CiviCRM is created and supported by a passionate community of users and developers from around the world. You can join this community and help make CiviCRM an amazing and easy to use product that meets the needs of its users.
First, lets dispel the common myth that only geeks can contribute to CiviCRM. That's just not true! Whatever your skill set, there are lots of ways that you can make yourself useful. And remember: contributing to CiviCRM opens doors. You'll get at least as much out of it as you put in, and the more you are involved, the more opportunities that come along. Karma rocks!
We've tried to make it as easy as possible to get started. Read on for some ideas on what you can do but don't let this page limit your imagination - our community is open and welcoming and we are are always looking for fresh ideas and new approaches. Let us know how you would like to participate.
If you're ready to get started, our advice is to pick small bite sized tasks, do things one at a time and in no time you'll have a few things under your belt. And it in onwards and upwards from there.
Spreading the word is a great way to get started. Submit your profile to our community bar and let the world know how you work with CiviCRM. Submit a case study that explains how your organisation benefits from CiviCRM and what your implementation looks like. Stories from happy users are a powerful way to get the message across and case studies - explaining how you CiviCRM meets your needs and what you learnt during the implementation - are really useful for others that are evaluating CiviCRM.
Is your CiviCRM site registered? We like to keep track of all the organisations that are using CiviCRM. Register your site and we can include you in our 'official statistics' on who is using our CRM.
All this online stuff is great of course, but we all need a bit of real life human interaction from time to time! Meet ups are a great way to reach out more widely to people evaluating CiviCRM and current users. A lot of users also find them less intimidating than forums, IRC ad so on. Check out our meet ups page for a list of meet up groups and upcoming meet ups in your area. And if there is no meet up local to you, then now is a great time to get one started.
If you're a friendly type that enjoys giving 'no-nonense' advice, then sign up for our ambassadors programme. You're profile and interests will be listed with other ambassadors so that interested people can contact you (by phone, email or in person) to hear about your experiences and ask specific questions.
If you've used the forum, you'll know what a useful place it is to get your questions answered. But who are all those people answering questions? In case you hadn't guessed, it's people like you. Have a look at recent posts. Guaranteed there is a thread or question out there that could do with your thoughts and experiences. If there's a part of CiviCRM that you're particularly interested in, you can subscribe to the relevant forum board and answer questions as they are posted.
Have you ever thought that our documentation could do with a bit of love? Think back to when you were just starting out. What were the parts of CiviCRM that you wish were more clearly explained? Now that you're more familiar with CiviCRM, you're in a great positition to improve our documentation. Like our software, our documentation is open source and written by people like you.
In case you don't feel ready yet to write documentation, fresh eyes are incredibly useful and if you fancy a bite size task to get going, why not review a chapter or section of our user guide? Your comments on what is missing and what could be improved are invaluble and before you know it, you'll be writing and editing away. For more information, check out our pages describing how CiviCRM documentation gets written.
Internationalization and localization make it possible to use CiviCRM in languages and cultural environments other than American English. Our translation efforts are entirely dependent on people within specific localities who translate the interface into different languages. Our wiki pages on internationalisation are the best place to start. If you're curious about which languages are currently being translated, check out the online translation center.
CiviCRM is developer friendly. Our extension system, hooks and APIs are designed to allow you to extend CiviCRM without touching core files. If you (or your developer) has added functionality to CiviCRM, then please contribute it back as a published extension. Sharing your code means others can benefit from it - and improve it - on your behalf.
And if you have improvements for our core distribution, we'd love to hear from you. Individual patches and longer term commitments to improve the code are most welcome. Most of our planning happens on the Wiki. Development and bugs are managed on our issue tracker. Read our developer resources to get started.
There's no getting away from it - to be a successful open source project we need to find a way to fund our core activities and 'keep the lights on'. We need to co-ordinate and put to best use all the contributions that come from our community. Without decent server infrastructure, and a managed co-ordinated release cycle, we'd soon lose our way and the project would flounder. Here are a few different ways in which we fund these core activities.
CiviCRM wouldn't be where it is today without the amazing contributions of many different people and organisations around the world. It is an amazing collaborative effort and we want to thank everyone that has participated so far. Thank you!