CiviCRM on a Budget


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In contrast to large NGO's, government entities, and multi-million dollar foundations, many of CiviCRM's users are tiny, almost microscopic, in comparison. Some offices house but a handful of employees and volunteers - or maybe just one! These organizations flock to CiviCRM not only because of the outrageous cost of other software, but also for Civi's full features. Smaller users are valuable members of the community and their gratitude is evidenced in the MIH honor roll.

Many of these non-profits have been using a tangled mess of spreadsheets and databases since the 90s. They've cobbled together various paid services for email, donations and event registration that have changed corporate hands so many times no one knows what they are called anymore. CiviCRM provides a 'way out' and a 'way forward' to open source freedom and web & data integration for small non-profits. This session is their story - and what I've learned during four years working with them.


  • Smaller nonprofits who are exploring CiviCRM as a solution.
  • Developers and implementers interested in learning how to cater to the smaller market.
  • Smaller nonprofits using CiviCRM who wish to expand use without breaking the bank.
  • Smaller nonprofits who have implemented CiviCRM but are struggling to make it work for them.


Keeping your goals realistic

  • Decide what you need vs. want
  • Intentifying money wasters and time savers
  • The ZEN of software: when to stop paddling upstream and just go with the flow
  • Making and breaking your budget

Best hosting for smaller nonprofits

  • Shared vs. VPS vs. DIY
  • Fixed cost fixation and the hidden costs of getting it wrong
  • Learning the Hard Way (aka "Why #%&@ing GoDaddy won't work!")

Data management

  • Understanding de-dupe rules and merging with success
  • Establishing practices that breed good data
  • How to do honor/memory the right way

Choosing a payment processor that won't annoy the heck out of you

Training your staff

  • The four types of staff: naturals, regulars, tinkerers, and disasters
  • Keeping a library of knowledge

Managing memberships

  • Building a membership system that works and grows
  • Automation you might not know about

Maintenance, backup, versions and upgrades

  • How will I know? (Dedicated to Whitney Houston...)
  • Keeping safe without breaking the bank

Schedule info

Time slot: 
2 April 10:10 - 11:00
Kinzie East

Thanks to our Gold Sponsors

This site was archived on 2016-02-10.