentejo, Portugal. Our main activity at this moment is to host international participants who come to spend anywhere between one week to several months, learning about ecological agriculture, eco-building and sustainable living. Further, Tribodar has been organizing a small festival since 2013 called Tribojam.
 
Both the management of the participants and the festival require complex communications.  In the past, we used different open source tools (Limesurvey and Mailchimp among others) to collect and process this information. The biggest drawback was the lack of integration between the different tools.  
 
As our IT skills at Tribodar are quite limited, we had to find a solution that didn’t...
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25 June, 2014
The Friends of the San Pedro River (FSPR), founded in 1987, is a volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and restoration of the river through advocacy, education, and interpretation. FSPR coordinates its activities with the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the land manager of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA) and the National Conservation Lands. The FSPR operates a gift and bookstore, leads guided interpretive walks/hikes along the river and throughout the adjacent area, presents educational programs to schools and community groups, and assists the BLM in a variety of other stewardship programs like Hands on the Land.
 ...
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23 June, 2014
The Capital Area Greenbelt Association (CAGA - www.caga.org) is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining and preserving the 20 mile Greenbelt trail that circles Harrisburg, PA. The trail was initially created in the early 1900's, as part of the national City Beautiful movement. The trail was created as a pedestrian-use only, paved road linking several of the parks around Harrisburg and surrounding communities. Unfortunately, during the Depression the trail fell into disrepair and was not restored until the 1990's. At that time, a small group of conservation-minded individuals rediscovered the trail and banded together to clear many decades of debris and overgrowth, and begin the work of repaving, weeding, fencing, and many other maintenance tasks needed to keep the trail safe for walkers, bikers, and joggers.
 
Although CAGA receives funding from federal, state, and local grants and donations...
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