After this session, participants should understand what CiviCRM is and be able to find their way around basic CiviCRM screens.


Specific objectives

Learning points

You should aim to cover the following points in this session:

Session plan

This session should last 60 minutes.

Depending on how advanced the class is, the getting around the user interface may last less time than noted.  In this case, there are plenty of more challenging / exploratory exercises that students can do in the handout.  Also, you might want to chat with students who have finished exercises about existing implementations / needs.


Get some slides up that illustrate various places that people can / should go to ask for help and find out more, e.g.


Outline that in this session, we'll talk about the following things

Mention that if you have used CiviCRM before, you might find this a bit slow, but actually, you should pay attention because you might have missed something 'obvious' until now.

About CiviCRM (5)

Some key points to get across and expand upon.


The CiviCRM community (10)

Ask learners how they are getting support for their CiviCRM.  If the following examples don't come up, it is probably worth mentioning them.

Show learners the CiviCRM website and StackExchange and encourage them to post questions online and make use of StackExchange.

Explain that CiviCRM is not like a lot of software that people might be used to, that you 'buy in a shop' - instead it is freely available to download.

Explain what open source means in the CiviCRM context.

At this point it is also worthwhile mentioning any events that have been happening locally and any events that are coming up.

The user interface (5)

Point out the following parts of the user interface, and show them in action

LOG IN! <- this one is important. Log in and then show the relationship between a contact in CiviCRM and a user in Drupal.


CiviCRM basics (20 minutes)

Explain that you'll be covering some of the basics of CiviCRM. Good to write these on the board.

Don't go into the details of how these can be configured or extended at the moment (we'll cover that in Organising data).  At the moment, we just want people to see that they exist.


Show a contact screen and talk through the summary tab.

Also show people how you can create a new

It's important for people to realise that individuals, households and organistions are all grouped together into contacts.  i.e. contacts aren't just individuals.  You can illustrate this by brainstorming times that it would be useful to see them in the same list, i.e. get the emails of all contacts that we have in a particular city so we can email them (regardless of whether they are organisations or individuals), but some times when you want to see them separately, e.g., 'show me all the organisations that provide human rights advice'.


Show that from the contact screen, you can add an activity with this contact and that once you filled this in, it will appear on the activities tab.


Show the relationships tab and explain that relationships are a good way to join two contacts together in CiviCRM

Groups and tags

A good way to introduce groups and tags by comparing them to relationships: 'While relationships are good for connecting two contacts together, what about when you want to connect 200 contacts together'?

Explain that groups and tags are one of the main ways of segmenting contacts in CiviCRM and ask people why they might want to segment contacts.

People tend to get quite hung up on the difference between groups and tags.  Tell people that we'll go more into the differences between them in the 'Organising data' session.

Exercises (20)

Learners should now complete the exercises so they are familiar with getting around CiviCRM.