Top 3 CMS For Nonprofits

Most organisations today have a digital presence, and that includes non-profits. However, not all websites are alike. Often, this differentiation comes from customisable features within the software that is used to build a website. For example, content management systems (CMS) allow you to have full functionality of a website – from creation, to management, to editing. 

So, which is the best CMS for non-profits? In this blog, we are going to explore the top three CMS for non-profits based on user numbers across the web. 

Fipe Web Design’s approach is to keep in mind what our non-profit clients would typically need their website to do. In short, we assume that your website is essentially about having an online presence with the ability to collect donations and disseminate information. However, we do recognise that other characteristics could be key for your non-profit as well, such as: 

  • Accessibility and responsiveness for ease of use on any device
  • Brand identity, including showcasing your mission, values, purpose, and a clear call to action
  • Knowledge management of publications and information products by thematic areas
  • Financial transparency and reporting
  • Security safeguards and data ethics standards, to protect donors and beneficiaries alike
  • Contact details, including social media links

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of what each CMS offers, you might already be eager to know which CMS is the most popular. Based on W3Techs Web Technology Survey results, you can see that the winner is…drum roll, please…WordPress!

In fact, with a market share of 64.1%, WordPress clearly has a large lead over any other CMS platform. While you will see other software such as Shopify, Wix, and Squarespace next on the list, these are technically website builders rather than CMS. Therefore, we will focus on Joomla and Drupal instead to create our list of the top three CMS for non-profits.

Why Does a Non-profit Need a CMS?

Nearly every organisation has an online presence these days. If you do not, your business might not seem valid, which can spell trouble for potential donors, partners, or volunteers. Plus, since the onset of the pandemic, it became apparent that engaging online is a must.

Therefore, we would argue that every business needs a CMS. But why does a non-profit need a CMS, specifically? A CMS is a framework that holds up your website and allows you to think about what you want to be housed inside, such as content for your supporters and donations. For a non-profit, this translates to visibility. As such, part of your non-profit’s communication strategy should include elements like a secure website with a solid foundation. 

And while your non-profit might have a budget for such a strategy, you will be happy to know that each of the three CMS platforms that we explore is cost-effective. In fact, they are free! Your donors will love that – less funding towards overhead and more towards beneficiaries.

However, you could incur costs from other parts of the process such as the domain name, host, or any extra functionalities that you want in the form of software add-ons. Generally, you will be able to purchase an add-on for under £250. By far, WordPress offers the most plugins at around 55,000 – that is a lot of customisations! Next is Drupal with around 40,000 modules and Joomla has far less with 8,000+ extensions.

Although customisations might be a key factor for your non-profit CMS, there is a downside as well. Unfortunately, WordPress is one of the sites that gets hacked the most as hacking usually occurs through add-ons. Fortunately, having solid security can prevent some of these breaches. It is also possible to create backups for a relatively rapid recovery. On the other hand, if security is of the utmost importance for your business, then Drupal might be the best choice as it is known to be tightly controlled and rapidly responds to patches.

And while we are on the topic of security, it is important to note another functionality of CMS: the ability to assign access through a user management system. This is essential if you have users with various levels of security for tasks such as adding blog posts, changing settings, etc.

Now that we have explored the why behind CMS for non-profits, we will discuss the takeaways from each CMS. That way, you can decide which platform might be the best for your organisation.

As Fipe Web Design offers technical services for each of these CMS for non-profits, we are happy to help if you need any assistance. While our services focus on web design, digital marketing, and web development for any client, we specialise in charity web design

Is WordPress Right for Your Non-profit?

WordPress is a very established CMS with 55,000 plugins and multiple design styles available. According to the 2021 Global NFO Technology Survey undertaken by Non-profit Tech for Good, 60% of non-profits worldwide are using WordPress. 

And why do all these non-profits use WordPress? In sum, it comes down integration capacity, customisation capabilities, ease of use, search engine optimisation (SEO), and responsiveness.

To explain that further, this CMS for non-profits is easy to integrate into other software such as a donation collection system or an online store to sell merchandise.

It is also a good platform for setting up SEO and is very responsive, which means it will transform itself to adapt to the viewing device.

Additionally, since there are various design styles for WordPress, you should be able to find the perfect match for what you need. Typically, these styles are easy to use for visual branding features such as your logo, brand colours, or fonts.

To boot, you will not even need developer skills to get started with WordPress due to its ease of use.

Overall, WordPress is a strong contender as a CMS for non-profits. If you do not mind running your site or adding features, it is the most accessible platform to use – especially for beginners.

How Can Joomla Support Your Non-profit?

Joomla is another solid choice for a CMS for Non-profits and has been around almost as long as WordPress. As our second CMS option, Joomla sits between the other two platforms as it is more complicated to use than WordPress but easier than Drupal. 

The reason that it is more complicated than WordPress is because it offers more advanced user management controls. In turn, this means that there will be coding involved and it will take more work to get what you want for your final output.

While Joomla may require a steep learning curve, the benefits can make it worth your time and effort. For example, you will have more flexibility and the ability to customise away to your heart’s content. This comes in the form of content types and templates as Joomla allows you to use more than one template or theme per piece of content.

Joomla also has multilingual capabilities built into it, which can be essential for organisations that are global, work across geographies, or have audiences that speak multiple languages.

Additionally, if you want to create a large site with a lot of information, Joomla is better suited for this than WordPress as it scales well.

Overall, Joomla is another solid contender for a CMS for non-profits. While it may take a bit more elbow grease or technical expertise, it will also allow you a lot of flexibility and options.

What Can Drupal Do for Your Non-Profit? 

Drupal has been the CMS for non-profits choice for several organisations – particularly those that need a lot of functionality. As Drupal is best suited for large, corporate-style websites, it should come as no surprise that it is used by the likes of government agencies, non-governmental organisations, universities, and Fortune 500 companies.

However, like Joomla, it will require coding and is a more difficult platform to use. But if you are up for the challenge, then Drupal might just be the CMS for non-profits for you as it offers a high level of functionality, flexibility, and security.

For instance, if your organisation is complex or uses large databases, Drupal can more than likely support the bandwidth. It is known for its ability to support high-traffic websites and scalability.

Drupal also provides a high degree of flexibility. This can be especially useful to organisations that want a lot of customisations or have large amounts of content.

As mentioned earlier, Drupal is serious about security. This CMS has been less prone to hacking than WordPress and takes measures to rapidly address any breaches.

Overall, Drupal is a great CMS for non-profits contender for large and complex organisations. While its functionality, flexibility, and security features may be a draw for you, do not forget that you will need coding expertise – not only to create the website initially but for any maintenance or updates as well.

If you are still mulling over which CMS for non-profits to use for your organisation, get in touch with Fipe Web Design for a no-obligation chat. We can walk you through the best options for your website so that you can make an informed decision. We love helping customers, and our team is rather friendly.