Partners in open source: Contributing back to CiviCRM
Cividesk values the opportunity to support open source initiatives, partly because giving back is a cornerstone of our company culture, but also because we all benefit so much from open source software. Therefore, it is important to us to advocate for more community participation and collaboration to work on maintaining and improving CiviCRM. So, is it worth it to contribute time and effort to CiviCRM? Yes. 100%. And absolutely. Not only does it benefit us, but it also benefits our clients and so many other nonprofits worldwide.
How do we contribute back to CiviCRM? Let us count the ways!
1. Report and fix bugs
More users means more bug reports. At Cividesk, we have a wide range of customers who use different parts of the software for their specific needs. It also means we get to work with a vast range of functionality that the CRM provides. Reporting bugs is a way to help developers and make it easier for them to repair the issue. Developers need to know step by step what we did before encountering the bug, how the malfunction exactly happened, what other extensions/plugins run at the same time, etc. Uncovering and fixing bugs regularly contributes to the improvement of the software.
2. Contribute new features
All of the new or customized features that are requested by Cividesk customers and that qualify to be generic enough to benefit the CRM are contributed back to CiviCRM to be implemented for all users. We also like to hear from other developers and incorporate their feedback so that the best possible generic solution is pushed back into the software.
3. Review patches
CiviCRM works through the generosity of its users and the organizations that employ them. When someone opens a pull request on CiviCRM Core, it must be reviewed before we can merge it. We engage in reviewing core PRs which is a useful and much-needed way of contributing to CiviCRM.
4. Improve extensions
We have also contributed to patches/bug fixes and improvements to various extensions, most recently CiviVolunteer, which benefits all CiviCRM users.
5. Contribute to translation
CiviCRM can be operated in many different languages! We work on making sure the strings in the CRM are translated and make sense when native language is not English (for our non-English speaking customers).
6. Involved in conferences/civicamps/sprints
Cividesk is based out of Denver, CO and we organize and host a CiviCamp each year to help bring awareness to area nonprofits about the benefits of CiviCRM. We also take advantage of other opportunities to present at or be a part of conferences, sprints, and other similar gatherings to show our support of CiviCRM and share our knowledge for the benefit of nonprofits, whether they are new, considering or experienced users of CiviCRM. Such conferences include NTEN, Drupal Camp, other CiviCamps (Bay Area, Calgary, and more), Sprints.
7. Provide case studies
Civicrm.org hosts a large variety of case studies which exemplify the success (and sometimes challenges) of organizations who have been successful with the implementation of CiviCRM in their nonprofit. Cividesk has contributed many case studies to this bank of information that can be a very helpful resource for organizations looking to learn more about CiviCRM and to read about real-life implementations.
As opportunities arise, we find more and more ways to contribute and to collaborate with the developers of CiviCRM. This list is just the beginning! Every month we make a conscious effort to contribute back to CiviCRM in one way or the other. Over the past year, Cividesk is proud to have contributed 45 to 60 hours per month to CiviCRM's open source initiatives!