Technical Specifications – Questions & Answers

1. What computers are needed to use Sumac?

2. What languages does Sumac support?

3. Is Sumac a Desktop Application, Client-Server program or Web based?

4. Does Sumac’s data reside on my server or yours?

5. Is Sumac user-friendly?

6. Can Sumac integrate with other programs and applications?

7. How do I get all my old data into Sumac?

8. How do I install Sumac on my computer?

9. How do I install new releases of Sumac?

10. Is Sumac Secure?

  1. What computers are needed to use Sumac?

  2. Client Computers

    Each client computer (i.e. the computer that is running Sumac) should have the following display size and processing capacity:
    Minimum screen size: 1024 x 768
    Preffered screen size: 1280 x 1024

    Operating System



    Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7 SP1

    1GHz minimum

    2GHz dual preferred

    1GB minimum

    2GB preferred

    MacOS X 10.9 and later 1GHz or better

    1GB minimum

    2GB preferred


    Any Linux that can run the current Oracle release of Java 1GHz or better

    512MB minimum

    1GB preferred

    Server Computer

    Note: If you get Sumac Cloud, you don’t need a server computer because we provide one for you.

    Sumac Gold and Sumac Platinum are multi-user systems: several people can simultaneously use Sumac and share the database. When you use a multi-user version of Sumac, the data resides on a server – a computer that is running a database management program (MySQL) to manage the data for all the client computers.

    The server does not have to be a specially built server computer; any desktop class machine that can run Sumac can be a server. A notebook usually does not work well as a server because notebook computers tend to have slow disk drives. If someone is going to use their personal computer as a server then it must have at least the levels of processor and RAM capacity marked as “preferred” in the table above.

    Exactly what capacity a server needs to serve Sumac users depends on what else the server is doing, how many people are using Sumac, etc. For three or four users, the load on the server will be very light: perhaps 10MB of RAM and 1% of the CPU.

    The server must have a connection to the office local area network (LAN), and all the client computers must be connected to the LAN too. Sumac works fine on relatively slow (e.g. 1 Mbps) networks, so you can access your office Sumac database from home or remote offices. But much of what Sumac does is move data to and from the database server. This means that a faster network is better. A 100Mbps or even 1000Mbps network is ideal. Wireless networks in offices work much more slowly, so use wired connections if you can.

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  3. What languages does Sumac support?

  4. Sumac stores all its data using Unicode (UTF-16 Basic Multilingual Plane). This provides support for virtually every natural language (and some not so natural, like Klingon). In addition to European alphabets, others like Arabic or Farsi, and even pictographic languages (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) are all handled with ease.

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  5. Is Sumac a Desktop Application, Client-Server program or Web based?

  6. Sumac is all of the above.

    Sumac is a desktop application

    When you use Sumac, you have an icon that you double-click that causes the program to run on your computer. So you use it just like any other desktop application – like a word processor or spreadsheet program.

    Sumac is a client-server program

    A client-server program separates the application program which uses the data from the database manager which stores and manages the data. The application program runs on each user’s computer. The database manager usually runs on a separate server computer. The application program is the client, the database manager is the server.

    The Sumac software is an application program that resides on each user’s computer.

    Sumac Bronze and Sumac Silver are single-user versions of Sumac. When you use a single-user version of Sumac (Bronze or Sumac), you don’t need to deal with the complexity of managing a database server because Sumac does it for you. If you get Sumac Gold, then the data is managed by a separate, multi-user database management program (usually MySQL) which manages the data and runs on a server computer.

    Sumac is web-based

    Sumac Cloud enables you to keep your data in the cloud, and access it from anywhere there is an Internet connection. If you opt for Sumac Cloud, we put your data on our server, and relieve you of the hassle of doing backups and managing the server. For more information about Sumac Cloud click here.

    Sumac is also web-based in other ways. The actual Sumac software, for example, resides on a web server ( Whenever you run Sumac, it checks to see if there is a new version available. The software is downloaded and updated dynamically, as required. For efficiency, and just in case your Internet connection is down, a copy of the software is also cached (stored) locally on your own computer. This means that wherever the Internet goes, you have access to your Sumac database.

