Power of CiviCRM: Beyond Silos, Spreadsheets & Proprietary CRMs

Ginkgo Street Labs recently hosted a webinar on the ‘Power of CiviCRM’, to talk about how organizations of all sizes are using this open-source software to solve a variety of challenges. Constituent Relationship Management (CRM), as defined by Idealware, is “the set of processes and supporting technologies used to acquire, retain and enhance constituent relationships.” CiviCRM is different from other CRMs because it is open-source, meaning there are no licensing or user fees, it is built specifically for nonprofits, and it is constantly being nurtured and improved by the community of users and developers.

 We were joined by Dave Greenberg, one of the founding members of the CiviCRM core team, who talked about the vision, ten years ago, when creating CiviCRM. “What we wanted was to build a tool, from the ground up, that would be tailored for civic and social organizations of any size,” he said.  At the time, virtually all other CRM tools available were built to help businesses reach customers. Nonprofits were left using a variety of tools to meet their needs, which created data silos--the fundraising team was using one proprietary software, communications had another, and volunteer coordinators had spreadsheets.

 CiviCRM unifies all of these functions and more in one database, allowing for integration with other systems and customization to organizations’ needs--although many use it as is without customizing it. Over the years, CiviCRM has evolved to do more and more, thanks to the large, committed community of developers and users. One of the ways CiviCRM keeps pace with the demand for new developments is by hosting ‘code sprints’ that bring developers together to build new features and test usability while also networking and making connections.

 CiviCRM is used by over 10,000 nonprofits worldwide, including Amnesty International, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and UNESCO. It works with the open-source Content Management System (CMS) tools most used by nonprofits: Drupal, Joomla and Wordpress. On the webinar, we discussed how nonprofits are using the platform to solve important organizational challenges. For instance, Doctors Without Borders uses CiviCRM to send targeted emails to members in different countries, and Ecology Action Center uses it to help track and renew membership using automation.

If you missed the webinar, you can check out the presentation on slideshare. To learn more about what CiviCRM can do for your organization, try out the demo or sign up for a training. Ginkgo Street Labs can help you customize or upgrade your organization’s instance of CiviCRM, and we now offer hosting and support services for your organization’s ease and peace of mind. Send us an email at inquire@ginkgostreet.com for more information or to get started with CiviCRM.