19 February, 2015
Filed under Tips

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

  1. 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.
  2. Create a data dictionary. Consider adopting data...
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15 December, 2014

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...

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10 October, 2014
Filed under CiviCRM, Schools, Teams, Tips

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...

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30 September, 2014

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...

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31 July, 2014
Filed under CiviCRM, Documentation, Tips

Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Understanding the Structure of Dedupe Rules
  3. Creating Dedupe Rules
  4. Basic Dedupe Rule Attributes
  5. Field Weights, and Weight Threshold
  6. Some Recommended Rule Recipes
  7. Using Dedupe Rules
  8. Merging Contacts
  9. Using Dedupe Rules when Importing Contacts into CiviCRM
  10. Dedupe Exceptions
  11. Tips for Setting up Effective Dedupe Rules
  12. In Conclusion

1. Introduction

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...

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06 May, 2014
Filed under Community, Security, Tips

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...

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28 April, 2014

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.

Flying to Civicon San Francisco 2014

 

Background

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...

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20 February, 2014
Filed under Documentation, Security, Tips

We've just added a page detailing CiviCRM's security policy and release process.

This page is intended to help people identify how they can stay abreast of security updates, know when to expect them, and how to tell which release of CiviCRM to expect security fixes for.

If you maintain or operate a CiviCRM site (or sites!) then you this is a page you should be familiar with, and there are a few actions you should take -

  • Make sure your team are subscribed to security notification updates.
  • Put the newly announced security release window, first Wednesday of the month, in your schedule.
  • Make sure your installed sites are running a supported release, so they qualify for security fixes!

The CiviCRM community are making ongoing...

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06 February, 2014
Filed under CiviCRM, Drupal, Tips

Because of the way the synchronization process works with the UF_Match table, deleting records can be tricky business.   If done in the incorrect order, your CiviCRM database can end up with a bunch of Junk contact records.  Below is a best practice process for removing records, first the Drupal user record should be deleted then the CiviCRM record.

Process to Follow

Step 1 - Identify the Identify the Contact record(s) to be merged/removed in CiviCRM and note the Drupal User ID for the record to be removed.

Step 2 - Search for and locate the Drupal record for the CiviCRM Contact you are deleting that you identified in Step 1 and use the Cancel Account button to delete the Drupal User record.

Step 3 - Go back to CiviCRM and merge/delete the CiviCRM Contact record.

 

Step 1

  • Identify the Contact record(s) to be merged/removed in CiviCRM.
  • Determine the record which is to be removed and note the Drupal User ID....
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23 January, 2014
Filed under Tips

Every new install of CiviCRM starts out fresh and clean, with only the built-in data fields. However, as every organisation has its own data needs, we often find ourselves adding more and more custom fields to this. This can easily start to clutter your contact views.

An important way to avoid this and manage your custom data fields is to create relevant contact subtypes and assigning your custom data fields to those subtypes.

As a simple example, as a training event organizer, say you are keeping track of participants, speakers, and support staff in the same database. You may want to create custom fields for the speakers to keep track of their areas of expertise, for the support staff to monitor what roles they have received training for, and for participants to make sure that their knowledge of the training languages is recorded. Using subtypes, you can then easily assign these custom fields so that they only appear for that particular kind of contact. If...

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