Thanks @gsilvapt for the response, and yes I agree, some groups will not feel the direct need for this issue.
I’ll just present you a use-case as @ppkrauss was suggesting, to further explain our problem at Open Knowledge Belgium. We are a chapter with a small batch of volunteers, two commercial projects with numerous partner commercial and non-commercial organisations, several partner projects running at the moment and a whole lot of contacts in government, public agencies and so forth for policy lobbying, talks, discussions and so forth. All these contacts are harvested, not in a CRM but in my own Google Contactslist. Same applies for my board members who all have their contacts of their own regarding open in Belgium. So already you have silo’s forming with contact-data with an organisation. The real trouble is, and that is something OK-I is seeing as well, that some working groups or local groups start to hibernate. This can be because the volunteers are retiring to other activities or a lot of new volunteers are taking the wheel. The lack of a decent semi-centralised CRM means when key members of a group or chapter disappear, part of their leads and contacts disappear with them and the new members need to start over. So whenever I would leave and somebody would need to replace me, that person would have to start all over, or I would have to export my own contact list and start digging out the professional contacts from the personal ones. This is something that really slows down progress in organisations who are undergoing internal shifting. Another problem is Google contacts do not provide context metadata. Who in this list is a volunteer? And who isn’t? And is that an active volunteer (eg. did something this month) or a non-active volunteer? Or is he/she a powerful lead to push the agenda to open data in a certain way?
If I look at my organisation today, that info is spread around on numerous outdated spreadsheets hidden away in completely different folders. In a structure I can find my way in, because I have been working for Open Knowledge Belgium for the last two years, but again, for someone new it would take months to understand the whole structure and what is relevant or not.
So yeah, I believe CRM systems are a real necessity. And I believe it should be something that should be provided by Open Knowledge International because it, for example, would ensure that groups, chapters and working groups going into full hibernation would not lose all their relevant data when being started back up.
@nealbastek, feel free to respond whether I’m on the right track here .