Top 3 CMS for Charities

Feb 25, 2021

Or which is the best content management system for your non-profit? Today we're going to look at the top 3 content management systems that charities typically use. Content Management Systems are also known as CMS, and we've selected the top 3 based on user numbers across the web. 

Our approach is to keep in mind what you, as a non-profit, would typically need your website to do. We will assume that your website is essentially about having an online presence with the ability to collect donations and disseminate information. 

However, before getting into the nitty-gritty of what each CMS offers, you may be wondering which is the most popular CMS? As you can see from the web technology survey results chart below, which W3Techs created, it's WordPress. 

You can see that WordPress is way ahead of the other two. The ones you see in between are Shopify, an e-commerce platform, and Squarespace and Wix, which are technically website builders rather than content management systems. We may explore more about these in a future post.

Why does any charity need a CMS?

A content management system is a framework that holds up your website and provides a way for you to add content that you want your supporters to read and for you to collect donations.

In this post, we explore what you should consider and give you a takeaway from each CMS so you can decide which one might be the best for your situation. Please note that we offer technical services for each one and are happy to help if you need any assistance. 

When deciding which one to go for, consider that each of these is free.  Primarily the cost will come from the domain name and hosting, plus any extra functionality that you want to add in the form of add-ons. 

On WordPress, those add ons are known as plugins; On Drupal, they are called extensions, and in Joomla, they are modules. The prices of these add-ons range as follows: 

  • WordPress: up to $200
  • Drupal: up to $100
  • Joomla: up to $80

There are tens of thousands of WordPress plugins (probably around 50k in the catalogue) that can help you get your site to do, behave and offer what you want. There are about 10 thousand or so less with Joomla and far less with Drupal. However, the sites that get hacked the most are WordPress which typically occurs through add-ons. Something to consider is that solid security can prevent some of this, but occasionally they can still get through. However, it's possible to create backups for a relatively rapid recovery.

Another reason that people like to use a CMS is that It's possible to assign access through a user management system based on what level of security you would like your users to have. In some cases, access would be to add blog posts or other content, and admins can perform other tasks and change settings.

Let's move into the more detailed exploration of what we consider the top 3 CMS systems for charities.

1. Is WordPress right for your charity?

Most non-profits have opted to use WordPress. To put this into numbers, 42% of charities are using it, according to this study undertaken by 

WordPress is very much more established as a CMS in that there are more than 40,000 plugins available and more than 2000 design styles. WordPress is also easy to integrate into other software such as a donation collection system or an online store such as Shopify – in case you want to sell charity merchandise.

The style designs for WordPress are varied, and you should be able to find almost the perfect match for what you need. They are typically relatively easy to use regarding adding your visual branding features such as a logo, your brand colours and fonts.

WordPress is a strong contender for any non-profit as it's easy to use, and you don't need developer skills to get going with it.

It's also a good platform for setting up SEO, and it's very responsive, which means it will transform itself to suit whatever size screen or device is used to view it. 

Overall, WordPress is great if you're happy to run your site and you don't mind getting a bit involved with adding features etc.; it's the most accessible platform to use – especially for beginners.

2. What can Drupal do for your non-profit? 

Drupal is more suited to charities that need a lot of functionality. In our experience, we've found that most non-profits don't want a lot of functionality – however, a few do. It's a platform that is harder to use and is better suited to those with development experience who can do some coding and custom work to get it to the right place.

To customise a site made in Drupal, you will generally need to know something about HTML and PHP. Again, there are add ons, but not as many as WordPress offers and maybe not as well developed.  Drupal is suited to large corporate style sites. 

3. How can Joomla support your charity?

Joomla sits in the middle and is more complicated than WordPress but easier than Drupal to use. You can still deliver features, but it will take more work to get what you want, and there will be coding required. With Joomla, you can benefit from how easy it is to make your site multilingual rather than needing to get some plugins from WordPress.

However, using Joomla still requires quite a steep learning curve which can be challenging if you want to get a site up and running. If you want to create a large site with a lot of information, Joomla is better suited to this than WordPress is – the latter does not scale well.

If you're still unsure which CMS to use for your charity, get in touch, and we can talk you through some options once you've told us what you want to do. We love helping customers, and our team is friendly and very accommodating. Get in touch today for a no-obligation chat, and we'll tell you what we know so you can make an informed decision.