I discovered CiviCRM this past Tuesday at The Social Impact Meetup at CSI [The Centre for Social Innnovation]. What makes CiviCRM compelling is that it is a complete Customer Relationship Management system integrated well with some of the most popular CMS software – Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress.
CMS systems have taken off in the past 10 years with 34% of the World’s websites being powered by either Drupal, Joomla or WordPress. In the last 3 years all of the CMS systems have worked to expand their connectivity to major software systems as part of their SaaS offerings.
For example, WordPress as the most popular CMS with 50% marketshare has added REST API capabilities to the existing Ajax API and XMLRPC connectivity options. Now more Integrators are offering WordPress-based SaaS solutions.
This trend is of particular interest to Governments, NGOs, and Civic Organizations where there is the need to foster connectivity and system support to their constituents. These organizations are looking to link various Open Source software with their WordPress or other CMS systems.
Open Source CiviCRM turns out to be a most telling example of this type of integration. CiviCRM’s provides a basic core set of services for an NGO such as contacts, relationships, activities, groups of constituents , activity tags and roles/permissions for its members. Administration components help keep track of contributors (CiviContribute), events (CiviEvent), member lists (CiviMember), cases (CiviCase), grants (CiviGrant), campaigns (CiviCampaign), petitions (CiviPetition), various mailing campaigns(CiviMail) . The CiviReports and associated dashboards allow an organization management team to keep abreast of all the key performance areas within the organization.
Whats In the WordPress CiviCRM
First it is important to note that CiviCRM has extensive documentation of its core services along with an excellent guide to integration with WordPress:
Now CiviCRM provides interfaces for two major users – Constituents or Clients and Managers/Administrators. The following Accordion shows the how CiviCRM serves these two groups.
The Lineup of CiviCRM Features
Documentation and Support
A danger in using Open Source systems is that the documentation to some OS systems can be of mixed caliber. Not so in the case of CivicCRM which takes a 4 pronged approach to support and document its system. First there is a great introductory landing page that describes the key features and benefits. Second, CiviCRM has a great set of online demos which show off various standalone features and another set demo-ing ech of the CMS integrations. Third, the documentation is not only thorough but also available in French as well. Fourth, CiviCRM has a Find an Expert service which highlights organizations that are contributors, partners and sponsors to CiviCRM and can offer consulting services.