Getting started with CiviCRM couldn't be easier. Here are some simple steps to get you going:
- Get CiviCRM hosting - getting your organization a hosted CiviCRM takes minutes and is a great way to get started fast. You can then start setting up donation campaigns, importing historical data and so on. Hosted CiviCRM is a great way for those with less complex requirements to get going quickly.
- Start a relationship with a CiviCRM expert - our partners and contributors work with organizations around the world to help them get the most out of CiviCRM. Instead of struggling on your own, why not kickstart your CiviCRM experience by working with someone who's been there before? Partners and contributors are happy to talk to you about your needs with no obligation. They'll help you get on your way and are especially suitable for those with more complex needs (like data migration or complex website integrations).
- Attend a CiviCRM event to rapidly level up your knowledge of CiviCRM.
And of course, as an open source project, you're free to download CiviCRM and host it yourself, but check out our advice at the bottom of this page before you do so.
Now, before you dive in...
If you're not quite ready to start using CiviCRM and have questions on whether it is right for you, here are ways to help you carefully plan a CRM implementation:
- Talk to an ambassador - our ambassadors are users that want to talk to you about how they use CiviCRM. They're happy to talk about how CiviCRM helps them acheive their goals, what the experience of setting up CiviCRM has been like. Ambassadors aren't sales people and are not paid. They are just happy users that want to share their experiences and help you decide whether CiviCRM is right for you. So get in contact and get chatting!
- Ask a question - our question and answer site is staffed by volunteers from our community that want to answer your questions about CiviCRM. No question is to simple or too. Ask it here and it'll be seen and answered by experts around the globe that love to share what they know about CiviCRM.
- Try a demo - want to see CiviCRM in action? Log in to one of our demo sites where you can play around, explore features, and see what CiviCRM looks and feels like.
- Browse our case studies - real world write-ups from end users that have decided to share their success stories with you.
- Read the docs - CiviCRM is accompanied by comprehensive and up to date documentation that describes in detail what it can do for a wide variety of organizations with limitless customization options.
As an open source project, you are free to download CiviCRM and install it yourself. This might sound like the best option for organizations with little or no budget but in many cases it can be more time consuming and therefore much more expensive in real terms. Because of this, we recommend working with a CiviCRM provider that can ensure your implementation is a success and provide additional support based on your time and in-house talent warrants. This allows you to focus on your mission and not on the technical setup. Once you're up and running you can always take advantage of our free community support through our documentation and question and answer site.
Many CiviCRM providers offer month-by-month hosting plans so you'll be free to leave at any time and take your data with you if you decide that you want to managing hosting yourself. We only recommend downloading and installing CiviCRM yourself for those with a solid background in hosting websites and web-applications.