Tadpole Collective works with a diverse range of client organizations, large and small. As WordPress developers that specialize in CiviCRM, the open-source CRM for non-profit organizations, we receive a wide variety of inquiries around building every conceivable type of custom functionality:
You name it, we get asked about it.
No matter the nature of the request, Tadpole has developed a methodology for how we approach a project – whether that project involves updating the cosmetic “look and feel” of the site or setting up a customized membership sign-up/renewal system with application workflow — or anything in between. There are certain best practices that Tadpole follows to ensure our work not only solves our client organizations’ problems but remains both secure and scalable.
1. Getting in Touch
Clients find us through a variety of channels: at WordPress or CiviCRM events; via referrals from existing clients and development partner relationships; or sometimes just through a website search or listing. The contact form on our website asks a few basic questions about the size and scope of the project; once we gather enough information, we often schedule a call to ask some follow-up questions and determine whether the project is a good fit for our capabilities and current workload.
At this stage, Tadpole members discuss the project together to determine a course of action. We may or may not be able to give you a “ballpark guess” on the costs for the work, but we generally don’t like guessing. If we don’t have a good sense of what your project will cost based on our experience doing the same work, we might recommend a pre-project exploration – a “discovery phase.”
2. What’s With Your WordPress?
Whether or not we conduct a formal discovery phase, we will assess your website’s current infrastructure to determine whether it will support what you want to do. One of the first things Tadpole will ask for are your WordPress admin dashboard credentials, so we can check out your WordPress Theme and Plugins. Whether you came to Tadpole for a new, CiviCRM-compatible Theme or just want to implement a few new features with your existing set-up, the theme, block editor (if any), and plugins will all play a role in how Tadpole specs out your project. [See our blog post “CiviCRM and WordPress: Four Things to Know.”]
3. Inspecting Infrastructure
We’ll also want to take a look at your organization’s server set-up with the website host. For this, we’ll need login credentials for your hosting account, server, and/or cPanel.
Very often, clients come to us because they’re having difficulties with CiviCRM that stem directly from their hosting set-up; they may not know that CiviCRM does not work properly on shared hosting platforms. Many small organizations run their websites on inexpensive shared hosting plans, but these are typically inadequate to support CiviCRM for two big reasons: processing power and database size.
CiviCRM runs scheduled jobs that may exceed the processing power allocated to your website on a shared host. Even on a dedicated server with plenty of processing power, your host may have silently set a limit to the size of your database. This can present problems over time as you use your CiviCRM more and more and your database grows and grows.
Based on our assessment, Tadpole may recommend changes to your hosting environment. Sometimes these changes can be made concurrently with your project. Other times, hosting may need to be addressed before any work can be initiated. In either case, Tadpole can assist.
4. Putting the Pieces Together
Depending on the nature of your website, these preliminary steps may take a few hours or a few days. But they are absolutely necessary to the success of your project, whether big or small. Once we understand the situation, we can formulate a plan to achieve your goals. At every step of the process we will be open and transparent with you, working as a true partner and advisor. And we will always do our best to make sure that you feel comfortable, that your questions are answered to your satisfaction, and that we achieve the best possible outcome at an afforable cost to your organization.