Monday, November 7, 2005

Announcing CiviCRM 1.2

The development teams keep putting out pretty amazing stuff. Probably the best feature in CiviCRM is you can define custom fields and have registered web site users maintain their own information about themselves (CiviCRM Profiles). But it does soo much more...

We are pleased to announce the latest release of CiviCRM, version 1.2! CiviCRM is a web-based, open source, internationalized, constituent relationship management (CRM) application, designed specifically to meet the needs of advocacy, non-profit and non-governmental organizations. As an open source solution, any company, organization or individual can download it, adapt it, modify it and use it without paying license fees.

CiviCRM is currently intended for qualified consultants who are considering deployment of a CRM solution for small to medium-sized non-profits. Organizations considering CiviCRM to meet specific needs should carefully evaluate CiviCRM.

Some Key Benefits of Deploying CiviCRM

  • Unified view of every constituent. Store information about individuals, organizations and households and your interactions with them.
  • Designed for Advocacy/NPO/NGOs. CiviCRM was designed for organizations that engage in advocacy, community and political organizing, and non-profit work.
  • Seamless integration with web sites. CiviCRM integrates directly into popular open source CMS packages, including Drupal and Mambo. Registration and visitor interactions are logged directly into the system, including end-user maintenance of their own addresses and custom fields.
  • Internationalized & Localized. CiviCRM was built from the ground up as a product intended to be used globally. It can store data in many localized formats and supports most languages globally.
  • Open source & open standards. Licensed under the AGPL, users can make any modification to the software, can benefit from modifications made by others and can effectively interoperate with other applications.
  • Affordable and cost effective. CiviCRM is available without a license fee and is supported by a community of nonprofit-focused consultants.

What’s new with 1.2?

  • Improved Data Import/Export. Import and export virtually any CiviCRM data field or set with an easy-to-use interface.
  • Improved “Profile” handling. We’ve optimized the display performance of our search. You can now search contacts quickly and efficiently. You can also now search on and display any CiviCRM field.
  • Improved API. We’ve implemented additional API calls including search, group membership, custom fields and more. Remote access via SOAP is now supported.
  • CiviMail. High volume mass emailing capabilities with the ability to track click-thrus and open rates. (Developer Release)

Demo, Downloads and Documentation

  • Test drive CiviCRM 1.2 on our demo site
  • Download CiviCRM here
  • Installation instructions can be found here
  • Documentation, including a Quick Start Guide and a detailed Administrator Guide can be found here

CiviCRM in a Nutshell

CiviCRM is a web-based CRM application that can be downloaded and installed either locally on a server, or in a hosted environment. It can be used as a powerful contact database application that allows you to record and manage information about your various constituents including volunteers, activists, donors, employees, clients, vendors, etc. Keep track of conversations, events or any type of correspondence with each constituent and store it all in one, easily accessible and manageable source.

Technical Requirements:

Runs on any platform that supports:
  • PHP 4.3+
  • MySQL 4.0 or 4.1
  • Drupal 4.6.3+ or Joomla 1.0.3+/Mambo4.5.3+
  • Joomla/Mambo version of CiviCRM only supports PHP4 at this time

Key Features in Detail:

  • Segmentation Tools. Use groups, simple and searchable tags, and/or relationships to segment constituents.
  • Extensive Configurability. CiviCRM is highly configurable, allowing you, in most cases, to configure it to work with your existing business processes. Unlimited locations, addresses, phone numbers, emails and custom data fields allow most unique needs to be met.
  • Internationalization & Localization. CiviCRM can store CRM data in many localized formats and supports most languages, currently including Brazilian Portuguese, German, Polish and Spanish.
  • Contacts. Store common nonprofit contact data (individuals, organizations, and households) that support donor management, case management, voter, and advocacy applications.
  • Relationships. Understand the relationships between any two contacts with standard (volunteer, employer, head of household) relationships or create your own unique custom relationship types.
  • Activities. Record standard activities (phone call, meeting, email) for any contact or create your own custom activities that meet your needs. External software can use the CiviCRM Application Programming Interface (API) to register activities with any contact, providing a comprehensive central repository of CRM information.
  • Smart Groups. Create smart groups based on any search criteria or create standard groups that are simply lists of contacts. The membership of a smart group changes automatically according to that moment’s search results.
  • Custom Data. Create unlimited custom data fields in virtually any format, including radio buttons, drop-down menus, etc. All custom fields are searchable and can define a smart group.
  • Support Multi-site Organizations and Networks. Centrally store data across multiple organizations or web sites.
  • Import and Export Functionality with De-duping. Import functionality intelligently maps CiviCRM fields to imported data and checks for duplicates based on user-defined criteria.
  • Robust Permissions. With Drupal integration, access to certain groups of contacts can be limited to specific users, offering a way for volunteers to manage small portions of a larger CiviCRM database.
  • Website Integration. CiviCRM is integrated with both Drupal and Joomla/Mambo. Web site registrations automatically become CiviCRM records and individuals can maintain their own CRM record. Offerings like CivicSpace 0.8.2 integrate e-mail blasts, event, volunteer and petition functionality with CiviCRM.
  • Application Programming Interface (API). A fully documented API exposing all major functionality of CiviCRM. For instance, you can search the database, register interactions with constituents, create or update contact information, etc. This allows CiviCRM to realistically be a central repository of virtually any nonprofit’s CRM information.

Future Releases

CiviCRM is in active development and is constantly improving. Some key features to look for are:
  • CiviMail is available in 1.2 as a developer release. In future releases, we will update this high-capacity email broadcast tool with more user-friendly access.
  • CiviCRM 1.3 will include CiviDonate, a donor management module and online donations solution.

About the Social Source Foundation

The Social Source Foundation is a 501-c-3 nonprofit creating internationalized, open source software of uncompromising quality for the nonprofit and nongovernmental sectors. Social Source Foundation is one of many partners in the creation of the CiviCRM platform, providing primary engineering support for the software.

How Do I Participate in the CiviCRM Project?

Interested parties are encouraged to participate in the development of CiviCRM. This can take the form of providing use cases, feedback on existing functionality, feature suggestions, code contributions, documentation contributions and beta testing. More info...

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