Think outside the box with CiviCRM: Innovative idea #3

Use Activities to manage your workflows

You may have heard of CiviCase which allows you to handle complex workflows in CiviCRM. This is a powerful tool but can be difficult to configure properly.
What if you have a simple workflow involving only a few interactions with your contacts? You can manage this workflow with the use of Activities!

For example, an organization is asking its constituents and their friends to fill out a series of online surveys regarding their commute habits in order to promote and improve local public transportation systems. As an incentive to go through the process, respondents are rewarded with discount vouchers to use with public transports.

Activities and Smart Groups are used to track each survey participant:
Visitors go to the organization's website and register for the program via a CiviCRM profile. The contact is added to a group of participants. Then, the program manager sends to each new participant the link to the first survey and records the first activity of the workflow (in this case Survey Sent) to the contact in CiviCRM with the status Completed.

When the survey is submitted, the program manager reviews the survey results, records the next activity, Send Transport Voucher, send the link to the second survey and records the corresponding activity. With the use of smart groups, the program manager knows at anytime whcih contacts should receive the 2nd survey. Once the contact has completed all the surveys, based on activity dates and types, the contact is automatically added to another smart group. The contact’s responses from this smart group are  used for statistics and reporting.

The process described above involves human intervention at every step because of the nature of the program that organization is running. But you can automate some of these steps by using the extension CiviRules.

CiviRules allows you to automate some of the steps, like for instance by sending automatically an email with the link to the second survey 30 days after the first survey was sent, or by recording the activity “Second Survey Completed” to the contact once they have submitted the second survey online.

Bonus: Improve your contact’s user experience by sending them links to pre-filled online forms using checksums.