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Australian Childcare Alliance NSW: A CiviCRM Reimplementation

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  • Company Contact Record

The Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) NSW is a member-funded organisation acting as the peak body for privately owned early childhood education and care services in NSW. It provides advocacy, policy and regulatory support and advice; member services; and professional development for members across the state of NSW, Australia.

Having inherited an inadequately implemented, heavily customised, poorly supported and undocumented older implementation of CiviCRM (with Joomla! 1.5), current staff resentment towards their CRM was high. Yet, ACA NSW were willing to give CiviCRM another go.

Being a membership based advocacy and training organisation, ACA NSW acknowledged that CiviCRM WAS a great match for them. They were able to see that CiviCRM had developed and matured and that it was far more ready to comply with their needs than it had been five years ago.

It's All Part of the Plan

For the greatest part, CiviCRM was given a second chance and came up trumps because it was implemented the right way.

Together with Nili Steiner from Edge of Knowledge and Brian Shaughnessy of Lighthouse Consulting and Design, ACA NSW went back to square one, and this time planned the system around their business processes with an emphasis on maximising the benefits that CiviCRM has to offer, using and extending CiviCRM’s existing functionality.

Management put in time and resources to make the systems successful and a strong and responsive system’s administrator took ownership over the two-phase implementation process.

Importantly, multiple training sessions were conducted, customised step by step user manuals were created specifically for the organisation, and the system was fully documented.

Data from the old system was cleaned, restructured and imported to the new system.

Extra Special Components and Extensions

ACA NSW use the CiviCRM technology thoroughly, integrating CiviEvent, CiviMember, CiviContribute, CiviMail and CiviReport. In addition, members’-only content and Users' Self-Service areas are included within the public website (using Joomla! 3.3).

Several components and extensions proved invaluable to the functionality of the new system. They include:

Fine-Tuned Membership Inheritance

ACA NSW’s business model dictates a complex membership structure, with membership inheritance spanning different organisational and individual sub contacts types. Membership status, in turn, influences all digital interactions with constituents, from access to content through to newsletter subscriptions, members’-only events and event registration fee levels.

In the following example, the company is the financial member. A company may have no active services (childcare centres), a single service or more (up to 200).

A company’s Primary Contact, is the only permissioned contact within the relationship structure, can nominate additional Authorised Contacts to receive membership privileges.

Tax and Invoicing

The new tax and invoicing functionality was customised and adapted to the Australian framework, with online and offline invoicing and receipting now operating through CiviCRM, rather than the accounting system.

CiviDiscount Extension with Advanced Filters

ACA NSW run multiple workshops and other events.

Automatic discounts for event registrations are offered to members. The precise discount is dependent on the price set field, the event type and the membership type. It is also conditional on the membership being in good standing.

All the relevant rules were entered into CiviDiscount, and as a results the event team at ACA NSW can set up new events using event templates with ease.

MailChimp Integration Extension

ACA NSW distribute their main newsletter to the Primary Contacts of current members only. The publication has been designed in MailChimp, and they wished to continue using it. Previously recipients were added to and removed from the distribution list manually. Using the MailChimp integration extension, this is now done automatically.

ACA NSW Review

Brianna Casey, Chief Executive Officer, said “Our new CiviCRM has made an enormous difference to every aspect of our business.  Our staff can quickly and efficiently locate member records, run reports, enable prompt payments and ensure member details are up to date.  It has dramatically streamlined our administrative processes, allowing us to spend more time helping our members.”

Laurice Chahine, System Administrator said the new version of CiviCRM is a lot easier and quicker to work with for her day to day duties.  “Updating memberships is much quicker and more efficient than in the old CiviCRM, and simple activities such as just searching for a member’s profile is so much more rapid than it was in the past”.

Laurice finds that she is now capable of recording more membership data, which is beneficial to the organisation.  “I can see the long-term benefits of the increased data we are now able to collect, and this is something that was not possible in our old CiviCRM system”.

Laurice said “There are so many features of the CiviCRM that I enjoy that is it hard for me to determine which feature is the best.  I love the simple features like the advanced search engine, which has proven to be very helpful with my activities, and being able to extract the information that is needed”.

Laurice did identify some areas for future improvement to CiviCRM: “The one thing I did wish it had is a mechanism to extract the company information along with the centre’s information.  If this was a feature it had, it would be the best feature for me”.

All in all, ACA NSW finds the new CiviCRM quick, efficient and reliable.  “The new CiviCRM is so diverse, and gives us the ability to have the system tailored by adding custom fields and other functions to meet our needs”.