This chapter will help you to decide whether CiviCRM is the right tool for your organisation.
CiviCRM is powerful software and has the potential to help your organisation reach its goals - but it won't be the right choice for every organisation. Here are some ways that you can find out whether CiviCRM is right for your organisation:
If you know of another organisation that uses CiviCRM, talk to them about their experience. Obviously the more similar they are to your organisation, the better. If you don't know anyone that is using CiviCRM, have a look on the CiviCRM forums, at case studies on the community site, or try your local non-profit technology mailing list.
The CiviCRM forums (http://forum.civicrm.org) have a few boards for people who are new to CiviCRM, such as "Pre-installation Questions" (http://forum.civicrm.org/index.php/board,5.0.html). Remember that the forums are staffed mainly by volunteers so you will get a better response if you spend some time formulating an easily answerable question. You can also search the forums and browse for questions that others have asked. If you wish to ask questions or contribute to the discussions you must register first.
Another option to help you understand CiviCRM is to make use of a professional. The CiviCRM website lists professional vendors and consultants that can walk you through CiviCRM (http://civicrm.org/professional), and there are many others; you may find a local website company who has experience with CiviCRM. Consider hiring a consultant for a day to discuss with you how CiviCRM could help your organisation.