Impact Content & Relationship Management is the culmination of a number of years in development of Church website. It become obvious that we needed a does-it-all solution.

The aim of the product is a web-platform that meets most of the public-facing needs of a Church, Non-profit or Small Business. It is not intended as a scalable solution to meet the needs large corporations.

History of this project

In trying to meet our needs I’ve tried a number of different solutions:

  • Bespoking of Joomula - This required too much tweaking of the core design and still didn’t meet our CRM needs

  • A combination of ChurchInfo, Joomla and WebCalendar – This was affective to an extend but created complexities for a small organisation relying on volunteers learning three different systems

  • Our own platform based on the best ideas and concepts from other Open Source systems

I chose the last option and have spend the 18 months building a platform that meets all our requirements.

The future

The project has reached a stage, where I would like to rework it so others organisations can use it for their own needs. Since it was originally designed with one organisation in mind, this requires some significant rewriting.

The long-term aims of the project are:

  1. Website Content Management that suits the needs of small/medium-sized organisations.

  2. Relationship Management that is useful for churches, non-profits and community group. Ultimately, the aim is to expand this to small business’.

  3. Full and deep integration with Facebook from the start. Initially, this will allow Facebook login and information sharing but longterm it should allow Fan-page and Application management. This is a core-optional component (ie. The project has been designed with Facebook in mind but it isn’t a must if users wish to disable this option). A longterm aim is to allow OpenID authentication as an alternative; although, this not a core requirement and is less useful anyway.

  4. A robust templating system, which is separate from the programming and avoids having php blocks within the actual template. A full XML solution is required. Templates should allow for advanced show/hide formulation based on ACL and calendaring features (see 5).

  5. Core calendar and event driven functionality. This is a rather vague way of saying , “It will allow website features to be timed to appear on particular days, time-periods ...etc”. This is essential as it allows small organisations to achieve highly active websites without large over-heads. iCal-style repeating events is at the core of this function.

  6. Administration from the front-end. Rather than having a separate back-end like Joomula; users will be able to login to see Intranet functionality. This concept is in-line with the does-it-all style solution.

  7. Expandable with Plugins, Modules ..ets. Not as flexible as Joomula to avoid bloat but still expandable to meet the needs of different organisations.

  8. Project will be written in PHP, MySQL, and Dojo-javascript. Database connection will be via an ADODB bridge allowing for different database backends. Code will be documented using phpDoc. Basic unit testing will be build-in from the early stages and expanded throughout the project.

  9. Advanced Access Control, which is liked into the CRM.

  10. Multi-platform (Desktop, Mobile, Social Networking) and Multi-lingual from the start. These features will be built-in over time but the database and coding will be designed to accommodate without recoding/redesign.

  11. Some of the modules that are already written might be useful to developers in other projects so these will be released so that they are portable to other platforms. Primarily, I’m thinking of the templating and iCal classes.

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