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Version 1 - please comment

This is a living document. Does it resonate with you and your role in the community? What have we missed out? What should we cut out? How can we make this message more succinct, meaningful and inspiring? Whether you have been involved for years, or are just getting started, we want to hear from you.

We are currently at version 1 of both these documents. Your comments will be incorporated into later versions.

Please comment on this wiki page with any suggestions - thanks!


That all organizations - regardless of their size, budget, or focus - have access to an amazing CRM to engage their contacts and achieve their missions; that they own their data and their code; and that they can modify and extend their CRM without restriction.

CiviCRM is co-created by thousands of people around the world, and made freely available to all. By collaborating, we avoid reinventing the wheel, reduce costs, and can combine our skills, experiences, and innovations into an incredible tool for use by tens of thousands of organizations around the world.

We value:


We create high quality, reliable, easy to use software that works seamlessly across different platforms and devices.

Openness and flexibility

We are an open reliable platform that can be modified, extended and integrated with other technologies by our community of implementers and developers.


CiviCRM helps organizations to protect their contacts' information, and will always be privacy-friendly.


A welcoming community, where people feel at home from day one, and it is simple for people to contribute back.

Documentation and support

Full documentation and a diversity of support options so people can get started quickly, and always have a choice of places to look for help.

A key measure of our success will always be the social good that CiviCRM generates, and the stories that we hear from organizations that are doing amazing and innovative things with CiviCRM.

Community guidelines

CiviCRM is built from the contributions of numerous people and organizations around the world. Our community is extremely diverse, with people from many different backgrounds, with many different motivations. These short and friendly guidelines aim to help people to get involved with our community, and understand how we work together, and what we expect of each other.


CiviCRM will always be freely available under an open source license with no associated license costs or ongoing fees. There are no restrictions on the types of organizations that can use our software.


We value courteous lively discussion both online (in forums, chat rooms and so on) and offline (at conferences, meet-ups, sprints etc.). We appreciate honest feedback and constructive criticism.


We value those that contribute to the project and get things done. Everyone is free to move the project forward in ways that make sense to them without asking for permission first. Any responsibility in our project can be carried by a contributor who demonstrates the required capacity and competence, and we encourage everyone to be a part of this culture. Sharing your knowledge and experience will help others, and also accelerate your own CiviCRM journey.

Our roadmap

Our roadmap is generated from the ground up by our community, and our priorities are set by doers and funders that are able to commit resources to moving things forward. While we listen to all opinions on the direction we should be heading, our developments are necessarily aligned with those that can make things happen.

The core team

The core team are focused on ensuring stability and momentum in our community. They manage our releases and our infrastructure, facilitate the community, and carry out other administrative tasks. Help is always welcome in carrying out this work (see do-ocracy above).


We collaborate whenever possible since this reduces redundancy and improves the quality of our work. Rather than ‘trying to do everything ourselves’, we align ourselves with complementary projects and organizations for mutual benefit, both inside and outside our community.

CiviCRM businesses

We promote businesses that provide CiviCRM services, especially those that contribute back to CiviCRM. We encourage all CiviCRM providers to structure their work in ways that benefit both their own businesses and the wider CiviCRM community.

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  1. Jul 04, 2014

    Thanks for clarifying Michael. I wasn't sure whether you wanted people to just get stuck in with edits or to add a comment, so I assumed that as you chose to use a wiki page you wanted a collaborative edit, so I went ahead on the basis that you could always roll back to an earlier revision. Now it's clear, and I'll add and further thoughts as comments.

    1. Jul 04, 2014

      No problem - they were good edits. Just thought it might be easier for people to see the conversation here and then we can incorprate all at a later stage.

  2. Jul 08, 2014

    About the vision

    I miss a reference to the quality of the software as part of the vision. Anyway, the "quality" concept may be considered to be already included in the "incredible" adjective. (wink)

    About the principles

    I'm not sure if what I'm going to say is agreed by the whole community, so it may have to be discussed before adding it.

