We are a small NGO with three full time office staff and currently a few hundred supporters. Most of our income is from grant makers, we have approx details of approx 250 grant making trusts and foundations on our system.

Our website was previously Wordpress but has been migrated to Squarespace.

We currently take online donations through Virgin Money Giving

None of our office staff are particularly strong with IT.

Is it feasible for us to get CiviCRM and without incurring huge costs for hosting/consultants etc?

Would you recommend it?

Is there an obvious more basic alternative?

We need something through which we can engage with supporters but also track our funding applications to other charities and institutions.


4 Answers 4


first of all: I think you would be able to run CiviCRM without too much IT expertise or huge (subjective term though) consultancy costs. I would recommend you to contact a local CiviCRM partner and discuss your needs and costs with them. It does largely depend on your own requirements. If you realise you have a tight budget and it means you will adapt your processes to core CiviCRM rather than the other way around you will be able to keep the costs manageable (and that goes for every other bit of software too).

One issue could be your Squarespace website thought if you expect website integration with CiviCRM. CiviCRM runs within either Wordpress, Drupal or Joomla!. So out of the box website integration will not be possible. What might be feasible though (and we have a few customers that do this) is to run your public facing website on Squarespace and run CiviCRM on a (dummy) Drupal/Worpress/Joomla! site, adapt the look and feel and show the CiviCRM pages whenever an event registration or membership renewal has to be done (or something along those lines)


Thanks for your interest in CiviCRM. Without knowing more about your specific circumstances it is difficult to say whether CiviCRM is a good fit in your particular case.

As Erik suggests, I would recommend having a conversation with one or more local partners to discuss whether it would fit your needs. There is usually no charge for an initial conversation and they should be able to give you a ball park figure for implementation and hosting. Hiring a consultant can often be a cost effective investment in the long-term as they can help you to make better use of the system.

Whatever CRM system you choose it is going to involve some costs to your organisation and it is important to be realistic about this. By their nature CRM systems are fairly complex. You should factor in not only the costs of set up, but also staff training, hosting and ongoing support. You should also consider the time you have available to implement the system.

As to alternatives, this is difficult to say without knowing your requirements. If you are based in the UK I would suggest looking at this list of CRM software for charities.


In support of both Erik and William's responses, definitely have an initial conversation with a consultant. What Erik says is key: "If you realise you have a tight budget and it means you will adapt your processes to core CiviCRM rather than the other way around you will be able to keep the costs manageable (and that goes for every other bit of software too)." If your staff is not particularly strong with IT, this is where you may wish to consider investing time in a consultant who will do that initial set up for you and train your users - while it is a powerful system, CiviCRM is not intuitive and will require on-going maintenance that your staff may neither be inclined nor has the time to tackle.

Hope this helps!


The lightweight CiviGrants component in CiviCRM can be fairly easily modified from tracking grants given by your organization to tracking grants being sought by your organization.

CiviCRM does not have native integration with SquareSpace, which makes me think CiviCRM may not be a good fit for you as you want some public facing pages for things like accepting donations and likely signing up for newsletter, etc. If you go with CiviCRM then I'd recommend using a WordPress/CiviCRM installation on a subdomain of your site (eg crm.yourdomain.org) for public facing pages, eg donation pages.

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