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Introduction to CiviCRM

Background of CiviCRM

CiviCRM is an open source CRM built by a community of contributors and supporters, and coordinated by the Core Team. CiviCRM is web-based software used by a diverse range of organisations, particularly not-for-profit organizations (nonprofits and civic sector organizations). CiviCRM offers a complete feature set out of the box and can integrate with your website.

CiviCRM is created and used by a global community of tens of thousands of individuals and organisations. Our vision is that 'all organisations – regardless of their size, budget, or focus – have access to an amazing CRM to engage their contacts and achieve their missions'. Our roadmap outlines the shorter term goals we are implementing to acheive our vision.

Information and Support

There is an excellent, community maintained, User Guide available in the official CiviCRM documentation (

If you can't find what you need in there - there is a Stack Exchange site where you may find just the answer you are looking for. There's a search bo x there - you may find it very beneficial to open an account there - so you can be notified when there are answers to questions that you show an interest in (

If you find something broken in CiviCRM, you can report it to the GitLab issue queue, although this is not such a straightforward task. The CiviCRM GitLab instance is here:


Your user account and contact record

  1. Find the contact associated with your user (admin) and add your details to that contact record.

Contacts, activities and relationships

  1. Create a record for a co-worker and your employer in your CiviCRM. For each contact, make sure to include:
    • email
    • phone number
    • postal address
  2. Schedule a meeting with your co-worker for this time next week.
  3. Add the activities dashlet to your dashboard. Can you see your meeting in this dashlet?
  4. Cancel the meeting (don't delete it, just cancel it). What happens to your activities dashlet?
  5. Have a look at the co-worker record you created above. Is their employer recorded? If not, record their employer now.
  6. Your co worker volunteered with another organisation from 2009 to 2011 - create the new organisation and record this as a relationship. Have a look at your co-workers relationship tab to check that their relationships are up to date

Groups and tags

  1. How many people are in the newsletter subscribers group?
  2. Create mailing labels for the newsletter on Avery L7160 label paper.
  3. How many labels did it produce? Is this different to the amount of people in the group, and if so, why?
  4. You just chatted with your co-worker and they are interested in helping out more. Create a new group call 'Active volunteers' and add them to this group.
  5. Find all contacts with the 'Volunteers' tag and add them to the 'Active volunteers' group (note that you don't have to add them one at a time).
  6. Since you now have both a tag and a group referring to volunteers, to avoid confusion, it probably makes sense to delete the 'Volunteers' tag.

Smart groups

  1. Find all people who were 'no-shows' for any of the events you have run and create a new Smart group for these people called 'no shows'. Have a look at the members of the smart group.
  2. On your event dashboard, find a contact that was registered for an event and change their status to 'no show'. Now have a look at your 'no shows' smart group - what do you notice?

You can find more information on smart groups here:


If you need help with CiviCRM, check out the following resources:

  • - a good place to start
  • - comprehensive user documentation
  • - a free question and answer site
  • - events around the world where you can meet other civicrm users and experts
  • - experienced professionals that offer CiviCRM services