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I wanted to share with this community my experience with CiviCRM. I currently support a Christian community that is using CiviCRM, as of now, only a group of "admins" are responsible for maintaining the database, the idea is to use more features from CiviCRM, integrate it with Drupal and make it available to all members and visitors to register to our events, contribute, etc. We are currently using the following features:
We have registered all regular members and we are in the process of registering all visitors in our events. Our database contains approximately 5000 contacts. The main idea is identify visitors and track how often they visit us in order to address different needs they may have. By collecting all this data, we expect to provide information to multiple groups and volunteers as they interact with all these people in multiple ways such as email, phone calls or mailing. CiviCRM seems to be very flexible as we create custom fields to handle our specific requirements.
This feature is not fully operational due to my lack of time to dedicate and understand some of the setup. I has been used already to small groups but not yet for more than 50 emails at once. The tracking feature seems to be useful but we are not there yet.
This module is interesting but yet we are in the early stages of using it. As our events have a limited number of seats, this module will be critical to us to have a smart reservation system to control who would participate on it. That's where I see the need of improvements, for generating identification badges, generating tickets/tokens, etc. So we can effectively control who attends to events.
We are currently managing contributions offline, this is one of the next module we are planning to implement. As far as I can tell, this has pretty much everything we need in order to get started.
Online transactions
As we are based out of Brazil, I haven't yet investigated if there is any available option to integrate CiviCRM to existing payment processors. This is something we are going to consider in the near future specially because we intend to integrate online contributions, paid events and a regular shop to our website.
Overall impression
At first, CiviCRM can be challenging if you try to simply run the setup and start using it (that's how I usually do things, sometimes it's good sometimes it isn't). If you have a previous experience with any other CRM such as or, that may be easier for you to get yourself up to speed. Otherwise, there is a good support community where you can find not only documentation, how-tos, etc but also online tutorials/webcast (like a recorded session) explaining you how to do things. That is pretty straightforward for beginners. Another aspect to consider is in many cases, the person who will evaluate CiviCRM may not be a system's expert, and with a limited to none budget at all, having this type of support is really good.
When I first used CiviCRM it was on version 1.8 already so even though it is a short time, I can see how active this community is in order to produce good stuff.
One thing I miss in CiviCRM is the ability to run reports to track things like: How many calls were registered, what is the duration of each call, average duration of all phone calls, who are the active callers, top contributors, top organizations per donation, number of members, etc... so we can find a way to better track campaigns.
Wish List
My wish list is posted here...
Technical Information
Hosting: Shared hosting
Environemnt: LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP)
CMS: Drupal 5.7
CiviCRM: 1.9.13019
Country: Brazil
Language: English (planning to use Brazilian localization, not sure yet how consistent that is)

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