Wednesday 24 February was CiviDay, an annual celebration of CiviCRM around the world. Being in Australia, we got to celebrate a little earlier than Europe and the USA.
Local CiviCRM users Communities@Work hosted the Canberra gathering, with a nice view of Lake Tuggeranong and very welcome air conditioning! Wish I’d taken a photo, it was a nice view out the windows. Thanks to Luis and the Communities@Work team for making us feel welcome!
CiviCRM has come a long way as the most flexible CRM designed specifically for the community sector.
There are 10,658 active installations worldwide. While more than 5,000 of these are in the USA, there are growing numbers of CiviCRM installations in Australia (currently 427 that civicrm.org knows about). It was interesting to see Afghanistan made it onto the map with 8 installation, 11 in Indonesia, and 1 in Iceland. The more diversity we have in places where CiviCRM is used, the more diversity we’ll have in ideas coming from the developer community supporting the code. That means stronger security and innovative solutions to technical problems.
The majority of CiviCRM installations are integrated with Drupal 7 websites, with WordPress not far behind. One of the nice things about CiviCRM is that it integrates neatly with Drupal, WordPress, or Joomla, which means the design and functionality of your website is not restricted by the CRM it integrates with. This flexibility is an important difference between CiviCRM and a CMS-and-CRM-in-one solution.
We also talked about the diversity in size of CiviCRM installations. There are 95 CiviCRM installations worldwide that have more than 250,000 contacts in their database, demonstrating CiviCRM’s scalability. The majority of CiviCRM installations have fewer than 10,000 contacts. Having worked with CiviCRM for several years now, Agileware have optimised the servers hosting our customer’s CiviCRM installations to give better performance, but it’s a good idea to revisit your CiviCRM configuration as your database of contacts grows, to ensure the best performance.
A small group of CiviCRM users and organisations thinking about implementing a CRM took a closer look at the new features in CiviCRM version 4.7.
Admin Status Page
Drupal’s got one, and now CiviCRM has one too. The admin status page is of interest to CiviCRM administrators and developers, with a quick view of what needs attention. If there is an extension update or core CiviCRM software update, there’s a link provided to get it done fast. The things that the admin status page shows are really only of interest to developers and sysadmins who have to look after your CiviCRM installation, but people were quite interested to see what kind of things we have to deal with at Agileware (like making sure extensions are up to date, cron is running etc).
Seems like duplicate contacts are the bane of everyone’s existence. I feel your pain! A lot of the duplicates are created when people register themselves for events using a different name or email address to what’s already in CiviCRM. Updating the existing record instead of creating a duplicate when there’s a partial match is not a great idea, because it means PA’s who register multiple people from their organisation will just update their own CiviCRM contact with someone else’s name, for example. So the smart solution is to allow the duplicates to be created, but have a better deduplication process to find and merge bulk quantities of contacts. This video might be interested for people who spend a lot of time deduping their database:
There are some new report templates, and changes to some of the more popular reports, to make them even more useful. For example, the Contribution Summary report now includes the mean, median, and mode contributions in the totals at the bottom of the page. Combine these stats with filters, say to only look at donations through the website, and you have useful information to target messaging to your contacts asking them to give just a little more than the usual so you can hit a fundraising goal. Or filter the report to only show contributions during particular time periods so you can identify which time of year people are feeling most generous.
The new Activity Summary report will be handy for managers trying to work out if the time spent on particular types of activity has good ROI. This report shows the number of minutes spent on various activities. Combine this with filters such as the Campaign activities are related to, or a period of time where you’ve just measured an increase in donations or new members joining, and you’ll have a useful correlation between how long staff spend on an activity and the financial or membership result you’re looking for. Remember, a report is only as good as the data entered – so if users aren’t entering anything in the Duration field when they record activities, there’s nothing to report.
WYSIWYG rich text editor
The rich text editor (aka WYSIWYG editor) that is used to enter an Event Description is now CKEditor, the same as used by most Drupal websites. In practical terms, this means that the ability to change the font, font size, and text colours has disappeared from the editor – great for organisations who don’t want their content authors creating CiviCRM pages that conflict with the styling on their websites.
For organisations who need more control over the styling in their rich text editor, it is now easier to replace the default editor with something different – so if you really like creating Event pages with red text on a black background, we can enable that for you in version 4.7.
The Agileware office is located in Canberra, providing services locally and around the world. Talk to us today and we'll help you find a solution that works for your organisation.