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.
The CiviCRM community provides knowledge, skills and development. It enables me to help where I can, such as with translations. CiviCRM is an amazing piece of software and in combination with Drupal provides great possiblities.
I am trying to build a stronger End-user community withing CiviCRM to increase cooperation among non-profits using CiviCRM in similar ways. Going to CiviCON and being a part of the community at the conference has made me want to make the End-user community more robust. I think the open-source and non-profit focused nature of CiviCRM lends itself to strong community building as is an aspect of CiviCRM that is exciting!
I'm quite impressed with the responsiveness of the CiviCRM community, both from the core developers and many experienced users who have quickly provided answers and ideas in areas where I just needed that extra insight, or where we needed to do something totally new. After several years working with open source software, I'm finding the CiviCRM community to be the most responsive and helpful I've seen.
We make CiviCRM one of our primary offerings because it just provides so much right out of the box that our clients need, without a line of custom code. And when we need to extend it for the clients' unique needs, the APIs and programming hooks let us add in features that would be impossible in some other systems. This means we can provide great value to our clients with quick turnaround times and reasonable budgets, which is great for our clients and for us.
My choice of CiviCRM is based on the principles of democratic participation. Thanks to the CiviCRM community of developers we all have the tools to engage and connect in a clever and meaningful way. At Liberty Victoria this helps us in our work to defend and extend civil liberties and human rights.
In New York City we have been fortunate to have had in person user group meetings. It has been useful to CiviCRM see case studies presented by companies and individuals. To learn about how people use and customize CiviCRM for different types of organizations. It is also useful to meet in person other implementers, developers and users to work with on professional and volunteer projects. I think it is also important and fulfilling to try to share knowledge and resources with others to help sustain the community and project. I also run a non-profit Man Up Campaign to stop violence against women. To have the insights into civiCRM helps us make progress on our mission!