Get started

Getting started with CiviCRM couldn't be easier. Here are some simple steps to get you going:

  • Get hosted CiviCRM - getting your organization a hosted CiviCRM takes minutes and is a great way to get started along the CiviCRM road. You can then start setting up donation campaigns, importing historical data, and on and 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 organisations 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)
  • Find out if CiviCRM is right for you - if you're not quite ready to start using CiviCRM and have questions on whether it is right for you, have a look at our suggestions below on things you can do 'before you dive in'.
  • Attend a CiviCRM training event put on by one of our partners

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.

Before you dive in

Have questions about CiviCRM? Want to know whether it would work for your organisation? Here are a few ways you can get your questions answered before you dive in.

  • 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

Downloading CiviCRM

As an open source project, you are free to download CiviCRM and install it yourself. This might sound like the cheapest and best option for organizations with little or no budget but in most cases we think it is much more time consuming and therefore much more expensive in real terms, and recommend working with a hosting provider that can look after the technical side of things for you.  This helps you concentrate on using CiviCRM to acheive your mission. Of course, you can also take advantage of our free peer support through our documentation and question and answer site, but let the experts do the hosting.

Many CiviCRM providers offer free trials and month-by-month billing so you'll be free to leave at any time and take your data with you if you decide that you want to host yourself.

We only recommend downloading and installing CiviCRM yourself for those with a solid background in hosting websites and web-applications.