My name is Tim and I am a board member for the Open Roads Bike Program (http://www.openroadsbike.org/), a Kalamazoo, Michigan youth development program, founded in 2009, that teaches social skills and bike mechanic skills to youth in our community. This program began as a one-time program created by my friend Ethan Alexander, funded by a grant from the Kalamazoo Community Foundation. For this our third year, the board has put together a plan to turn this great idea into a permanent, self-sustaining organization - with help from CiviCRM.
Many of you are familiar with the process: creating brochures and letters, developing partnerships, organizing fund-raising campaigns, writing grants, developing our elevator speeches, organizing volunteers, planning events. With a small but dedicated group and many tasks, organization is essential. Efficiency is important. Some of our board members were familiar with web-based CRM systems and suggested that we look into them. As the designated "computer guy", I was asked/volunteered to investigate the options. CiviCRM quickly came to the top of the list and I am the "chosen one" to get it working. As the saying goes, "In the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man is king."
I am writing this blog to help others who may come after me and also to get some help from the community. This blog will document the process of getting a CiviCRM installation running from the perspective of someone with some computer skills, but no direct experience with most of the underlying tools. Although I am a systems analyst/programmer in my "day job", I loathe the arcane, tedious aspects of computers. My intention is to make visible those little things that can hang people up, to provide the Whys and Hows that sometimes go unstated by the people already familiar with a tool.
So lets see about going from almost zero to CiviCRM as quickly as possible. Our starting point: We've got hosting set up with a static website.
Next step, setting up a prototype installation on my Mac to learn and test.