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In Mid-April, 2008, I was asked to help out Fair Vote Canada convert their legacy client relationship tool of Excel-spreadsheets to CiviCRM. Below appears the basic outline of the task, followed by a link to a more complete, detailed log of my work.

Fair Vote Canada is a small NGO, has been around for about 7 years, and is a public interest lobby group for proportional representation-type voting systems in Canada. If you care about democracy, then they're worth supporting. One thing I find particularly interesting and important is that they're cross-party. Obviously, depending on whether they're in power or not, parties have a very biased opinion about proportional representation, and regardless of their statements of principles, that's not going to change with any changes of government, since parties exist to win power, or they don't last long. So Fair Vote Canada decided early on to be strictly non-partisan, and they have some energetic and high-profile supporters from across the political spectrum.

On the technical side of things, they've had a Drupal sitefor a while, but were still using Excel spreadsheets to manage their relationships with their members (about 3000 of them), which was getting unwieldy and time-consuming.

They had tried to setup CiviCRM and import the data earlier this year, but the import had been done as if CiviCRM was a custom relational database (like the thousands of FoxPro/Filemaker desktop installs out there) - so it wasn't very useful. For example, donations and householding stuff were imported as custom fields. The installation did have some customization (fields, profiles) that needed to be kept, but the data was all considered suspect.

Full story at

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