I work for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. We switched to CiviCRM so that we could be sure that our membership data stays safe, secure, and private. Now we have control over our CRM and can customize it to work for our needs.
We help many not for profits implement CiviCRM through consultancy, training, configuration and custom development. Many of them come from a painful world of old Access databases, multiple spreadsheets and even paper. It's really satisfying to
help people move on with a system that's so much in tune with their own ethics of sharing and collaboration. We also 'eat our own dog food' and use Civi in-house for our client records because we love the flexibility and control it gives us.
For us it's important to share code and advice with other members of the community when we can because we know we get it back in help at other times. The community really is awesome and one of the friendliest and undaunting I've come across. We appreciate the huge value of the software to us and our clients so we try to contribute back and make it even better.
If it weren't for CiviCRM we'd be using at least 5 different
systems for Woolman: one for donor management, another for email newsletters, a third for our school enrollment, a fourth for our summer camp registration, and then a whole bunch of spreadsheets for keeping track of things like event attendance, prospective students, CSA memberships, etc. And of course none of those systems would talk to each other or make it possible to get a whole picture of the many ways one person might participate in our education center's activities. Migrating all of our scattered data and disparate systems to CiviCRM was a long and challenging process, but the results have been more than worth it. Our ability to track and report on our programs has improved dramatically, while the burden on staff to do data entry has been greatly reduced, and our participants are happy that they can now register/enroll online rather than mailing or faxing paper forms.
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.
The CiviCRM community has been a tremendous resource for new ideas and helping us solve problems. We are excited to contribute customizations EFF makes back to core and support new features such as batch entry for offline donations or multiple payment processors on one donation form.
Palante Tech works with social justice organizations on a tight budget to be more effective through technology. CiviCRM allows us to provide a high-quality low-cost database for community organizing, donor and membership management.