    Some of the organizations that have chosen CiviCRM (as the EFF, or Amnesty International Spain, for instance) have said that one of the most important things why they (I mean, we) have chosen it, is because of the fact that we want to have control over our own data. My proposal is to include a reference to privacy, security of the information and vendor independence as a principle. Something like:

    • We promote the use of CiviCRM as a tool that empowers organizations, allowing them to own and protect their constituents information. CiviCRM core will always be privacy-friendly.

    I'm proposing this principle as long as it has a lot of consequences. For instance, when using third party libraries, we'll by default chose bundling versus referencing, as long as the second option implies information leaks.

    What do you think? Is it a general principle?

    P.S.: Not sure either if this idea belongs to vision, or principles!

  3. Jul 08, 2014

    Carlos - I think your addition to the Principles list is on target. It makes the 2nd sentence in the opening vision statement more explicit which is worth doing IMO. Of course we'll need the community to work together to be vigilant about 'privacy-friendliness' as the platform continues to evolve.

  4. Jul 08, 2014

    There's more than one way to do this but in my experience vision statements should be short & punchy but grand in their reach & ambition. A vision statement can then be augmented with a mission statement breaking that down a bit into how the vision will be realised and a values/principles statement about the way it should be realised.

    Vision = Why

    Mission = What

    Values/Principles = Way

    Here's a 15 minute rewrite of the above in the format I've used previously. I've also tweaked a bit so it's a bit more authoritative E.G. "We will" rather than "We'll try". There's probably a bit of overlap still with mission and values that could do with being teased out and I think the Values/principles could be a bit snappier.


    • CiviCRM will increase the amount of social good in the world


    • All non profit organizations, regardless of their size and budget will have access to a powerful, easy to use CRM to help them engage with their contacts.
    • We will share what we each create across our community we reduce everyone's costs.
    • We will give users incredible, easy-to-use, software that works out of the box across different platforms and devices
    • Our software will be freely available open source, so that organizations own their data and the code, and can modify and extend their CRM without restrictions.


    • CiviCRM will always be freely available under an open source license with no associated license costs or ongoing fees. 

    • There are no restrictions on the types of organizations that can use our software.

    • Our community will be a simple for people to contribute back
    • We strive to be an accessible, welcoming and fun community where people with many different skills and backgrounds participate and contribute effectively. We value courteous unprejudiced and lively discussion both online in forums, chat rooms and offline at conferences, meet ups and sprints.

    • We invite everybody to participate in the project and everyone is free to move the project forward in ways that make sense to them without asking for permission first. Any responsibility in our project can be carried by a contributor who demonstrates the required capacity and competence.

    • CiviCRM is built from contributions of many different shapes and sizes from numerous people and organizations around the world. We respect those that contribute to the project and keep things moving forward, and value people based on the work they have done. We all benefit from previous contributions and encourage everyone to be a part of this culture: your knowledge, experience, and innovations will help others, and also accelerate your own CiviCRM journey.

    • We encourage collaboration, which reduces redundancy and improves the quality of our work. We prefer to work transparently and involve interested parties as early as possible. Rather than trying to do everything ourselves, we work with other complementary projects and organisations for mutual benefit.

    • We promote successful businesses that provide CiviCRM services, and ask them to explore ways in which they can work that benefits both themselves and the wider CiviCRM community.

    • Our roadmap is generated from the ground up by our community. Although we listen to all opinions, our direction is ultimately set by the doers and funders that use our software on a daily basis, and commit resources to moving things forward.

    • Our core team is focused on ensuring stability and momentum in our community. Their focus is on release management, stable infrastructure, community management and project administration. They welcome involvement and support from the wider community in carrying out these essential tasks.

    1. Jul 08, 2014

      Forgot to say, great idea to produce one though! I feel they can really help organisations. 

