Velt - Eco Active together

©François De Heel for Velt

Velt (Association for Ecological Living and Gardening) is the association for all those who want to work in an environmentally friendly way. For 50 years we have been promoting healthy and sustainable living in the home, garden and kitchen in Belgium and the Netherlands.

What was the aim of your implementation?

Our old ICT systems were end-of-life. They still functioned well, but it was not possible to develop them any further. Many administrative processes were still largely manual, resulting in unnecessary costs and errors. To further shape our mission in these times, we needed a system that could support our processes properly and professionally for years to come.

The approach and progress of the project

We started from scratch in 2018. That is, we completely abandoned the functionality of our old systems and focused mainly on our work processes. By working this way, we also modernised and optimised those processes. Working in a Scrum-like manner, we went step by step from processes to configuration, unlocking to the portal, and a fairly complex data migration. And where necessary customisation.
In the end, especially for a relatively small organisation like Velt, it was a big project, replacing both our core systems with CiviCRM and a Drupal portal. With a go-live that went off without too many problems.
We have now been working with CiviCRM for 5 years and still like it. Due to developments within our organisation and the increasing demand for digital solutions for not only our members, but also our lecturers and the training department, we are currently setting up a lecturer and workshop portal and the processes around booking workshops will also be optimised.

What has been CiviCooP's role: before, during and after implementation?

The people at CiviCooP played a crucial role in functional and technical development and continue to do so to this day. In doing so, they do not present themselves as classic suppliers, but rather as advisory and coaching partners. They regularly asked the question "But what do you really want?". We now also ask it of ourselves. 
In addition, they regularly indicate what the costs of a possible adaptation would be and whether we would be prepared to pay for it.

In addition to the 'usual' ICT consultancy, CiviCoop thus plays a priceless role as an objective 'project watchdog' to keep the projects on track. And quite unique: over the years, we have come to regard Jaap and Betty from CiviCoop as colleagues rather than 'externals'; something that says a lot about their commitment to our organisation.

The inevitable consequence of this is, that we did not develop the system we first wanted to get, but the one we really need to technically support our mission for the next decade (and beyond).

What role does CiviCRM play now?

CiviCRM is now the central back-office system for our administration. Automated processing of new members and membership fees, donations, crowdfunding campaigns, orders from our co-purchase actions, it all goes through Civi. Also the administration of our local Velt groups: registering activities, volunteers, sending newsletters, here too CiviCRM is the heart of the automation. In which the data is opened up in various directions: towards the corporate website, the portal, our webshop, etc.

Every time we automate or optimise a (partial) process, we always notice that the investments are paying for themselves. For instance, because the administrative processes take only a fraction of the time compared to before. And because members and volunteers can arrange a lot themselves via their portal, the head office has less work to do.