1. Define a general security model for LPPA

a. Board Access

b. Specialized Access

1) Finance (primarily Civi Contributions, some membership

2) Membership (primarily Civi membership with some contributions

3) Media (civi Mass Mail; article creation)

c. County Access - Granular access only to county records by county (primarily leveraged by Civi profiles)

Consistent with this we should define what services the website should provide to county committees beyond simple reporting.

2. Revise the current security model at the Joomla ACL level and at the CIVCRM permissions level to conform to the above. The current “model” is based on the default Joomla blog based concepts and is a mess as it was expanded over time to meet more robust permission requirements. It basically works but it makes sense to redesign this from the ground up before we get too far into adding lots more people and roles.

3. Current front end reporting is based on a third party database reporting app (Alter Reports) that queries our Civi database to perform complex SQL joins that I was not able to achieve inside Civi’s existing reporting structure. This was facilitated by a programmer who created a query in the server’s database that presented a coherent data-set that we could manipulate with the Alter Report program, particularly to manipulate the County field. This is more of a stop gap however. By leveraging the profile features in Civi, I think we can work around these limitations. In conjunction with that, we should rethink the general nature of reporting that we make available to county chairs.

4. Once reporting is well defined, we should aggressively encourage county chairs to secure their member information directly from the website and not from staff. This should be accomplished by directing each chair to someone like the appropriate web committee member who can walk them through logging in and accessing the information they need. Accepting that otherwise capable people are to get member information from staff instead of directly from the website is an inefficient and inappropriate use of staff time.

5. Identify all recurring contributions in PayPal and Stripe that are not communicating with Civi when they occur (which is all of them prior to the last few weeks). As background, when we were accepting recurring donations and memberships in PayPal and later Stripe, those transactions are dutifully kicking off as they come around (usually yearly). Unfortunately until recently, when they happened Stripe’s communication to Civi didn’t get recorded so in Civi it shows as waiting for the recurring payment indefinitely. If we recreate each transaction close to the date it should happen, this automatic communication will be established for the future.

This is likely a year long project. I’ve already identified the Stripe recurrings for Greg so it’s just a matter of contacting each person and arranging to have them resubmit their donation or membership at the appropriate time. Concurrently we cancel their prior recurring transaction (called a Subscription) at Stripe. Same with PayPal. This will get everything automated and we won’t have to periodically tell Civi that we received the money as we do now.

6. Review customization of automatic communications and revamp as necessary, including but not limited to:

a. Membership thank you messages. These can be modified in Civi. Right now they are simple receipts but it should be feasible to include more information and possibly suggested actions with more elaborate links to resources. In particular I think we should develop a form to collect volunteer information so we can systematically search for people with skills and background for tasks and projects and we could give new members to ability to register their background and interests in some detail. More on that below.

b. Membership reminders. This too is built into Civi and should be exploited. Civi Manual reference: https://docs.civicrm.org/user/en/latest/membership/renewals/

7. Incorporate additional fields in Civi Contacts for volunteer skill and experience factors? Used and maintain by county chairs and membership committee although initial input would be by the member?

While the counties should be doing this on some level, it would be of value to them by systematizing the process somewhat. A few ideas on what kind of data might be collected (and these are just thrown out as ideas):

Occupational Background

  • IT describe ____________________
  • Media/writer describe ____________________
  • Other technical fields describe ____________________
  • Sales and/or marketing describe ____________________
  • Administrative describe ____________________
  • Financial/Accounting describe ____________________

Political Experience

  • Have you ever run for office or worked in any kind of political campaign?
  • Describe any community service activities you have participated in and what you did.

8. By the time Shawn House took over as chair, LPPA had stopped producing and mailing a newsletter and was posting a PDF on the website. When Sean Brown became editor, I encouraged him to create the newsletter as articles on the site with the intention of using that format to email the newsletter to members. With a few exceptions early on that never transpired. There should be a concerted effort to communicate the newsletter on a regular basis to members via email leveraging the existing format.

Just a note for future use but Civi allows us to send text messages via SMS. It works more or less like sending mass mail except that we specify a SMS provider. I plan to discuss this with Conner Drigotas if he thinks he might have use for that someday.

9. I think we need someone to supervise the general nature of postings on the non-Civi part of the website so as to insure uniformity of presentation (fonts, sizes, etc). Joomla like all CMS’s tends to impose a uniform look and feel between different articles but this can be ignored, largely through ignorance of how to create articles. This person could be a general resource to provide guidance to new staff (county’s) in using much of the non-Civi part of the web site. In particularly keeping the organization of the site from looking cluttered and keeping cosmetics up to date (the header pictures have hardly been altered since they were created). There may be other cosmetic issues they could address.

10. There is a lot of old material on the site that should be archived to reduce clutter in the backend. The category structure should be reviewed.

11. Civi has an Event component that would allow us to post an event, collect fees and attendance information. We should configure this prior to the next event (Convention next Spring?) and provide for appropriate reporting to Event staff.

12. Devise a strategy on how to incorporate the national office’s data dump into our own database. Sometime ago I took a look at this and there appear to be a lot of records in nationals database that we would want but lots we wouldn’t. At minimum many of these records would form the basis for membership recruitment in addition to other benefits. So the first task would be determine what we want and the second to create the functionality to extract new records that we want each month and add them to Civi.