CiviCRM - A great development for non-profits...
A couple of weeks ago I took part in the UK CiviCRM Developer Camp in London. It isn't until recently that we started using and implementing CiviCRM, a Constituent Relationship Management system into our sites, but a couple of clients were asking for something similar and so we gave it a go. I had tried it a couple of years ago on an early drupal 4.7 install and in honesty, I found it a difficult project to understand and with a development community that was somewhat in it's infancy. But things have changed...
CiviCRM offers a huge amount of very useful out-of-the-box functionality that make it feel like a very developed, stable and easy to use system. It's open source, which means that to download and install it costs nothing but a credit at the bottom of each page and it now has a strong community of developers behind it that appears to be continuously growing. However for us there are two key selling points for choosing CiviCRM over competitors:
- CiviCRM is developed specifically for the Non-profit and Charity sector and has a number of great sector-specific features like managing grants, contributions, events and membership.
- CiviCRM integrates well with Drupal, our Content Management System of choice for many of our customers
The developer camp was a great event that saw a number of leading developers and teams joining together to discuss the past, current and future of the open source development as well as giving us all a chance to really learn from each other, and a number of the core development team. Donald Lobo, founder of the project, flew over from the US to join us and shared his knowledge with everyone but was also very open to receiving feedback, ideas and suggestions for future moves.
We gained a real insight into the inner workings of the code, its implementations and the community which will help us to share this with our clients, future and present.
Big thanks has to go out to the organisers (particularly Michael McAndrew) for their hospitality and hard work and we're looking forward to a future with CiviCRM. For more information please don't hesitate to contact us or visit the CiviCRM website at http://www.civicrm.org.