6 Ways to Use CiviCRM - Part 2

Thank you for joining me for the second part of this 2 part series - 6 Ways to Use CiviCRM.

To quickly recap, CiviCRM is a web-based piece of software for contact relationship management. It's by far one of our favorite open-source tools in our toolbelt as it directly integrates with our favorite open-source content management system (CMS), Drupal. Not only does CiviCRM work great as a CRM, but it is jam packed with other features allowing organizations to ditch their various of 3rd party tools and have one central location where all of you customer data is stored.

Part 1 of this article explored CiviCRM’s CRM, email marketing, and access control features. In this part, we will explore features that will not only make your organization’s life easier and reduce man hours, but also bring in additional revenue for your business.  


CiviContribute allows users to make financial transactions. This component allows users to make donations or in-kind contributions directly on your website. Its also tied into other Civi components where transactions may take place, such as paying for membership fees or event registrations. Transactions can be reviewed in reports and exported from CiviCRM and imported into your accounting software. By using CiviCRM to manage your organization’s contributions you have all of the data tied to the user’s contact record. This allows you to see a running total of all dollars spent by a particular user, whether it be from a membership fee, event registration, or a basic donation.

CiviCRM allows donors to participate in peer-to-peer fundraising.  A donor can establish a fundraising goal, create a personal campaign page (PCP), and the encourage others to give to their campaign. Each of these contributions creates a new contact in CiviCRM which allows means other users can contribute to your contact database and give you even more opportunities to promote your other initiatives. See how the University of Minnesota Foundation has used peer-to-peer fundraising to shatter their previous fundraising efforts.


Membership Management

CiviCRM also has a Membership Management System, called CiviMember. Memberships are self-serviced, meaning users can apply for memberships and renew memberships on their own, and the system will automatically be updated with their new membership period. Like contact types, different membership types or tiers can be created. Coupled with CiviCRM’s built-in access control features, you can grant access to certain parts of your website based on the membership type. Membership durations can be set based on a calendar year (from Jan 1 - Dec 31) or by rolling membership (ex: 365 days from date joined). Rules can also be setup to establish a grace period. For example, allow the membership to stay active 30days after the date the membership expired.


Event Registration

The CiviEvent component allows users to register for events on your website. CiviCRM will track your users sign-ups via a registration form, and events can be free or you can charge a registration fee. Event Types can be set up to collect different types of data and this data can be stored in CiviCRM allowing you to categorize and segment your attendees into different groups. For example, you could ask the user if they’ve attended one of your events in the past, and then separate returning visitors into a new list.

CiviEvent also includes several tools to help your team manage your on-time or recurring events. Event templates can be created to help speed up the creation of future events. There are is an import feature for registrants that have signed up offline. Several reports are available to provide a list of attendees to detailing your events’ income. It will even allow you to print out name badges based on the list of attendees. This component is capable of handling all of the features you need to manage your event registrations, and with all of the data stored within the CiviCRM database, it makes this tool a no-brainer over other 3rd party options.


While there was a lot of ground covered in this 2-part series, this is just a small sample of what is possible. There are several other CiviCRM features and extensions available, which can be explored in the CiviCRM Extensions Directory. If you want to take CiviCRM for a test drive, you can access a free demo on CiviCRM.org. CiviCRM.org also hosts a great deal of other resources such as online documentation, forums, and eBooks. If you have any general questions about CiviCRM, or questions specific to your CiviCRM implementation, please contact Skvare.

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