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Project: Standardising Voluntary Sector Infrastructure data collection across the Greater Manchester / Merseyside, England



Ardwick Green North
M12 6FZ Manchester
United Kingdom

Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation (GMCVO) is the voluntary sector support organisation covering Greater Manchester, England. Starting in 2008 the GMVSS (Greater Manchester Voluntary Sector Support) project aim was to work across the 10 districts of Greater Manchester standardising the data that is collected on local voluntary sector organisations. In each district a lead organisation supports the local voluntary sector organisations, called an Infrastructure Organisation, and they all collect data on the organisations they work with. By standardising data collection it is possible to create a detailed picture of the social and economic impact of the work done by the voluntary sector. Mid way through the project was expanded to include a further 4 districts within the Greater Merseyside area with the support of ChangeUp Merseyside. Upon project completion 13 organisations received a database system which met both their needs and the project goals. In addition GMCVO Staff developed specialist skills (data analysis / requirements, change management, staff support) as part of the project which has meant that they are now providing the database system to other voluntary sector Infrastructure Organisations.


Standardised custom fields across multiple organisations conforming to data gathering guidelines.


To provide to each of the 10 District organisations a holistic database system (CiviCRM) that they could use to manage their contacts, data collection, communications, service delivery, events / training courses and membership. Additionally each organisation would be offered a public website which would be wholly integrated with their database system (Drupal).


The biggest challenge was working with such a large number of organisations in one project. Each organisation had different requirements in the areas of; change management, staff training / skills, current data, system usage.

Developed by

Key personnel at GMCVO were: Oliver Gibson, Chris Heard, and Jayne Lloyd (Greater Merseyside ChangeUp). Key members of the Circle Interactive team were: Dave Moreton, Dave Jenkins and Robert Bailey (Bails).

Why did this project use CiviCRM?

CiviCRM was chosen after evaluating a number of other systems which included off the shelf and bespoke products. The decision to implement CiviCRM was made based on flexibility, licencing, ethics and functionality.