I chose to learn to use CiviCRM to learn how to help NPOs :) And because it seems to be a meeting point and a continuity of my values, my skills, and what I think we should develop for the next step of our humanity.
CiviCRM provides a vital tool whereby nonprofits and other social projects can implement strong contact-relationship management capabilities without high monthly fees. It also provides the integration and customization capabilities necessary to make such software useful in the complex, lived reality of doing social engagement work. Plus it continues to build the open source toolset made available to the Commons and grow the common good.
Over the past 15 years I've been involved in several open source communities.
CiviCRM is without any doubt the one that has the strongest focus in welcoming "newbies" and letting everyone feel at home here. Another impressive feature is the focus on shipping. No matter what you think of CiviCRM today, you are almost sure that there will be a newer and better version in a few months.
I've been working with CiviCRM since 2006 or thereabouts. The CiviCRM community is outstanding in providing support and sharing expertise, which combines with a strong product to enable me in turn to deliver better results for the organisations that I work with.
From fundraising websites which really connect you with your donors to essential tools for care organisations to manage their data, Civi has allowed us to do some amazing things for our clients. It's such a flexible platform and has such a great community which we're proud to be a part of.
CiviCRM and the community help me provide maximum value to our constituents by making accurate information available to us in real time. With limited resources we have to work smarter and CiviCRM is key to delivering to our mission.
<Cross posted from Advomatic.com The code blocks will be easier to read there.>
Sometimes after launching a new site our clients find that there are fields and features in CiviCRM that they don't use. We are working with a client that wants to remove all fields and features that aren't useful in order to simplify their user interface and make it easier to use. This includes things like SMS features, email signatures, and demographics. There are also several fields that they wanted renamed to be more consistent with the legacy system that they migrated from. To fulfill this requirement I used a combination of template overrides, and CiviCRM's translation system.
First up I should point out that if you do want to go down this path you need to make clear to the client that this will take a fair amount of effort up front (hopefully less for you now that you are reading this recipe). Additionally, if/when you upgrade CiviCRM these customizations will need to be reviewed at the very least, and possibly even re-done to some extent. So while this customization will make things more usable for CiviCRM administrators, it will add cost to both the initial site build, and to ongoing maintenance.
By definition CiviCRM is used by many organizations in the political sphere. For those organizations working in the US one useful metric to have on your contacts is their congressional district. Up until now this has usually been accomplished with either custom code, or exporting your contacts, sending them through a bulk lookup tool, and re-importing them. There is now an easier way to get this with the CiviCRM Sunlight Congressional District module.