  5. Jul 08, 2014

    I think Owen has begun down the right path. A mission, vision and values need to be memorable and simple enough that anyone who's been involved with CiviCRM could remember them easily. I also think they can cover a lot with a few words. I'd go something a bit more like:


    A world where doing good is the default.


    To make non profit organisations stronger by building the best CRM system.

    Values (IMPORTANTLY these go for both the community and the product)



    Easy to use



    If you still feel you need to write a big list of rules it should be in a constitution rather than as a set of principles. You should be able to take each of these and check that they fit with the values above, and are aiming towards the mission and vision. For example

    1.  CiviCRM will always be freely available under an open source license with no associated license costs or ongoing fees. 

    Open source is one way of delivering the Mission - but importantly it is an open, flexible, accessible way. So no 1 fits with the values and the mission so can be on the constitution (though I'd rewrite it).


    That's my tuppence worth anyway.



    1. Jul 08, 2014

      +1 A clearer & better articulation of the same thinking, freed from rewriting existing text.

  6. Jul 09, 2014

    re, "give developers a solid base that can be modified, extended and integrated with other technologies"

    I think "solid" is not used to describe software very often and so might be extraneous or missing its mark.

    To replace this item, I propose:

    We strive to:

    • steward an open platform that can be modified, extended and integrated with other technologies.
    • facilitate stability as well as innovation and code contributions from disparate developers.
    • foster an ecosystem of service providers who embrace and promote this vision.

    I suppose that last one is a bit of a different subject...


  7. Jul 10, 2014

    Thanks for putting this together.  In general it looks good.  I have one question and one comment....

    Question:  Once this is finalized how will it be utilized?

    Comment:  For the last bulleted value regarding the core team focus, I think you should add product management.





    1. Jul 10, 2014

      Thanks for the question and comment, Paul,

      Re: Once this is finalized how will it be utilized?

      We plan on updating our about us with this document.

      One use case is as a tool to help people understand what we are doing, and why. These people might be potential service providers, users, funders, etc. Hopefully it will excite them and encourage them to contribute / join us.  I think that a fair amount of this is implicit and takes time to find out. Hopefully making it public will speed up this process and get more people on board.

      I think there are other uses as well. Do you have any in mind in particular??

  8. Jul 11, 2014

    Agreed on Michael overall, except that 'stability' should be at least complemented by 'reliability', if not replaced. Stability is ambiguous and can be meant to say 'things do not change'. Reliable is unambiguous an means 'things do work in all circumstances'. From a user's and developer's perspective, reliability is key, while stability is debatable (good for developers in terms of the platform, probably less for users as they want to new features in the software)

    Also 'software' should refer more to the end-user experience, while 'platform' should refer to the APIs, hooks and technology stack in general

    And finally 'incredible' is vague and ambiguous ... how about feature-rich? And 'works out of the box' can also be less ambiguous as 'is compatible with'

    So how about:

    • We will give users feature-rich, easy-to-use, reliable software that is compatible with different platforms and devices

    • steward an open and reliable software that can be modified, extended and integrated with other technologies.
    • facilitate innovation and code contributions from disparate developers through a well-documented, stable platform.
  9. Jul 11, 2014

    I like Owen's take on this, which adds clarity - for me at least - and I like Thomas's rewrite as it is succinct, although in achieving that it may have lost some of the strength, richness and nuance of the initial draft.

    I don't agree with the vision statement proposed by Thomas : "A world where doing good is the default." I'd say this is perhaps too broad in its reach, and for me it doesn't speak of action. I prefer Owen's take on the vision statement: "CiviCRM will increase the amount of social good in the world" as it talks about us (the CiviCRM community) and what we will do.

    An alternative suggested mission statement:

    • To co-create the best open source CRM system that we can, freely available to all.

