Free as in Cats

I once heard the phrase that most open source projects (the context was specifically Drupal) was not free as in beer but was free as in cats.

Cat in the office chair
Cats are cute, if sometimes disruptive of work
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CiviCRM: Personal Campaign Pages

Have you ever taken part in a non-profit fundraising event where you get your own personal webpage that you can direct people to as a way for them to sponsor you directly in the event? Personally I am happy to participate in the Coldest Night of the Year every year, which does have this type of system (not in CiviCRM).

In the language of CiviCRM, these are Personal Campaign Pages. While CiviCRM does offer this functionality, it has some major holes in it. Like a few areas of CiviCRM, it feels like somebody threw it together quickly and then mostly forgot about it. Consequently, I had a hard time ever recommending it as a good solution, even if a client was already heavily using CiviCRM happily. Here’s the official documentation.

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SMTP Through a Google Account

Many applications like business scanners or hosted CRM systems come with features that send email. To do so, it has to be able to connect to an email account that it sends on behalf of. The main challenge is that most good modern email services are strict about allowing emails to be sent on their behalf. Microsoft 365 is particularly strict. Google is a bit easier, but does require an extra step which is not obvious.

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CiviCRM: Overview

The platform I worked with more than any other in my previous job was CiviCRM. CiviCRM is an open-source CRM system aimed primarily at non-profits that builds on top of an existing WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal website. Drupal is the most powerful because Drupal has great permissions control already and CiviCRM can tie in to those, but the others are fine, too.

CiviCRM logo and wordmark

After a few years, I have a pretty good sense of the strengths and weaknesses that CiviCRM offers and will do a quick breakdown here.

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