    Sumac can also provide services to your website: It can add an electronic box office to your website. It also enables you to set up course registration, donations, pledges, address update, and membership sign-up and renewal pages on your website. Sumac users can connect to their database remotely, over the Internet.

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  7. Does Sumac’s data reside on my server or yours?

  8. It’s up to you!

    We can provide Sumac Cloud service for your database. This means that your data resides on our server, and you can access it from anywhere on the Internet. For more information about Sumac Cloud click here.

    Alternatively, you can have all your data stored on your computers. If you use a single-user version of Sumac (Bronze or Silver), the data resides in your computer, much like you would save word processing and spreadsheet documents on your computer. Sumac Gold and Sumac Platinum are multi-user; the data resides on your server (typically a desktop computer running database software).

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  9. Is Sumac user-friendly?

  10. Sumac is, by far, the easiest non-profit software to use. It was created to address a major problem in the marketplace: the software was much too complicated and difficult to use.

    Simplicity and consistency of design make Sumac so straightforward and user-friendly that training takes just a couple of hours.

    Built-in help and wizards, as well as excellent documentation, free online video training and phone tech support give you all the support you could possibly need. Sumac is constantly being improved based on our customers’ needs. If a particular function or feature would make life easier for our customers, in most cases it will be there in the next release of Sumac.

    Sumac is used by organizations of all sizes: from less than one employee to hundreds of employees. Staff at very small organizations often use Sumac for only an few hours each month. Sumac supports you to accomplish the basics very easily. But it also lets you go beyond the basics, for example to run a multi-level renewal campaign, with very little effort.

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  11. Can Sumac integrate with other programs and applications?

  12. Yes! Sumac was created to make the lives of non-profit professionals easier, so it works with all the other programs in your office environment like accounting systems, and desktop applications including: word processing, spreadsheet, email and calendar programs. So, you don’t have to limit what programs you use. Sumac works with them all!

    Example – Integrate with Excel

    Suppose you have a list of donations in an Excel sheet that you’ve downloaded from your online payment processor’s website. Instead of inputting the data manually, Sumac lets you import the data in just a few clicks.

    Example – Integrate with your email program

    Suppose you need to send one of your contacts an email. A single click from Sumac will run your email program and initiate an email that is already addressed to the recipient. That single click will also record in Sumac that you sent the email, so tracking all your correspondence is easy.

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  13. How do I get all my old data into Sumac?

  14. Your data may be in other places: spreadsheets, word processing documents, email programs, accounting programs, other databases. You want to import much of this data into Sumac. You have two choices: do it yourself, or let us do it for you.

    If you decide to do the data migration yourself, you can use the same tools that we use to do data migrations. Sumac includes an Import Workspace that lets you import, validate, and clean up your data. Once the data is clean, you use Sumac’s Import command to bring the data into the database.

    If you purchase the Data Migration service, we do the work for you.

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  15. How do I install Sumac on my computer?

  16. Sumac is installed form a link that we provide to you on the Sumac website. Because Sumac is a Java program, before you can install Sumac, you must make sure that you have Java on your computer.

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  17. How do I install new releases of Sumac?

  18. Whenever you run Sumac, it automatically checks to see if there is a new release available. If there is, you are asked if you want to install the upgrade. Click OK and Sumac installs and runs the new version in a few seconds. There is no charge for new releases. Everyone gets them!

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  19. Is Sumac Secure?

  20. We take security very seriously. Here are some highlights, but you can read the Security Manual if you want the details.

    1. Sumac requires a log-on user ID and password for every user, and a user profile indicates what types of data a user is allowed to see, change, or delete.
    2. You can segment the database and allow certain users to see some segments and not others.
    3. Sumac has been PA-DSS certification: the highest level of protection for the secure handling of payment data.
    4. If you get our Sumac Cloud service, your database is backed up once every day.

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