    And the values and principles (the ethical framework that sets out how we as a community go about achieving this mission, and also the values we seek to embed within the product):

    • Openness: The software will always be open source, and available without licensing fees. The members of the CiviCRM community will strive to work together constructively in a spirit of openness and honesty. We invite everybody to participate in the project and everyone is free to move the project forward in ways that make sense to them without asking for permission first. Any responsibility in our project can be carried by a contributor who demonstrates the required capacity and competence.
    • Accessibility: A welcoming community and a product that aims to be easy to use. We value courteous unprejudiced and lively discussion both online and at offline events (conferences, meet-ups sprints, etc.).
    • Enabling: as a community we will facilitate useful contributions of any form, and as a product CiviCRM exists to enable user organisations to achieve their mission whilst retaining full ownership and control of their data.
    • Cooperative: By collaborating and sharing we create a better product for everyone at lower cost.

    Some of the points in Michael's list above perhaps relate more to the core team than to the broader community, so on the assumption that this statement is aiming to be something that all community members could sign up to, I've left those out. I don't pretend that this is comprehensive.

  10. Jul 11, 2014

    Since it has been critiqued, I want to stand up for using the phrase "incredible software". True, it is vague, but this is not always a bad thing. In this case, it makes it clear that there ought to be a striving in the community.

    It is asking a lot for stable/reliable software that is also incredible. Though the lack of the former seriously undercuts the latter. I think the vision should ask a lot of the community.

    On the topic of verbosity – I agree with Thomas that the vision should be memorable, but not that it should be so terse. We can come up with catchy headers that are easy to remember, but a vision with depth will be more compelling.

    1. Jul 11, 2014

      I'm a fan of 'incredible', a vision and a mission should stretch people.

  11. Aug 12, 2014

    Hey there,

    Thanks for all the input so far.  We will aim to incorporate all of it into the final draft. A couple of further thoughts from me having now had some distance, and mulled over it for a while

    Thomas said "If you still feel you need to write a big list of rules it should be in a constitution rather than as a set of principles." I do like the idea of something along these lines. A "big list of rules" sounds a bit pejorative. Something like or is useful in setting the scene for new (and existing people) that want to get on board and understand how we work together IMO.  Definitley different from the vision and it makes me wonder if we should have it on separate pages.

    I think there is a fair amount of overlap in some of the later principles and I'd like them to be clearer, and more obviously addressing different aspects.

    In terrms of next steps, we should spend a bit of time pulling together the feedback and sticking into a final document.  We'll likely have a Skype call and then someone will go away and incorperate suggested changes. Let me know if you want to help out with this by the 20th August.  We'll then do the work and get a final draft published in appropriate places.


  12. Sep 09, 2014

    Hey folks,

    Thanks to everyone that has commented so far.  I went through the comments (here on the wiki and in the blog and attempted to incorporate all of them.  As you can imagine, was kind of a challenge. I hope most stuff was taken account of, if not verbatim, in spirit.

    I've incremented the version number to 1 and it is now live on the website (at and Please keep these docs in mind as you continue to work on CiviCRM and comment as you see fit and we can continue to evolve the vision.  I suggest we wait for a few comments to accumulate before publishing a new version (unless something urgently needs changing).

    In the interests of openness and continuing the debate, and so you know where your comments ended up, some comments on the rewrite below.

    • One big change is the split into two independent documents - one which describes what we are creating (vision), and the other that talks about how we work together / how we are creating it (community guidelines). There is a bit of repetition between the two docs but that is OK IMO.
    • Following Owen and Thomas, both docs are now shorter and have increased punchiness (changed try/aim etc. to will/do etc.). I suspect it isn't as short as you guys would like but I thought it was important to keep some of the explanation, supporting stuff, etc.
    • The vision has an opening sentence, which is inspired by Owen, Thomas and Graham, which is followed by a short para about how we work and then some values.  The values are both single words, and sentences. I hope that satisfies both those that like theshort and sweet stuff and those that like longer explanations. Personally, I like both ;)
    • FYI since we are on the subject of short catchy sentences, we have been talking about replacing "Growing and sustaining communities" with some more compelling tag-lines for use in marketing contexts.  I think that will take the pressure off this document to be so 'catchy'.
    • Words like incredible and amazing are restricted to the opening paragraphs where I agree that it is OK to have inspirational and stretching words.  Later on they are replaced with more formal words like 'high quality'.
    • Following Carlos,there is now a privacy bullet - thanks Carlos (smile)
    • Following Michael D, openness and flexibility is a bullet in our vision (the other two were covered in the first, second and last bullets I think)
    • The measure of success bullet is moved from the community guidelines to the end of the vision since it wasn't really a guideline and is more 'visionary'.
    • Following Nicolas, stability is replaced with reliability when talking about software (but kept it for the community section, where it is paired with momentum).
    • Following Nicolas, software and platform are used for end users and developers, respectively.

