The new CiviCase Blog Post 2: Using CiviCase for Case Management

2020-07-14 05:28
Written by
jamienovick - member of the CiviCRM community - view blog guidelines

Howdy y’all

Welcome to post 2 of our in depth look at the new CiviCase extension! 

If you missed the first entry, see here for our first blog post in the series - the  in depth reveal of the new CiviCase extension where we give an overview of all the new features.

Today we will be taking a look at how the new CiviCase can be used for, well, case work! In future posts we’ll look at using CiviCase for other workflows such as volunteer recruitment, opportunity tracking or managing awards and grants.

We’ll start off by explaining best practice in how to set up a casework system before then talking a little more about how CiviCase can be used as effectively as possible to support your casework team..

Thanks for reading, and as always if you have any questions or would like any support with your CiviCase implementation then don’t hesitate to contact us!!

CiviCase for case management with: The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) 

The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) is the largest professional association of registered social workers and qualified care managers in the United Kingdom. BASW offers the clear voice for the profession and strives to promote the best possible social work services for all people who may need them, while also securing the well-being of social workers. With over 22,000 members across the United Kingdom and Wales, BASW’s casework team is always busy supporting members with employment and legal issues. 

BASW uses CiviCRM’s CiviCase to manage their member Advice Line, handling their entire member support management process from within CiviCRM.

Implementing a casework system: Best practices

Introduction/overview of the process.

We’d suggest a simple 4 step process that you can take your project through to gather your requirements and make sure your implementation is a success:

Step 1: Outcomes and success factors:

It's good to start by agreeing the objectives of the new system with all the users/stakeholders. Perhaps even write these down so that you can come back to them if things get more complex!

Step 2: Understand “As is” business process

Map the processes as they currently stand, identifying pain points or areas that could be performed more efficiently. It’s important to review the existing process to ensure that you understand why things are currently done the way they are and nothing is missed.

Step 3: Define a “To be” business process 

The “To-Be” process mapping stage is where you rebuild your processes taking the support of the technology into account in order to support more automation and better ways of working. Each step in the business process is described by a user story and a high-level suggested technical solution for each step. Create a diagram as per the below:

Example process map

Step 4: Specification

Now you’ve identified all the steps in your to-be process, it’s about translating that into configurations for the system. For each step in your journey consider what you might need to record that step or change. Things to think about:

  • What case types might we need in the system? CiviCase supports the creation of individual case types to support an organisation’s different casework workflows. Splitting by case types makes reporting case numbers easier.
  • What fields might we need on each case type? This is a time to think about the unique data that we would like to store on individual case types. It’s a good idea to walk through each case type’s process to ensure all data fields are captured. 
  • What statuses will the case move through? Cases status can be used to track case progress within its workflow. Think about the journey of a case and whether it is helpful to know what stages it is in. If in doubt simply “Open” and “Closed” can be a good starting point!
  • What activities might you want to record? Activities track specific interactions and tasks within a case.
  • What people would be involved in the case? Case roles are used to track the main contacts involved in cases. It’s helpful to know who is the case manager, but also perhaps other people who would be involved in a case such as the .

Doing this well takes good judgement, so take your time to think it though and experiment with different options. If in doubt start with what you want to get “out” of the system, working back from your reporting or what staff want to see on screen, so you make sure what you put in can then be used as effectively as possible. (And of course, if you would like any help or support with your implementation, we would love to hear from you!)

Advanced topics: Leveraging the CiviCRM Drupal webform integration:

For more advanced implementers there’s a few more useful features that can help you get the most out of CiviCase.

CiviCRM Drupal webform integration: Public enquiry forms

Thanks to CiviCRM’s deep integration with the Drupal Webform module administrators can make use of online forms for contacts to make initial enquiries online. 


Updating a case using webforms

But for even more advanced workflows, did you know that these forms can be linked to from the case screen itself so they can be used as part of the case workflow itself? You could use them to collect important case details and update case statuses, assign case roles and send emails all as part of completing one single form. BASW takes advantage of this feature by incorporating a webform, as shown below, into their case closure process.

Emailing links to forms:

Using CiviCRM’s Checksum Tokens (a special personalised link that can be emailed to contacts), contacts can be sent links to complete an electronic forms online without the need for those contacts to login to the system. 

Links with checksum tokens will pre fill information from the contact profile into the forms so they don’t need to enter the information again, but also can link directly to an existing case. As such a contact or client could electronically add some “additional details” that you are requesting at a later stage in your process. This could be useful say if you are requesting they email you some files.

Filing emails on cases:

Did you know that CiviCRM can file your sent and received emails as activities against a contact record? What's more it can do this directly on to a case if the email is related to a case! To set this up follow the instructions here:

Once this has been set up any email which has a CiviCRM case token (or case ID) will be filed on the case itself in the activities section.

(see example below of an email sent from CiviCase): 

Feeling unsure about installing extensions?

While all of us in the CiviCRM ecosystem know that it’s the community’s numerous innovations and extensions that make it such an amazing CRM, it can be a bit tricky to maintain them at times, requiring constant attention to new patches and updates.

In order to help with this, we’ve recently launched CiviPlus - a version of CiviCRM with all its core features, plus all of the extensions (and more!) that we’ve mentioned here today. CiviPlus is hosted securely in the cloud and all patches and security updates are taken care of by our team. This gives you a comprehensive Civi experience with all of the fantastic power of CiviCRM, without the need to worry about maintenance.

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