When adding new users to your Virtuous database, you’ll need to select a permission group to assign to each user. Each Virtuous instance comes pre-loaded with three permission groups:

  • Admin
  • No financial data
  • User

The Admin permission group, as the name implies, has the ability to see and do everything in Virtuous, and modify configuration settings. The abilities of the Admin group cannot be modified. When managing users, it’s important to strike the right balance. Having just one Admin is generally too few, but having too many Admins can also cause a number of problems. The recommended number Admin users is typically around 2-3, with one primary Admin and one or two backups.

The No financial data and User groups are set up to allow users restricted access, without seeing any giving or financial information (No financial data), or for basic user access (User). Either of these permission group can be modified by an Admin. Just click on the edit icon to the right of either group. To learn more about the various permission options, see below.

In addition to modifying the default system groups, Admins can also create any number of additional permission groups. Just click on the "Create a Permission Group" button in the upper-right.

You'll see the option to create a new custom group from scratch, or start with an existing template.

Select the template option, and you'll see four base templates that can be used as-is, or with some modifications. Just enter a name for your new group, and you'll be in business.

If you opt to create a new custom group, you’ll be prompted to enter a name for the new group and a description. Use the description as a way to communicate with other Admins just what your new permission group is for. Then, click save to go to the edit screen.

Whether creating a new group or editing an existing group, you’ll be taken to the Permission edit screen. There, across the top of the screen, you’ll see all of the various object in Virtuous. Click on each to configure the specific permissions you’d like to select for your group.

For most objects, the permission settings include three basic abilities:

  • Read - The ability to view specific data or features. Users without any permissions for certain features, like the Merge Tool, will not see those features at all in the left side menu.
  • Write - The ability to create OR edit specific data or records. Users with Write permission on Contacts, for example, will be able to edit Contact data like addresses, names, or phone numbers, and they will also be able to add new Contact records to Virtuous entirely.
  • Delete - The ability to delete specific data or records. This should be strictly limited.

Some objects will have additional permissions. Check out each section below to learn more about these features.


Campaign permissions only include settings for Read, Write, and Delete.


Contact permissions do not include the Read permission, as this permissions is assumed for anyone who will be working in your CRM. There is a Delete permission setting, even though Contact records cannot be deleted, only archived. The Delete permission here covers actions like deleting Contact Methods, Tags, Addresses, and other Contact details. Other permissions in this section include:

  • Bulk edit - This allows users to perform bulk actions and edits from the results of Contact queries. Note that doing so requires BOTH the Bulk Edit permission AND Write permission.
  • View Private - Most Contacts will be public, as that is the default, but users may choose to create specific Contact records as private Contacts, generally to protect sensitive information or protect the privacy of public figures. Private Contacts can only be viewed by Admins, and users with the “View Private” permission.
  • Audit Logs - On each Contact record, there is an “Account History” on the right listing edits and other actions taken, and the user who completed them. For any user other than an Admin to see it, they will need the Audit Log permission enabled.
  • Restrict task by Owner - The “eyes on your own work” permission, this restricts users from seeing any tasks other than their own on a Contact record.
  • View Wealth - Users will need this permission enabled in order to view DonorSearch data or other external data imported to the wealth data section on a Contact record.

Contact Note

Contact Note permissions are separate from Contact permissions, to allow users without Contact Write permission to still document activity. In addition to the Read, Write, and Delete permissions, Contact Note settings include:

  • Default to Private - Some users may need to exclusively use Private Notes. Enabling this permission will set all notes created by a user to Private by default.
  • View Private - Private notes can only be seen by Admins, the user who creates the note, and anyone with the “View Private” permission enabled.


These settings only apply for organizations using Virtuous Email. The options include:

  • Manage Email List Settings - Users with this enabled can create and edit Email Lists for your organization.
  • Subscribe Contact Individuals - Users with this permission can add Individuals to existing Lists.
  • Unsubscribe Contact Individuals - Only users with this permission can manually unsubscribe Individuals from Lists.


Event permissions only include settings for Read, Write, and Delete.


Only users with Virtuous Forms included in their subscription will see this option. The only settings included are Read, Write, and Delete.


