Is SuiteCRM a solution for my non-profit grant making org?

Hi there. I run a small grant making organisation. In short, we have a bunch of money and we give grants to individual researchers for projects lasting between 3 months to 3 years, and we’ve given grants to over 200 individuals, all of whom I have info for on spreadsheets.

Ideally I’d like to switch from using very large, unwieldy spreadsheets, to some sort of database system. I assume CRM of some sort might be the way to go, but at the same time, most CRMs have a lot of stuff going on in them that seems irrelevant (our grant awardees are not customers, afterall, so all these tabs saying ‘marketing’, ‘sales’, ‘leads’, etc. are not relevant).

I considered making something of my own in mysql or something (I am technically fairly proficient)… but maybe something like SuiteCRM is the way to go?

My first question is what does the community here think, could SuiteCRM work for me and will it be easily customisable to my purposes?

Such customisation would include… stripping out the tabs at the top saying marketing/sales/leads and being able to customise the ‘contacts’ to include our awardees with extra award info, e.g. “date started”, “date ended”, “type of grant”, “total award value of grant”, “research output” (which would be their publications), etc. So really, it’s a case of whether SuiteCRM can be stripped back like this to focus on only contacts (awardees) and tasks (reminders that x awardee needs to do y on such-and-such date)…

Or, perhaps there’s a simpler solution out there and SuiteCRM is not suited to this?

Would love to hear some advice!

p.s. Although technically proficient, I’ve never really used CRM much.

Yes you could use SuiteCRM for this. You can remove unwanted modules from menus, and you can customize existing modules to better fit your needs. If you can get some help with this design process, the better.

You can simply ask questions here, or if want something more structured and in-depth, you can hire consultancy for this.

Do you have an installed test SuiteCRM system you can play with? That is helpful to understand the possibilities.

Thanks @pgr !

I have started to look a demo and it looks very useful.

I will take your points onboard but if I might ask one more question:

This would be very worthwhile if we could also track payments made to our awardees (each who would be a contact in the database)… is there a plugin that could track a) individual payments to each contact e.g. $xxxxx on y date, $xxxxx on z date and b) track overall award value plus amount outstanding?

If the system could also do this and we could export the information as part of our accounting schedule that would seriously help us B-)

thanks again!

You can explore these modules:


At least they handle money :slight_smile:

Maybe you could create (manually or automatically) a bunch of Invoices for each Awardee, with dates and amounts, and then set it as “Paid” once the money was transferred.

An alternative would be to use Quotes for unpaid money, and then use the “convert to Invoice” when it is payed.

But remember this is not an accounting product, so it will always feel deficient for tracking money, unless it’s a very simple process.

You’ll have to explore these options I mention (and others you come up with) while looking for the Reports and Exports that allow you to integrate with Accounting in a way that you find convenient.

Again, if you’re willing to spend some money you can buy more professional customizations. Tell me if you want to be contacted by SalesAgility to discuss this kind of job (but I don’t mind continuing to answer your questions here if not, that’s ok).

I’m a CRM admin for a private firm plus a non-profit. For the private firm we use SuiteCRM and it’s perfect. For our non-profit, we use [other software]. It’s free for up to 10 users with a healthy discount over 10.

If you’re registered and have a recent form 990, then you can apply for non profit and go [other software]. Lots of support there and it’s all about donations, donors, etc.

With some work and customization you can totally get SuiteCRM to work not a problem.

Either way you’re in the right place.

@rdolishny please edit your post to remove references to competing products, that’s against forum policies. We’ve had competitors come here just to promote their products… I know that is not your case but I would appreciate it if you could edit the text anyway. Thanks.

Noted but I can’t find an edit button. Please edit to replace the entire product name with ***.

Thanks for everyone’s input. I’ve been looking at SuiteCRM and one other potential solution.

I have one further question though… I am relatively proficient with web server admin and am not worried about running my own installation of SuiteCRM… but what sort of server resources are needed? I only have a fairly basic virtual server/hosting service and I am worried this might not be enough to run SuiteCRM smoothly?

Second, is there anyone out there who offers a cloud hosted service for SuiteCRM? It be more ideal to just pay for it to be hosted by someone who is running the service in a way optimised for SuiteCRM, rather than me attempting to roll my own and finding out in 6 months that it’s just too slow to use?