This documentation relates to CiviCRM version 2.2. It's not maintained anymore.
Current version of documentation.

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NTEN Webinar Chat Transcript (April 2008)

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CiviCRM 2.2 Documentation

Support and Participation

Developer Resources

  • Internationalization: Is it fully ready so that each user can use it in its own language and other localization parameters?
    • There is support for internationalization at the code level in CiviCRM core.
    • Translations are coordinated and contributed by the community. You can check the status of a specific transalation at http://translations.civicrm.org/
    • CiviCRM v2.0 is uni-lingual. i.e. One instance operates in only one language. There are a few hacks to make CiviCRM multi-lingual for a few pages. Amnesty International uses a modified version with these hacks (specifically the profile / online contribution pages are multilingual)
  • Do I understand that CiviCRM can use dbs like Access w/o importing data into its MySQL tables? If so, can it update such 'external' databases?
    • CiviCRM core does not access external databases. You can build custom pages within CiviCRM / PHP and access those tables and link them into CiviCRM using civicrm hooks
  • We work in two official languages, and have to have groups divided, ex: newsletter French, newsletter English, for civiMail.
    • You can do the above (for the most part). You might need to apply some multi-lingual hacks to ensure that the French newsletter does not have any english text
  • Can a contact be in more than one group at a time?
    • yes, a contact can belong to multiple groups at the same time.
  • Does the mapping functionality rely on the Drupal Location module?
    • No - we integrate w/ either Google or Yahoo mapping APIs for both map rendering and geo-coding of contact addresses.
  • It may be easier to make Smart groups compatible with civiMail, can this be done?
    • You can send a mailing in CiviMail to a smart group
  • For the groups, is it possible to get a report within each group ie. donors over 5000 etc
    • You can create a smart group to include all donors who have given more than 5000. Note that this is an individual donation, not cumulative.
    • You can create a custom search component that can give you a listing of all donors that have donated more than a certain amount over a given time range. This is included as an example in CiviCRM v2.0
  • Smart Groups: Can exclude criteria be set, as well as include criteria?
    • No, However you can create a custom search component that uses a combination of exclude and include criteria
  • I suspect most if not all on call are interested in what makes CiviCRM a good choice over other CRMs....For example, how does it compare to Groundspring's Donor Mgt Suite?
    • CiviCRM is open source and has a pretty robust community behind it
    • CiviCRM integrates seamlessly with open source CMS (Drupal/Joomla)
    • You can extend / customize CiviCRM since you control the code / data
    • CiviCRM has an open development process
    • CiviCRM is not a hosted solution
  • Drupal 5 or 6 compatible?
    • 2.0 supports drupal 5 only, 2.1 will only support Drupal 6
  • We have over 2K members. Each is one or more subgroups — commissions, committees, board, etc. Some change annually. Can we easily assign members to multiple subgroups and using Drupal pull informatio out of the db to publish commission, commitee, etc. lists with emails, postal addresses, etc. as needed
    • Yes, you should be able to do most of the above using the profiles feature in CiviCRM
  • i don't think of civicrm as a publishing system so how does a CiviEvent get published to a public page?
    • we have a simple event info page that you can customize. we also expose all information using RSS and iCal
  • For the event management feature, can people buy tickets using their credit card?
    • Yes, CiviEvent has the ability to charge people to register for an event at various levels.
  • Speaking of email - is there much functionality for postal mailings?
    • We have support to generate mailing labels for contacts. You can also do a CSV export of your contact data and use the mail-merge feature of your favorite word processor.
  • can we add people to our newsletter mailing list using only their email address? we had a database crash and have lost a great deal of contact info, but had email addresses seperate
    • Yes, you can import just the email address and CiviCRM will create a contact
  • Is CiviMail adaptable to manage listserv subscriptions? Is there a straight forward way to link civimail to these other list manager products? We use L-Soft's listserv.
  • does the Grant module track incoming as well as outgoing Grants?
    • currently its more for outgoing grants by default. we are making changes to make this more configurable. this came off from a custom client project
