Drupal is considered a good CMS (Content Management System) for NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) and Non-profits and is often recommended for their websites and technology products. Drupal is a flexible and powerful open-source CMS that offers a range of features and capabilities that align well with the needs of NGOs. The Drupal CMS, it's community and it's philosophy has uniquely evolved to fit this particular use case perfectly. Let's look at some of them closer.
- Flexibility: Drupal provides extensive customization options, allowing NGOs to tailor their websites to their specific needs. NGOs, often have many web applications serving different purposes and depending on what is required and the funding that is available to them, it can either be a single website supporting multiple features, multiple websites sharing the same version of the code and/or a combination. With Drupal it is possible to go either way and I have personally worked on all of these variations with my work in QED42.
- Scalability: Drupal can handle large and complex websites with high traffic volumes. NGOs often have expanding needs as their organizations grow, and Drupal's scalability ensures that the CMS can accommodate these changes. It should also be easy to move hosting platforms and/or plans and Drupal is open-source and does not tie itself to any particular hosting platform making it easy to use GCP, AWS, DigitalOcean, Platform.sh, Acquia, Pantheon, Scaleway, etc. And that's just the one's I've hosted this website on! Honestly it doesn't take me more than a couple of hours anymore!
- Community and Support: Drupal has a vibrant and supportive community of developers, designers, and users. This community actively contributes to the improvement of Drupal's core functionality, modules, and themes. NGOs can benefit from this community by seeking help, sharing knowledge, and accessing a wide range of pre-built modules for their specific requirements.
- Security: Security is a critical aspect for any organization, particularly NGOs that often handle sensitive data. Drupal has a strong focus on security and provides regular updates and patches to address vulnerabilities. The Drupal Security Team actively monitors and responds to security issues, making it a reliable CMS in terms of security.
- Multilingual Support: NGOs that operate globally or in multilingual environments can take advantage of Drupal's robust multilingual support. Drupal allows the creation of websites in multiple languages, enabling NGOs to effectively communicate with diverse audiences.
- Integration Capabilities: NGOs often require integration with various systems, such as CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, donation platforms, email marketing tools, and more. Drupal has excellent integration capabilities and not to thousands of modules, making it easier to connect and synchronize data between different systems. If there is a platform you need to integrate, I'm pretty sure the Drupal community already has a module for it.
- Accessibility: Drupal is committed to web accessibility standards and goes above and beyond in ensuring that websites built on the platform can be accessed and used by people with disabilities. This aligns well with the inclusive and accessible approach that many NGOs adopt and care deeply about.
- Searchability: This includes searching within the site as well as in google or any other search engine. Either Drupal has you covered. I've personally worked on building really robust and powerful search for websites with thousands of pages and making sure they come up on google whenever searched.
My work with QED42 has given me the privilege to work with many NGOs and non-profits like Ashoka, UNICEF, ILAO and this has given me many unique insights and learning into what we can do best with the time and money we have. NGOs and non-profits rely on funding from donors and often need to build products quickly in the context of providing much needed services to parts of the world that are in crisis. It is also easier to build everything possible in one technology (say Drupal) rather than build every product in a different technology that might be better suited for it. This advice might seem counter-productive but when it comes to building new products on a budget and in a tight deadline as is the case for most NGOs and non-profits, it makes perfect sense and is often a necessary trade-off.
Ultimately, the suitability of Drupal as a CMS for an NGO or non-profit depends on the specific requirements and preferences of the organization. However, Drupal's flexibility, scalability, community support, security features, multilingual support, integration capabilities, and commitment to accessibility make it a popular choice for many NGOs.