CiviCRM Tips and Tricks

Use with Caution: Membership Status Override

Membership status is normally assigned and updated automatically based on your configured membership status rules, and, as explained in "Data Hygiene: Keep your Membership Data Up to Date", the key to maintaining accurate membership data (or any data for that matter), is to limit the amount of data that needs to be manually keyed into the system.
CiviCRM, however, provides users with an option to manually override the status of a membership record with the Status Override check box. It can be sometime useful to force a membership status to a specific value. For example, if you want to make the distinction between members that have not renewed theit membership yet versus members that explicitely communicated with your organization that they don't want to renew their membership.

Think outside the box with CiviCRM: Innovative idea #8

Use checksum token to update an event registration by someone else than the registrant

Let's say that you are organizing an event where registrants must ask a sponsor to support their application in order to get it accepted and become a participant. But how can you collect the sponsor’s feedback and still link it to the applicant?

One of our customers reached out to us for assistance with the configuration of their conference where students were required to provide the recommendation of a teacher to sponsor their application to a multi-day conference. Until now, they were collecting the data on different contacts:

  • the student registration is recorded with the student contact
  • the teacher’s recommendation is recorded with the teacher contact

but the only way to link a student with his/her teacher’s recommendation is to compile the two different lists of contacts.

We suggested a different approach which would allow collecting the teacher’s comments directly with the student contact record. This would be possible with the use of the checksum token.

 

Think outside the box with CiviCRM: Innovative idea #7

Allow registration status for "Not attending"

An organization holds regular committee meetings using CiviEvent to track the participants. To make sure the committee members register in advance so that meeting plans can be made accordingly, the organization sends several reminders prior to the event. 

But some members would like to be able to express their intention to not attend the event so they don't receive reminders for the event anymore.

Data Hygiene: Keep your Financial Data Accurate

In "Data Hygiene: How to Keep Data Clean and Healthy!", we spoke in general terms of the basic steps you need to take to keep your data clean and healthy. In this blog post, we focus on keeping financial data accurate. 

Non-profit organizations are under intense financial scrutiny - they must show accountability through the willingness to explain actions to stakeholders, and must be transparent by publishing critical financial data about the organization. These two tasks, however, can become exceedingly difficult if multiple systems are used to track financial information without regular reconciliation. Luckily, CiviCRM has an Accounting Batch feature that allows you to avoid manually re-keying financial data into your accounting software. 

Think outside the box with CiviCRM: Innovative idea #6

Donation levels can assign voting rights

You might consider CiviMember to be simply a tool that allows people to join and/or sponsor your organization, but it can actually be used in many different ways. We talked previously about using membership tools to track sponsors helping kids go to school. Here is another clever way memberships can be used:

This organization collects donations from individuals to finance local projects. Donors can donate individually or as part of a group and their donation contributes to the group's overal donation. Every time a donor (individual or group) donates a certain amount, they are awarded a voting right to help decide which projects will be funded at the end of the year. In other words, someone who donates multiple times the voting threshold over the course of a year will receive as many voting rights! 

Think outside the box with CiviCRM: Innovative idea #5

One registration. One payment. Multiple events!

What would you say if we told you that CiviCRM can be configured to manage multi-day or multi-event registrations and payments for a single contact? It's true! Here's how we configured CiviCRM to manage an organization annual fundraiser by creating a way for their members to register for multiple events during a single-day event. But you might be thinking that, as far as you know, CiviCRM only allows participants to register and pay for one event at a time. So how did they do it?

Data Hygiene: How to Keep Data Clean and Healthy!

Your CiviCRM database is the central hub of your nonprofit's fundraising efforts, membership and contact management, event organization and other important ongoing initiatives. Because of its integral role in your organization, your database requires ongoing maintenance to ensure optimum performance. With nonprofit constituent mobility and employee turnover at an all-time high, data can quickly become messy and stale when data entry procedures for the organization are not properly regulated. 

To ensure consistent data entry by all users, every organization (even those run by a single person) should have a DES1 (Data Entry Standards) document that clearly outlines what information the organization aims to maintain and how it is entered in the database. 

Think outside the box with CiviCRM: Innovative idea #4

Use “Campaigns” to manage trade missions

Most people use CiviCampaign as a tool to manage fundraising or advocacy campaigns because CiviCampaign is one of the transversal components of CiviCRM that allows you to link together events, activities, mailings and contributions under one umbrella in order to track progress toward a goal. So if you think outside the box, there are other uses for CiviCampaign and some are more business oriented. This post describes how an international trade association uses CiviCampaign to manage trade missions.

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