we downloaded and installed civicrm a few years ago, and have a recollection of being able to manage multiple organizations through one installation... is that still "a thing"? We are envisioning creating a central arts database in our community and collaborating more closely on fundraising among all the arts organizations who would like to participate.

we would, of course, want to be able to keep the contacts (and donations) for each organization separated, and track which org referred which donor to who...

please advise if i am completely delusional :)

  • So more than a year later and we still have not been able to move forward on this. Thanks for all the input... i still WANT to move this forward so including it in a digital strategy proposal. Would there be any downside to MultiSite usage if we do indeed want each org to have it's own login? I don't necessarily envision a single administrator for all the data, but maybe?? i'm trying to sort out a lot of different details & requests, and make the best decision. Probably need to find funding to hire a civiExpert :) Many thanks. Nov 6, 2017 at 17:57

3 Answers 3


A lighter-weight solution to this (imo) is to use the Permissioned Relationship approach, which can be used to limit User A - who has a Permissioned Relationship to Organisation A - to only access Contacts that Org A has a permissioned relationship over.

This deploys very well without the wiring involved in multisite (imo) and hence is more approachable for 'beginners' (and for advanced folk who need a lighter weight solution.

Beauty of this solution is that it can scale really easily afaik. And for Drupal sites, together with Webforms and Views and whatnots can let delegates of Orgs manage their contacts without actually ever needing to set foot on the civi side.


Totally making sense! One way to keep different sub/organizations in your civicrm is via Membership type - each Organization can have its on Memberhsip types - even if you make that a free one - you will have a way to connect Individuals to sub/Organizations; for example: you can pull reports that select Individuals with a specific Membership to an organization and show what monies they contributed year to date;


KarinG's answer is good, but I think that implicit in your question is that you want to give all the arts organizations access to CiviCRM - but enforcing separation of their contacts/donors.

If that's the case, what you want is to use the "multisite" functionality. This is designed for pretty much exactly this use case, and I have two clients who use it in exactly this way.

Multisite is very much a thing, and has even been getting some great improvements recently, with more coming from the folks at Cividesk soon! That said, multisite isn't a task for a CiviCRM beginner!

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