Leveraging CiviCRM to change lives through social power
Greater Washington Urban League (GWUL)
The Greater Washington Urban League is a major interracial, nonpartisan, nonprofit social services and civil rights organization with headquarters in the District of Columbia. In support of their mission, a completely dynamic website leveraging Drupal, as the underlying content management framework, and CiviCRM, as the constituent relationship management system, was designed and developed. CiviCRM was integrated into the GWUL website, migrating nearly 25,000 sponsors, members, and other contacts into the new system. Now, GWUL staff and volunteers can manage contacts, pledges and donations, memberships, volunteers, event registration, and other activities centrally through their web interface.
GWUL's goal was to be able to accept online donations, record offline donations, manage events and event registration and payments, and be able to generate online and offline the receipts and thank you letters as well as meet their reporting needs.
Greater Washington Urban League wanted to replace its legacy fundraising software, a well known package for the non-profit community, which was proprietary and required a subscription fee. A second goal of the project was to port their website off of an old proprietary CMS, which was starting to show its age. A combination of Drupal and CiviCRM was proposed because it would be a commodity platform and much easier to find developers to maintain. Because CiviCRM is open source, the licensing, maintenance and upgrade fees would then also no longer be an issue. On the fundraising side, GWUL needed to retain all of their existing functionality, which includes a significant amount of traditional donor management (e.g. receipt and recording of a large volume of offline contributions and donations by people made at events, and paper receipts and thank-yous as well as acceptance of donations on their website). They also wanted to consolidate their multiple online donation mechanisms (Click and Pledge, PayPal, and others) through a central reporting system. Further, they wanted to offer online registration for their many workshops and community events as well as their major fundraisers.
There was no easy way to export legacy data into a format that could be imported into CiviCRM without significant time and expense. In the end, we chose to migrate only the contact information, not legacy contribution information.
The project team consisted of: a technical lead in charge of installing, configuring and customizing CiviCRM; the membership director from GWUL; and a project manager/relationship manager.
Why did this project use CiviCRM?
GWUL wanted a system that wouldn't lock them in to a single vendor. This ruled out most of the major commercial options such as SalesForce, Kintera, and Blackbaud. Other CRMs, such as SugarCRM, were evaluated; however, these did not provide sufficient functionality or, in the case of SugarCRM, required a purchase of the most expensive license to get all necessary functionality. Finally, since Drupal was identified as the best platform for their public site, a solution that could integrate into the Drupal infrastructure was ideal.