The situation is that we have 2 separate non-profit sport organizations. Org A has 1000 paid members and 10000 contacts. They are just now starting the process to switch to CiviCRM as their membership is in a large spreadsheet. CiviMember will likely be a key tool of Org A. I am on the technical committee of Org A.

Org B is a completely separate non-profit created specifically for an annual event that Org A is sponsoring financially next year, and with volunteers from Org A's list of contacts. CiviEvent will be a key tool of Org B. I am the president of Org B.

Currently, Org B has no list of contacts list at all as it is new. We want to keep some organizational separation between A and B, since they are both separate legal entities, and also because in the future there may be little or no need to link them. They both currently have separate web sites, FB pages, etc and both Orgs will be using WordPress.

There are some commercial membership software that allow "sub-accounts", that is, a parent organization with sub-organizations. I do not believe this to be the case with CiviCRM, but correct me if I'm wrong. Also, I don't see any built-in way to "link" 2 CiviCRM instances unless one does custom development, again correct me if I'm wrong.

My question is, if Org A has their own CiviCRM and Org B has our own CiviCRM installation, would it be best to manage volunteers for Org B's event in Org A's CiviCRM, or just maintain separate CiviCRMs and export those volunteers over to Org B's?

(or is there another solution I'm missing?)

EDIT: after doing a bit more research, I did find some info on WordPress Multi-site, but since both Orgs are hosted with different web hosts I don't think that will work for us, again correct me if I'm wrong.



I am by no means an expert or experienced with multi-site or multi-org implementations but this is my take on it.

If the two Orgs were going to be perpetually involved with each other then it would make sense to setup one Civicrm instance and share the database. Utilizing the Multi-site and Multi-org settings found here.

However, since the two Orgs will not be perpetually involved that doesn't really make sense (at least to me). I would, if I were implementing this instance, setup Civi for each Org separately. I would obtain an export (hoping Org A allows it) of their contacts and import those contacts into the Org B's Civi install for an initial load. That way you would start out with identical contact databases. You could occasionally obtain an export from Civi OrgA's contacts and import into Org B's civi install utilizing a de-dupe rule.

You could also, if you have a developer or want to pay for it, create an extension or script that would sync the contact databases at regular intervals.


To me it does not make sense to have 2 separate CiviCRM's? I assume you actually want to make sure you know if one individual is involved with both organizations, so it would make sense to have one overall CiviCRM behind the screens if you like.

If you take that approach you might think about these alternatives for your websites:

  1. For security reasons some organizations want to separate their public facing website from their back office database. These organizations have their public facing website(s) on other servers than their CiviCRM, and develop (or have someone develop) a service that allows their relevant pages or forms to communicate with CiviCRM using the API
  2. You might want to have one CiviCRM (probably the org A one) with a CiviCRM on the same server, and develop (or have developed) some event forms that communicate with CiviCRM for org B.
  3. You might include the event forms created on the CiviCRM/Website of Org A as a iframe on Org B's server. This you could do without any actual coding but does required some knowledge on how to set this up.

I do recommend you involve a CiviCRM partner in the decision on where to go, you can find one near you on https://civicrm.org/partners-contributors

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