By: 
Robert Jones
Published: 17 Mar 2015

Content Management Platforms For Charities - Rated & Explained

If you are looking to have a new website built for your charity then spending 4 or 5 minutes to digest the content below may save thousands of pounds and countless hours of hair pulling.

In writing this article i make the assumption that you are contracting the building of the website to an external agency. I also assume that the given agency is well versed in building responsive websites and that the design/aesthetics of the new site are a given formality.

This leaves you with the most important decision - "which content management system do i use for my charity website?"

The basic options for consideration are:

1. Open Source Content Management System such as Drupal, Wordpress or Joomla

2. Bespoke Content Management System built by the appointed agency.

I will say right at the start of this article that you should rule out option 2 instantly....unless you are such a wealthy charity that website spend is almost irrelevant and you have an incredibly niche requirement for your website.

Therefore the remainder or the discussion will concentrate on a comparison of open source CMS systems. Let's start by looking at which major charities use which cms.

Drupal

Drupal is used by the following charities and not for profit prgansiations. Drupal is used in more charity websites than all other platforms added togther. The list is far too big but here is a selection of some uk charities that do use it. We have listed the best charity websites (in our eyes) in a separate article.

Greenpeace - http://www.greenpeace.org.uk

Mencap - ncap.org.uk

Sport Relief - http://www.sportrelief.com

LDN Research Trust - http://www.ldnresearchtrust.org

Essex Coalition for Disabled People - http://www.ecdp.org.uk

Joomla

For good reason Joomla is far less common in its usage but there are still a few organisations who have opted for Drupals main rival.

Greggs Foundation - http://www.greggsfoundation.org.uk

Fun in Action - www.funinaction.org.uk

Wordpress

Wordpress is the feisty little fighter of CMS systems, it's a great little tool but frankly too restrictive for most charity websites of any size at all. Suited to one man bands and very small charities it is not surprising it is popular but its limitatations make it very difficult to recommend. The upshot being that we are unaware of any major uk charities that use the system for their main website.

Qatar Charity - http://www.qcharity.com/en/ 

Why is Drupal so popular for charity websites?

Drupal sits at the top of the pile when it comes to charity and not for profit websites for a very good reason. It is the most widely used and therefore the most wodely supported and developed for platform. It is also used by many government and educational institutions who develop applicatiosn and extentions for Drupal that get released back into the community free of charge for everyone else to use.

It has the benefit of being extremely secure compared to other systems which drastically reduce the liklihood of a drupal based website being hacked or spoofed.

However the main benefit of Drupal is the vast number of technical elements you can add cheaply and easily to the specification of your webiste. You want a store to raise revenue - no problem. You want to stream a conference to members only - no problem or even if you want to integrate a ticketing system for a conference or event , it's a doddle with Drupal.

It means that a large charity can succesfully build a £30k website for under £10k. It means a small charity can build a super little site and punch well above it's weight for £3000 - 4000.

On top of all of that Drupal has many hidden benefits. Not least its taxonomy system for organising large amounts of data easily. Brian Holden "Taxonomy, put simply, is just a way or grouping content that means a website can expand easily and in an organsied fashion no matter how big it gets. It is just one of the reasons i love Drupal. It's pretty much got an answer for everything that a client can throw at us."