Report from the 2009 Non-profit Software Development Summit

A passionate posse of folks interested in advancing the state of non-profit software gathered this week at the Non-profit Software Development Summit. CiviCRM was a sponsor of the event which featured a full "track" of Civi-related events. Some civ-highlights from the conference:
  • Helping some current users solve problems and get up to speed on more advance features in the CiviCRM 201 session. Our community does pretty amazing things in the "cloud" - but I really love having opportunities to interact with users and integrators and developers "live and in person". The feedback on 3.0 usability improvements (especially the new navigation menu) was super positive and very gratifying.
  • Participating in Lobo's "action-packed" 60 minute session on Extending CiviCRM without Hacking Core. The more I play with all the things that can be done with our evolving hook functionality - the more excited I get.
  • Joining with a group of CiviCRM integrators (and a few users) to brainstorm about Building the CiviCRM Community. This session was organized by the folks at Dharmatech - and partly inspired by a really cool book - The Art of Community - written by Jono Bacon who is the community manager for Ubuntu (a popular open source operating system distribution based on Debian Linux). It was exciting to collaborate in thinking about how folks with different interests and skills can potentially contribute towards strengthening the CiviCRM community and accelerating adoption of the platform. If you're interested in the ongoing sustainability of CiviCRM - I would encourage you to read Jono's book and think about what "team" you can join and / or create.
Thanks to Gunner and the team at Aspiration for organizing a great event!

Report from the CiviCRM testing sprint in San Francisco

The past two days a group of us gathered at the Mitchell Kapor Foundation offices in downtown San Francisco for the first CiviCRM Test Sprint. Some of the highlights of the event were:

  • Introducing the concept of testing and our current framework for unit testing. CiviCRM uses PHPUnit for unit testing. We also use XDebug for code coverage. You can see the latest results of our testing here

Powerbase field trip

hey folks,

The Progressive Technology Project (PTP) has a pilot project running using Powerbase, an enhanced version of CiviCRM for base-building community organizing groups. I am responsible for two of the four sites, a community group in Oakland and one in San Diego. I did a site visit last week and wanted to share some of the feedback I received with the community here. As PTP further develops this database project, we hope to keep contributing to CiviCRM and we thought sharing what comes up could be one way for us to do that.

3.1 Alpha Release

The team is excited to announce that the first ALPHA release of version 3.1 is now available for download. You can also try it out on our sandbox site. Please remember this is an ALPHA release and it should NOT be used on production sites.

This release includes several major new features:

  • Contact Subtypes - Extend (and / or rename) the built-in contact types and create custom fields specific to a subtype (e.g. Staff vs. Volunteer custom fields). Thanks to the folks at Alpha International for sponsoring this much-requested feature (learn more...).
  • HTML Emails for Receipts, Event Confirmations and more - Templates for all system-generated emails are now stored in the database and editable by administrators. You can easily add styles, logos and more to your emails.
  • HTML layout overhaul for online contribution pages - Phase 1 in efforts to make front-end CiviCRM pages much easier to style / modify via CSS (learn more...). Thanks to Kyle Jaster and the folks at
  • Usability improvements - Streamlined DATE input and list sorting widgets. Prevent users from losing work by alerting them if they try to navigate away from a form with unsaved changes.
  • Support for price sets in Contribution - Allows the admin the flexibility to incorporate the more complex contribution options (e.g. "Contribute $25 more to receive our monthly magazine.").
... and lots of other improvements. Check out the 3.1 Roadmap for a good overview. Or you can review a compete listing of new features, improvements and bug fixes on the issue tracker.

First EU developer camp

Hi all,

Following the success of the UK developer camp and meetup this summer, Michael, the Polish team of CiviCRM (Michał and Piotr) and myself have been discussing about organising one in Brussels.

We have chosen to organise it just before or after FOSDEM, that will happen this year on the 6th and 7th of February 2010.

This event is an opportunity where CiviCRM developers, administrator and users from the UK and Europe can get together around CiviCRM – and we’d like you to tell us what you want to see at the camp.

One click PayPal donations with CiviCRM

Creative Commons has been using CiviCRM for several years. A number of months ago we decided that for our annual fundraising campaign we wanted to streamline the donation process, possibly reducing it to a single click on the CC site.. About a month ago we launched our annual campaign along with a one-click donation process.

The process required a bit of custom coding, but fortunately very few changes to core CiviCRM code. Some of the main benefits of this method are:

    Loading data into CiviCRM for a Dutch Housing Corporation

    We started a project with a Dutch Housing Corporation called 'De Goede Woning' 2 months ago. They use CiviCRM to get a grip on their requirements towards a CRM-package. It is very possible that they will use CiviCRM after the project, but the objective is to understand what CRM means and what is needed for their specific situation. We use bog-standard CiviCRM (version 3.02 on Drupal 6.14 with the Dutch translation) with CiviCase. If you want to know more about the project, let me know! I love telling stories about our projects :-)

    Canvass and Phonebank

    Introduction: The Need

    Progressive Technology Project (PTP) supports grassroots community organizing groups nationwide that engage in social, economic and environmental justice efforts to empower low-income people and communities of color. These groups conduct phone banking and field canvassing as an integral part of their base-building and voter engagement strategies to engage existing and new constituents. PTP hired DharmaTech to help them build PowerBase: a customized CiviCRM for use by community organizing groups.

    PowerBase helps groups manage the following data related to phonebanking and field canvassing work:

    • voter info, history, and demographics
    • reason why the phonebank or canvass is taking place
    • responses to questions asked during the phonebank or canvass
    • phonebank or canvass status
    • primary language spoken