I recently completed a conversion of about 8 years of history from a 5 year old Blackbaud Kintera site to a Drupal CiviCRM solution. Confused yet? Don't worry, all we be revealed in time. As a way of giving back, I am planning to share my experiences good and bad, what worked, what did not, what I learned and what I will and won't do next time.
Let's start with a little background. I have been the technology consultant for Women in Development, New York (www.widny.org) for the past 8+ years now. I started out as a member, graduated to a board member and in the end became their consultant. I have been with this organization since before they had a formal database to manage their members and before they had their first website. Back then, I used my own mail servers to send out their mass emails, my how the times have changed. In addition, to selecting and managing their original database solution, maintaining their first website and...Read more
As a freelancer, here are a few notes and an overview on how I solved a client's contacts consolidation when the data came from external sources:
My Use Case
- Client had ongoing events and conferences over several years which meant there were databases and mailing lists all over the place (many of which had crossover).
- I set up ongoing JSON exports of the contact data from the external sites, which could be queried by date range to get the latest changes.
- I had a contact consolidation script on the CiviCRM end, that took these JSON exports, and loaded them into Civ via the API.
- About 5 different source sites created about 1200 contacts
A Few Challenges
- The documentation can be quite scattered and it was difficult sometimes to find the right versions. I really pity whoever has to deal with this challenge though!
- It took me much longer than it should have to learn how to activate the API...
Two weeks already since civicon, the dust has settled and Amy Dobbs and the team at skillmatters have filmed and uploaded the sessions.
- For those that have attended CiviCon london and ended up the day desperate about all the nice sessions they missed, you'll be pleased to know that you can see them online.
- For those that missed CiviCon london, well, really, you should have been there, we missed you and we hope you'll be able to attend the next one.
- For the speakers, could you post a comment with a link to your slides? I'll update this article.
Anyway, the videos are online too, a couple needs some setting changes to be viewed, stay tuned and come back soon.
welcome to civicon state of the project & keynote
By Kurund Jalmi,...Read more
Eli Beckerman is the second winner of a copy of Using CiviCRM from Packt Publishing. Eli is excited about the potential of CiviCRM to organize bottom-up transformations to deal collaboratively with the many crises facing the world today.
Packt has also selected a runner-up in its contest: an experienced CiviCRM user from the City Bible Forum, ken, will get a downloadable eBook copy of the book.
Here's some background on Using CiviCRM from Packt's site:
What you will learn from this book:
- Create a successful CiviCRM implementation project
- Install and configure CiviCRM in Joomla! or Drupal, understand advanced configuration options, and review the upgrade process in detail
Sheila Burkett is the first winner of a copy of Using CiviCRM from Packt Publishing. Packt is running a promotional contest where you just have to post into the forum or email them to qualify to win a copy of the book.
Here's some more information about the book from the Press Release:
Using CiviCRM is the first commercially published book on CiviCRM, and came out in February 2011. It will teach readers to build a CRM that conforms to their needs and to integrate it with Drupal or Joomla!. Written by...Read more
Rooty Hollow is excited to announce the release of our Constant Contact Integration module for CiviCRM. If you are not able or willing to deal with sending bulk e-mails form your host this module is for you.
- Upload contacts from a CiviCRM installation...
The webform module is a great way to collect info from your contacts, perfect for things like application forms, surveys, contact forms, feedback forms, etc. The hard part is getting those form submissions to actually link to your CiviCRM contacts... until now.
Until now, getting your webforms to work with CiviCRM was a little like Groundhog Day. You wake up in the morning, create the usual form (First Name, Last Name, Address, City, State, Zip, Phone Number, Email, etc.). An hour later, you're done with the easy part. Now you have to write a custom PHP script to intercept those form submissions, call up the Civi APIs (go A team!), and start trying to match up field keys to API $params. It's kind of tedious, and doesn't always work the first time (was it supposed to be 'prefix_id' or 'individual_prefix' or 'individual_prefix_id'?). But a few hours and a few dozen test submissions later you've got it all working. Now...Read more
We had a lively meetup at Wikimedia Foundation HQ in San Francisco last week. Despite the super crummy weather, Carl Tashian from the Participatory Politics Foundation came downtown on via bicycle to share their experiences migrating to CiviCRM from phpList, using the Sendgrid service for mailings, and integrating CiviCRM with the Ruby on Rails application they use for their Open Congress project. This is a great example of using the REST API for tools integration. You can check out the slides from Carl's presentation here. Be sure to also check out Open Congress! Thanks Carl for a great presentation.
We also spent some time reviewing the new...Read more
A large organization using CiviCRM is planning to switch to using CiviMail for their broadcast email needs. This is great news for CiviMail and will take it to the next level in terms of feature set and functionality. As part of their migration, we are integrating a workflow engine into CiviMail. For this version, we will be using Drupal's rules module, thus making it Drupal specific. (if you are a joomla user and interested in sponsoring this for CiviCRM on Joomla, please contact us via email / IRC). For this project, we'll be focussed on extending the CiviMail schema to facilitate workflow. Sending a broadcast email will be split into three steps:
- A user creates the email content. On creating / uploading the content, an event is triggered which informs the QA group of a new mailing
- The QA group verifies the mailing and works with the user to improve the mailing. Once this is done, the mailing is...
Sendgrid is a relatively new cloud-based service that takes care of mailing list SMTP delivery and attempts to get the highest possible deliverability rate. We didn't want to have to manage our own SMTP server here at the Participatory Politics Foundation, so when we migrated to CiviCRM recently, we decided to take the sendgrid route for SMTP.
Integration with CiviMail is pretty straightforward: all you really have to do is change your SMTP settings in CIviMail to match your sengrid credentials. But sendgrid is different from a typical SMTP server in the way it handles bounces and spam reports. First of all, sendgrid uses a reputation score to keep spammers away -- the gist of it is that 80% or more of your messages must deliver without failures. If you go below 80%, your sendgrid account can be suspended. Furthermore, they don't send any bounce or spam report messages back to you, the sender. And...Read more