    A couple of final thoughts

    • Graham - you were saying that you thought some of the bullets just applied to the core team - I'm interested to know which ones - it was all intended for everyone.  Hopefully, the intro to the Community guidelines makes this explicit now but let me know what you think
    • Erik - you asked about the the term 'all organisations' and whether we should further define it as the non-profit/social enterprise focus.  This is a recurring theme in CiviCRM.  I see it like this: it is true that a lot (more than likely the majority) of people using CiviCRM are working with these types of organisations and many are doing so not primarily for financial reasons.  At the same time, we want the system to be as open as possible.  We don't want, for example, for a political organisation, or trade association, or CSR department of a law firm, or some other type of organisation yet to spring into existence to be put off something that they think is 'just for non profits'. For this reason, I don't think we should define it further.  Also, as soon as you start defining it, you have to use at least 3 terms, and you always end up missing out some type of organisation.  Having said all that, I think that if you read around the vision, you will see a fair amount of phrases such as "engage their contacts and achieve their missions", "A key measure of success will always be the social good that CiviCRM generates", use of the word "Organisations" (.org) rather than "Businesses" or "Companies" (.com) and so on, that makes it obvious that CiviCRM is not your typical for profit CRM.
    • Eileen and everyone that was involved in the own your data conversation in the blog comments - I wasn't sure what if anything we need to change in these documents in response to your comments - let me know if you have any ideas.

    Thanks again to everyone that inputed. I hope I've done your ideas justice.


  13. Sep 08, 2014

    (thumbs up)  (applauding) ... FANTASTIC job Michael!

  14. Sep 08, 2014

    On first read-through this looks like an excellent job, so congratulations on that Michael - no easy task.

    The pedant in me won't allow the few very minor typos to pass, and as they are very minor and don't affect the sense of the statement in any way I'll edit those shortly myself (unless someone else gets there before me).

    1. Sep 08, 2014

      Thanks. That would be great, Graham. Feel free to correct typos here and on if you have permission (if not, let me know and I will give you permission).

  15. Sep 09, 2014

    First, Great Job!. I like it a lot, especially the break-out into Vision and Community Guidelines.


    I propose for Openness and Flexibility:

    "We are an open AND reliable platform that can be modified, extended and integrated with other technologies by implementers and developers and easily configured to suite varied needs."

    Because as is it only talks about integration with other technologies, unlike the title implies.

    I propose for Privacy:

    ...and will always be privacy-friendly

    "... and will enable sound privacy practices and community awareness of the same."

    Because... "alway"... yeah right. And "privacy-friendly" doesn't mean anything to me. It will always be very easy to violate or be cavalier about privacy with CiviCRM.

  16. Oct 20, 2015

    Somewhere in there needs to be an indication that this not an English only project. 'Multi-lingual', or 'Localizable into your language', or 'available in x languages' or something along those lines is important for a sizeable portion of our current and future user base.

    For example, perhaps change the first sentence from

    That all organizations – regardless of their size, budget, or focus – have access to an amazing CRM to engage their contacts and achieve their missions;


    That all organizations – regardless of their size, budget or focus – have access to an amazing CRM to engage their contacts in their language of choice and achieve their missions;

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