CiviCRM: Part of Your COVID-19 Response Toolbox

Along with the creativity and resourcefulness that we know characterize your organization’s staffers, we hope you’ll remember that your technology - including CiviCRM - can also help you withstand the challenges you’re currently facing. Here are some ideas to consider as your response continues to evolve.

Extend Memberships

One option that a few of our clients have already deployed is extending memberships past their normal end dates. This is actually easier than you might think - simply extend the length of the grace period (or add one if you’re not currently using it). To do this, go to Administer > CiviMember > Membership Status Rules and edit the Grace status, increasing the duration to whatever length your organization has specified. Make sure you also update the Expired status by the same amount of time, otherwise the two statuses will overlap and your changes won’t work correctly.

Not using Grace status? If you’ve disabled it, you can reenable it and set the duration as desired; if you’ve deleted it, you can create a new status for grace. Make sure you do the following:

  • Set the new status as a current membership.

  • Move the status to between your Current and Expired statuses (or the equivalent in your system) - this will help ensure that your membership status job completes the updates correctly, as it processes statuses in the order they appear in the list.

  • Adjust your Expired status to ensure there’s no overlap in timing - if there is, members will skip too quickly to Expired.

If you use modules/plugins that depend on membership status to determine users’ access to your site, you will also need to adjust those. (We can help with that, if you’re not sure!)

Use CiviCRM’s Event Registration for Virtual Meetings

Many organizations are switching to Zoom and similar platforms for their meetings - a move that certainly accommodates social distancing but also increases security and privacy concerns. Rather than publicizing the Zoom room link for all to see, consider using CiviCRM to allow your constituents to register for the meeting, then use CiviMail to send the room link directly. (Yes, Zoom and other platforms offer registration options, but if you use Civi for that purpose, you can easily add the participants to a group to communicate with them, and you don’t need to import their event info later - less work, more flexibility!)

Some of our clients have also created online directories of virtual meetings as a means of supporting their constituents, chapters, etc., as they pivot away from in-person gatherings. Particularly if your site is built on Drupal, there are a number of ways to collect the information and display it on your site in a searchable, easily navigable format.

Be Creative With Donation Pages

You may need to spin up donation pages for a variety of purposes - as you know, it’s fairly simple to copy existing contribution pages in CiviCRM and update the information as needed. In addition to creating new financial types and/or campaigns, here are some other ideas to consider.

  • Collect donations on behalf of specific departments, chapters, etc., in your organization. We’ve recently implemented a Drupal webform solution that essentially uses one donation page to collect donations for one hundred different chapters (using soft credits) and we’d be happy to show you this; if you don’t have Drupal, there are certainly other ways to make this happen (for example, custom fields).
  • Try personal campaign pages. This is a feature of CiviCRM that very few organizations use, but this might be a good time to give them a spin. Essentially, these are a fairly simple implementation of peer-to-peer giving that allows users to register to fundraise on your behalf, complete with their own donation pages.  
  • Offer the opportunity to include credit card fees in gifts. As you may recall from previous emails, there is a CiviCRM extension that adds a field for offsetting credit card fees. The field can be added to price sets, and is quite simple to implement… and minimizing your costs is particularly crucial right now.

Talk With Us About Virtual Conferencing

If you’re exploring other options for presenting a conference in the coming months, you’re certainly not alone. Many organizations are asking the same questions, and our staff are beginning to work with clients on questions such as:

  • How can we present a conference that has as much of the same feel as an in-person event as possible?
  • How can we provide equivalent value to sponsors, exhibitors, etc., who would normally support and/or attend our conference?
  • What providers offer solutions that integrate well with our current systems?

We encourage you to reach out to us with your questions; by sharing knowledge, we can all safely navigate the challenges coming our way.

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