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.
- 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...
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...Read more
Whether you're just getting started with customizing CiviCRM or you already think you know everything about it, I invite you to spend a few minutes playing with the new API Explorer in 4.6. You'll be glad you did.
Building on Xavier's great previous work (thanks X for writing the original explorer) I rewrote the interface in 4.5 to reflect new api techniques and take advantage of new user-friendly UI widgets like select2. In 4.6 I've added even more goodies, so be sure to upgrade when it is released - some of the features listed below (marked with a *) are only in 4.6.
Interactive option lists
No need to type in secret codes, you can...Read more
CRM Data plans refer to documenting agreements on representation, format, definition and structuring of data. Current and future CiviCRM users can utilise it to increase efficiency, knowledge creation and interoperability with other systems.
In order to optimise and future-proof the CRM system, the data structures, in addition to the data itself, need a good re-work. There are two main steps to the process:
- Reviewing data and operations, and setting the new structures
- Remodelling existing data to match the new structures
Create a Data Plan
- Collate and list all data fields (names/ headings, descriptions, options) that are collected through all channels, formal, informal, paper, digital etc. onto a single repository.
- Create a data dictionary. Consider adopting data...
My first exposure to CiviCRM was around 2009. I was working at Freeform Solutions, Canadian IT nonprofit organization that supports other nonprofits by providing technology support. We were looking for a CRM system that would support an HR organization that had a few thousands contact records. They needed a software that would allow all staff to access the same contacts database so that all staff members can update the records, send newsletters and other mass mailings and to run reports on the collected data to know what type of clients they work with. In the future, they were planning to do online events registrations, possibly with payments.
We've done some research and several things attracted us to use CiviCRM for this project:
- CiviCRM, being an open source software, meant to us, the developers, that if we had to tweak any functionality or add some new features, we could do that without having to rely on the creators of the...
This goes out to CiviCRM users (yes YOU too!), admins and developers.
A key productivity tool in my day to day life is a set of Q&A websites called Stack Exchange. They have different sites for all sorts, from programming through to parenting(!). Typically, I'm on the programming ones usually, but stay with me, this isn't about to get technical.
What happens is that I'm getting on with my work and I get stuck on a problem that I'm sure a million others must have solved before. Or I'm doing something and I'm sure that there's a better/simpler/easier way. After the preliminary web searches fail me I'll hop over to the appropriate one of these Q&A sites where I'll hit the Ask A question button and start typing.
First this makes me phrase my problem as a question, and one that other people will be able to understand. This is a great discepline and...Read more
Finding enough money in your budget to market your organization effectively can be challenging. Most nonprofit organizations need to focus their limited resources on providing programs and services. Google makes it easier for nonprofits with Google Ad Grants. That, in combination with CiviCRM provides a power engine fueling your marketing, outreach and CRM needs.
So let’s start with Google Grants...
GoogleGrants gives $120,000 per year of free advertising to each nonprofit which meets the requirements of the program (http://www.google.com/grants/eligibility.html).
What does this mean? Anytime you Google a word or phrase, there will be results at the top of the page and in the sidebar that returns relevant results. Most of the time, this is paid search (which is very different from organic search, but that’s a different topic for a different day.)
So $120,000 a...Read more
- Understanding the Structure of Dedupe Rules
- Creating Dedupe Rules
- Basic Dedupe Rule Attributes
- Field Weights, and Weight Threshold
- Some Recommended Rule Recipes
- Using Dedupe Rules
- Merging Contacts
- Using Dedupe Rules when Importing Contacts into CiviCRM
- Dedupe Exceptions
- Tips for Setting up Effective Dedupe Rules
- In Conclusion
Dedupe rules are a very useful feature of CiviCRM, but one that can cause a fair bit of confusion to new or less technical users. The documentation on them is fairly spartan — sufficient for developers or...Read more
Don't ask for your privacy. Take it back.
Reset the Net is a campaign to improve individual and organizational privacy against mass government surveillance. I think we as CiviCRM community members should step up and act. In particular, hosting providers, implementors, and organizations using CiviCRM should up their game to implement SSL, HSTS, and PFS.
As users, administrators, and developers of software used by non-profits and advocacy groups around the world, we should all be concerned about the security of information in CiviCRM databases.
Many administrators and consultants went into overdrive to respond promptly to the recent http://heartbleed.com/ security vulnerability. But we also need to be aware of threats from mass government surveillance.
Whether it is America's NSA, the Communications Security Establishment Canada, Britain's GCHQ, China's military, or other...Read more
After having worked with CiviCRM for going on a year, I was excited to see the community around the project and learn more about others who are using CiviCRM. Initially, I questioned the risk vs. reward of traveling 3000 miles across the country and leaving my new business for so many days. As the time drew closer and I started digging deeper into the session descriptions I began to get excited.
For the past 10 years, I have been working with businesses in the For Profit sector to develop and implement CRM’s and Business Management software. A year ago I started my own business offering web development and cloud based software integration for non-profit organizations. I saw a large need for data management in the nonprofit sector and one of our first large clients brought up a...Read more