CiviCRM in Action

We definitely walk our talk when it comes to the technologies we teach here. The labs website is a WordPress site and we manage our contacts with CiviCRM. Here is a real world example of how Civi gets used.

Org-Specific Activities

If you recall this post on activities, any kind of interaction between your org and an individual that occured at a definite point in time is an Activity. Every org has different needs, so every org must make its own Activities.

Here at Everett, we want to gather information on lots of different orgs so that we can refer students to them for partnership. Recently, we started compiling what we call the “Binder Full of Orgs”. When come across a new org or a new org comes across us, we send them a MS Word template for them to complete using their information. When they get those back to us, we print it out and add it to the others. In a less intentional org, that might be the end of it, but there’s more to be done. Let’s look at the whole process.

Binder Full of Orgs – Sent/Returned

We created the custom Activity called “Binder Full of Orgs – Sent” to keep track of who and when we sent templates to. There’s a contact from a certain local nonprofit, we’ll call her Pilar, who we sent a blank template to after meeting her at the Blumn Center Launch Event back in February. After emailing her the template, we hopped on over to Civi and pulled up Pilar’s contact page and went to the Activities tab. We clicked New Activity button and chose Binder Full of Orgs - Sent from the drop down.



After about 4 weeks, we got an email from Pilar with a completed copy of the Binder Full of Orgs Sheet. Naturally, we wanted to record this so we went back to her Activities tab and added the Activity, Binder Full of Orgs - Returned. We now had a record of a completed cycle of sending out a blank partner template and receiving a filled out one. But there was more to this interaction.


At the same time that she returned the template, she asked when we were free and we scheduled a meeting. We logged that into her contact as another activity. After we’d had our meeting, I pasted my notes into the Details section just so someone else on the team wanted to see.

Follow Up

During the meeting, we made plans to invite Pilar to come and speak to the class in the Fall. That’s far off and isn’t the kind of task that would workin into our task managers and our shared calendar system is kinda whack right now. Luckily, CiviCRM allows for a follow up system. While editing the Meeting Activity, you can scroll down to the bottom and choose a time to do a follow up and assign that to a team member. In this case, we chose the custom Activity, “Invitation to Speak”, and set the follow up reminder for the first Monday in August.



Don’t Lose Track

There you have it. We have here the beginning of a beautiful and productive relationship. And we have a complete record!

An org that doesn’t keep track of what it’s doing is an org in disarray. Opportunities are missed, connections are not made, and progress towards goals are stymied. You must cultivate intentional usage of technologies that allow your org to stay on top of things.