The settings available for Gift permissions include Read, Write, and Delete, as well as some additional options for restricting access and visibility. The settings include:

  • Bulk Edit - This allows users to perform bulk actions and edits from the results of Gift queries. As with the Contact Bulk Edit, making bulk updates requires BOTH the Bulk Edit permission AND Write permission. However, users with Bulk Edit who DO NOT have Write permission WILL be able to receipt Gifts in bulk for the results of a Gift query.
  • Restrict by Project - In some cases, it may be necessary to limit some users' visibility, allowing them to only see certain Gifts. The Restrict by Project option will ONLY allow users to Gifts, or even portions of Gift, designated to Projects where that user is an Owner. For more on setting Project Owners, see our article on creating Projects.
  • View Private - Unlike private Contacts or Contact Notes, users without the "View Private" permission can still see private Gifts, but they won't be also to see who the giver is. Private gifts are a way to identify anonymous Gifts. Users with this permission enabled will be able to see the full Gift details, including donor info, just as Admins do.
  • View Statistics - The life-to-date giving totals visible in the header of Contact records, and the data shown in many dashboards reports and widgets, are all statistics, based on Gift data. The View Statistics permission is necessary for viewing financial data and reports. Similarly, this should not be enabled for any users who do not have access to financial data.

Gift Ask

Because Gift Asks are so closely related to Gifts, the permission settings include the same ability to Restrict by Project, in addition to the basic Read, Write, and Delete options.


These permissions apply to the Grant Management section of Virtuous, and include just the standard Read, Write, and Delete settings.


The Import permissions control access to the Gift & Contact Import tool, and include just the standard Read, Write, and Delete settings. However, in order for a user to access the tool and perform Gift entry, they must have not only Read and Write permission for Imports, but also Read and Write permissions for Gifts and Write permission for Contacts. Users without all of these permissions may be able to access the Gift & Contact Import screen, but they will not be able to actually view or manage any imports.


The integration permissions allow for IT or other technical users to manage connections between Virtuous and other external systems without having full Admin access. The only settings included are Read, Write, and Delete.

Media Outlet

There is no ability to delete Media Outlets or restrict their visibility; only the Write permission may be limited to specific users.


Users with Execute permission here will be able to access and use the Merge Tool, including running duplicate searches and manually merging Contact records. Users without this permission will not see the Merge Tool icon at all in their menu. NOTE: Once merged, two Contact records cannot be unmerged, so it is advised to limit this permission only to a small group of power users.

Planned Gift

Planned Gift permissions only include settings for Read, Write, and Delete.


The Pledge permissions are closely aligned with Gift permissions, so the settings found here are very similar to those already reviewed under Gift permissions.


Projects have similar settings to those that have already been seen in other areas, including Bulk Edit, Read, Write, and Delete. Specific to Projects is the Restrict by Owner permission, which is closely related to the Restrict by Project permission for Gifts. Users with Restrict by Owner enabled will only be able to view Projects where they are listed as an owner.

Project Expense

Because Projects are an area of Virtuous where field or program staff are usually active, the permissions available for Projects are very granular. The Expense permissions would allow certain users, for example, to have read-only access to Projects, but be able to log expenses. The only settings included are Read, Write, and Delete.

Project Goal

These permissions allow you to control user access to the Goals tab on Project records. The only settings included are Read, Write, and Delete.

Project Note

As with the other Project permissions, the notes permissions grant users specific access to an area of Project records, specifically the Impact tab. Project notes are recorded as Impact Updates. The settings are similar to those for Contact Notes, and include Read, Write, Delete, and View Private.


There are only two settings available under query permissions:

  • Execute - Users without this setting enabled will not be able to access the Query Tool at all. It is recommended that any restricted users — those who are limited to seeing only specific Contacts or only certain Gifts — should not have access to queries.
  • Reminder Source - This setting allows users to use the Automated Task query type. This query option is designed specifically for Admin users, allowing the ability to query for all automated or recurring tasks assigned for a specific user and then reassign those tasks in bulk, in the event of a staffing change. 


The report permission settings allow for customization of the dashboard report options available to users. These options are valuable for almost all users, as it removes any extraneous reports and reduces confusion, especially for newer users. Select the checkbox next to each report you'd like to enable for a particular permission group. To learn more about each report, check out our article on running reports. Users will need to have the View setting enabled in order to run any reports at all, so be sure to check that if you wish to grant users access to dashboard reports.

Virtuous Giving

The Edit Virtuous Giving setting allows users the ability to access Virtuous Giving information and edit the account setup for your organization.

Virtuous Marketing

As with the Virtuous Giving permission, users will need the View Virtuous Marketing setting enabled in order to access Virtuous Marketing. Users who will not need access to creating or sending emails, or to Virtuous Giving or Forms, will not need access to this area.

Volunteer Opportunity

Volunteer Opportunity permissions only include settings for Read, Write, and Delete.


Workflow permissions only include settings for Read, Write, and Delete.

Did this answer your question?