CiviCRM Overview

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facilitated by Dave Greenberg

About CiviCRM

  • CiviCRM is an open source CRM (Constitute/Customer Relationship Management) platform.
  • CiviCRM was developed specifically with nonprofit/social change organizations in mind, as opposed to business-driven CRMs like Salesform.
  • Used in 8000?9000 sites worldwide, in several different languages.
  • First developed to handle donations, then email blasts. From there, it was about consolidating silos into one integrated system.
  • How you use the platform is more important than which platform you use.
  • Is modular; you don't have to use all functions, and can add more over time.
  • Is scalable (some hosts specialize in Civi).
  • Is self-hosted, as opposed to hosted systems like Salesforce or Convio
  • Works in conjunction with popular open-source CMSes (Content Management Systems).
  • Allows user accounts to integrate with CMS users; benefits include repeat transactions and recurring donations).
  • Is extensible with third-party extensions
  • Most people who use Civi use it as a donor database
  • Many different kinds of report are available by default; more are available with extensions.
  • Lets you track relationships between constituents.
  • Lists all interactions between a constituent and your org (emails sent, events attended, donations, etc) with notations.
  • "Groups": static groups, which you create; and smart groups, which are saved search (e.g. donors who have given more than $x, or live in a given area).
  • Soft Credits. Soft credits might go to a board member who brought in donors, as well as their hard credits. Can soft credit multiple people. Phase Two will include soft credit types.

Challenges

  • Getting your coworkers to actually use the system. It helps to see the benefits of the system.
  • People might see their individual contacts as capital, which they're hesitant to relinquish. It helps to explain that sharing creates institutional memory.
  • A security certificate is useful, but not strictly necessary. This is an ongoing conversation in the community. CiviCRM does not store credit card info.

Other Things to Think About

  • About open source: CiviCRM is open source and free (as in free kittens, not free as in free beer). It depends on a community of users and developers to share their work and keep the project going; uses collaboration between different groups to develop tools that are useful to all.

Learn more at civicrm.org

  • Online book
  • Ambassador program
  • Public demo
  • Newsletter
  • Meetups