  • Can the data be published to multiple pages? i.e. one page that list recent donors and another page that is a searchable directory of vendors?
    • Yes, you can do this via the profile functionality in CiviCRM. You can also control which profiles are shown to which group of users using ACL's
  • when changes are made to a contact record does it record who made the change and timestamp it? can an email alert be sent to someone when changes are made?
    • right now we just store the date and time and who changed a record
    • we dont store the changes, but some folks in the community are more interested in this and i suspect we'll address it in a future release. I think we can accomplish most of this in a very generic way using MySQL triggers
  • Is there a common calendar module?
    • for drupal there is the drupal calendar module which we integrate with via iCal. for Joomla, there is JCalendar.
  • What type of maintenance issues come up with CiviCRM?
    • we have a release early release often philosophy, so we release 3-4 versions per year, which makes it hard for folks to keep up
    • but you dont need to upgrade unless you need a specific feature or a set of bug fixes
    • we support the latest released version only
  • Can you talk about the difficulty of initial confiugration? I've installed it a couple of times and often get the yellow background , non-recoverable error screens.
    • This question is best answered on the forums. You will need to be more specific with regard to the error message. CiviCRM v1.7 and later had an automated installer for Drupal which has simplified installation a lot. The Joomla component used Joomla's built in install mechanism.
  • For registering for a new account, how does the system check to see if a record for that person is already in the database? If a duplicate gets added, is there a "merge 2 records together" function built-in to clean these up?
    • we use the email address as the unique key between the user db and contact db
    • there are dedupe features in 2.0 and the ability to merge two contacts (though this is not exposed explicitly)
    • dedupe is getting a significant upgrade in 2.1, i.e. it will be much more efficient and scale for medium to large sized db's
  • Can a branch collect credit card donations on paper, then enter them, or can only individuals logged in donate by credit card?
    • they can do so if you are using a valid payment processor
    • like paypal pro, authorize.net etc (i.e. ones that you can send a credit card number over https etc)
    • paypal standard/google checkout does not work in these cases
  • Membership - I assume one person can have multiple memberships. Correct?
    • Yes
  • Do you differentiate between pay by check and pay by purchase order? Regonline does and we find that feature very useful. Check tells us a check is on the way and Purchase Order tells us that a PO is on the way instead, so we know what to track for or expect to receive.
    • No, but you should be able to do the above using the Pay Later feature and a custom field to indicate that the pay later payment is a PO
  • Is there any ability to track family or other relationships?
    • yes, there is a household feature and a pretty good relationship model
  • Does directory have ability to search within a zip code radius? We use this for our church locator.
    • Yes, there is a custom search component that we added to 2.1 that does proximity searching.
  • Are there any known migration cases of extensive data and functionality migration from Convio, Kintera, Raiser's Edge ?
    • No, but there have been a few inquiries on this on the forums
  • Anything in the works for flexible reporting - BIRT or other?
    • We have released a few sample reports for BIRT. However BIRT does not seem to have caught on with our users (as yet)
  • I think associations like us who do many events have slightly different requirements than other non-profits – also being an educational association too. it's very easy just to add a field for pay by purchase order and one field to
    optionally let user enter PO at time of "purchase"
    • would be great for you to jump on forums and see what we need to do to match your association needs
  • if I start with standalone, can I later move CiviCRM under Joomla w/o major grief?
    • Yes
  • One other question I have is whether anyone is using Elgg with Drupal/CiviCRM? We're using yourmembership for social networking but again would like one integrated system (one database)
    • We are not aware of any integration between Elgg and CiviCRM
  • What we need is membership database with CRM and AMS (Assoc Mgmt SW) plus event registration, listservs, forums/blogs and other social networking features (profiles, photos, calendar, etc.)
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