A Rapid Solution for a Slow Organisation
School of Slow
Interestingly the School of Slow is not a not-for-profit or a charity. It is a pretty straight-ahead small business providing training courses, that grew out of the growing interest in real bread and artisan baking. The business owners needed a website that would enable them to promote their courses, and enable their customers to select, register and pay for the courses they wanted to take. Early success without having the online booking facilities available had highlighted the enormous amount of time that was being invested in managing course bookings, handling payments, keeping lists of participants, etc. It was taking as much time to do all the admin as it was to actually plan and deliver the training events themselves. A solution had to be found. After detailed discussions, and looking at what else the School of Slow needed to do, CiviCRM was selected. Despite it's not-for-profit use of language and focus on third sector organisations, CiviCRM looked to be a good fit for this small business. Time was tight, as was the budget, so CiviCRM's ease of implementation and smooth integration into a Drupal powered website were real bonus points.
A year or more later the School of Slow folks wanted to incvlude an online course in the mix. CiviCRM's membership functionality coupled with Drupal's ability to synchronise memberships with user roles enabled us to utilise the existing system to provide controlled access to the online course. This was a real testmanet to the flexibility of both applications, as this use case was never envisaged in the initial discussions, yet we were able to implement a solution very simply and at low cost to the client organisation.
Event management functionality, and specifically the ability to enable site visitors to register and pay online, was absolutely critical to the choice of CiviCRM for this project.
To make a major positive impact on the amount of time being invested by the business owner on adminstrative tasks, freeing them up to develop the business further and actually enjoy what they were doing.
Would a CRM system geared to the needs of the not for profit sector work effectively with a for-profit organisation?
The two owners of School of Slow were actively involved in the development of the project, and were keen to learn and take on tasks from the very beginning. They led on visual site design, and having had some previous experience of working with both Drupal and CiviCRM were quick to learn. Graham Mitchell - MC3's CiviCRM specialist - ran the project from our side.
Why did this project use CiviCRM?
CiviCRM, despite it's different focus, was selected because it was known to both the client and to us as the consultant/implementor. This meant a much lower learning curve for everyone involved. And we could simply turn off the components that we didn't need. At the same time the bulk mail facility and contact msnagement tools offered a bonus that would be beneficial.