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Thursday, July 12, 2007


I've talked about the need for DECs to have websites, and what good ones can do. However, I want to plug a particular peice of the website puzzle which I've only linked to in the past: CiviCRM.

CiviCRM is really only for DECs that have people who are techies. I say that because CiviCRM is a pretty complex package to install and use. However, once you have it, I think its a really great tool.

CiviCRM is a "Constituent relationship module" (thus the CRM part), that is, its a huge database with all kinds of customizable features that you can tailor to your DEC's needs. CiviCRM is made up of the four major components:

CiviMember: This module is geared towards tracking individual members, including their contact information, what they volunteer for (and their volunteer preferences), when they contribute and what they contribute to.

CiviContribute: This module is built for accepting online contributions (you choose which service you want to handle the transactions: PayPal, etc...), both in lump sum and recurring forms. The best thing is that you can create custom fundraising campaigns, complete with thermometer (you know you love those.)

CiviMail: CiviMail gives you the ability to send customized mass emails to targeted groups, which you can establish through CiviMember.

CiviEvents: Create your own events, send invites to people, and manage RSVPs. I think you can set it all up so when someone RSVPs for an event, that it shows in their profile through CiviMember.

Once again, you can learn all about it here. I know there are those who will say, can't VAN do all of this? Not really. You kinda need both, which I know is heresy to database people. VAN is great for GITV and GOTV, while CiviCRM is better suited for managing activist information. There's certainly some crossover.


Jennifer said...

I work in the public sector and for better or worse it's predominantly a Microsoft environment. Our DEC has access to lots of techies, but few that work on an Apache server running Linux and programming in PHP/MySQL. I wonder what other options are available out there.

Jennifer said...

Aside from me whining that I don't get to play with the kewl toys because MS pays my rent, wouldn't it be neat if we could get someone from to come speak at the State Convention? Speaking of which, we're hoping to have you there as well.

Ray Seaman said...

Civic Actions looks like a really great company, doing a lot of the things we're doing in Marion right now. Of course, "consulting" has become a bit of a dirty word around Democratic circles. Also, DECs lack any kind of funds to get consulting of any kind, particularly consulting for a website.

It would still be great to have them at the convention, though, as I and possibly other would be interested in what they have to offer.

I've signed up to be a delegate, but of course, money is an issue (again.) Hopefully I'll have things moving better before the convention.

Jennifer said...

For the Netroots part of it, I think it'll be open for free and definately free to you if you'd be willing to speak on the work you're doing in Marion.