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What is the best open source CMS to build a non-profit website?

What is the best open source CMS to build a non-profit website?

  • I'm a front end designer with HTML/CSS knowledge, but I am NOT a programmer. I'm building a website for my non-profit which will include a social utility, 2 log-in sections (1 for non-profits / 1 for volunteers), a job board, and a message board/forum. I have access to volunteer developers for the really heavy lifting. But I want to set up the template and make updates myself.

    I've looked at Joomla but the instruction is so sloppy it's as if they don't want you to use it. I've been told to explore WordPress, Drupal, and Expression Engine. Is there an open source CMS out there that can handle my needs while still being user-friendly? Thanks to everyone in advance!

     

  • Drupal or Expression Engine are what I'd suggest.

    Wordpress is easy, but perhaps not as flexible as what you might need later.

    Both Drupal and Expression Engine have incredible support communities, which is what I'm guessing is something that you will really need.

  • I'd add Joomla to the list of things to look at.  We use Expression Engine in my company, my designer has a lot of HTML/CSS knowledge, but like you hasn't delved too much into programming.  He would recommend Expression Engine over all.  I use Joomla on a couple sites i'm developing now, I find it easy to work with.  I am using Word Press for my blog, but will probably be switching it over to Joomla since I want to add more to it than just a blog and as Rog indicateds I'd like it to be more flexible.

    Chris Shipley
    Nutmeg Consulting

  • I have been using Joomla with a winning template and extensions  and it is really a amazing tool but you need to look at Joomla site management in a different way than normal web development.  I find it much more intuitive than Drupal and EasyPublish as a CMS  
    Glenn

     

     

     

     

     

  • We use Drupal and Joomla, and of those two, I'd say Drupal just based on a quick look at your needs (two separate access levels...non-profit and volunteer). Joomla has a more rudimentary system for access levels at this point (although I know it's a high priority to upgrade that for future releases), and Drupal can be set up with any number of different "roles" that can be applied to users, with a more fine-grained control of access.

    Also, as I mentioned in a previous reply to you, any new system will have a learning curve.

    --
    CEDC...social justice by design (print, logo, web design by a non-profit, for non-profits)
    Find us on: Facebook | Twitter

  • I'm biased because I'm a Drupal guy, however...

    jluszcz
    I'm a front end designer with HTML/CSS knowledge,

    Knowing CSS will allow you to engage in light Drupal theming.

    jluszcz
    I'm building a website for my non-profit which will include a social utility, 2 log-in sections (1 for non-profits / 1 for volunteers)

    Drupal is incredibly granular in its permissioning.  Creating these two "roles" would be easy.

    jluszcz
     a job board, and a message board/forum.

    "Using Drupal" by the Lullabots has a great chapter on setting up a job board.  I wrote a short blog post on Drupal Forums.  Both can be done without any coding what-so-ever, just using contributed modules.

    jluszcz
     I have access to volunteer developers for the really heavy lifting. But I want to set up the template and make updates myself.

    So, my feeling is that from what you describe, you wouldn't need any really heavy lifting and you would probably enjoy creating the theme.

    Best,
    Matthew.

    http://www.dogstar.org 
    NonProfit Technology Consulting

  • Is there an open source CMS out there that can handle my needs while still being user-friendly?

    Yes, but I don't have a clue what it is. It's like me telling you what kind of car you should drive. I can tell you that you should use Exponent or Website Baker, but you may not like them.

    So why don't you visit Opensource CMS where you can try out the ones you have heard about and others that few people have heard about? Opensourcecms.com has live demos set up and you can play with all you want, post spam to, and do anything you want with. This is because the system reloads them after a set time period allowing new visitors to work with a fresh copy.

    They also have demos of different blogs, forums, groupware, image galleries, learning software, shopping carts, and Wikis...!

    You can listen to the advice of others, but most people starting using one CMS or another and to them, that one is the best. While some are more popular than others, that can change. PHP-Nuke use to be the CMS of choice and now I don't hear anyone talking about it... :-)

     

  • wow, thanks for that link to opensourcecms! Good resource!

    I have used Joomla to build a site for a non-profit, and in the end I've been happy with it. I come from a communications/content management background, rather than any kind of programming or design background, so it was a huge challenge for me. But like someone else mentioned, you'll always have a learning curve.

     

  • Yes, that's a sweet link, Christian!

    Chris Shipley
    Nutmeg Consulting

  • Just to add to this discussion, Idealware recently published a 60-page report reviewing Drupal, Joomla, WordPress, and Plone. TechSoup has a shorter excerpt of the report that we'll be posting this week. I'll update with the link once it's live but in the meantime, feel free to dive into the massive report that's chalk-full of good info about these CMS. http://www.idealware.org/comparing_os_cms/

    Becky Wiegand is the Webinar Program Manager at TechSoup.org
    @bajeckabean on Twitter

  • I love wordpress for seo reasons but Joomla is the easiest CMS i know.  Once you get the hang of it, you will love it. 

  • I have always used wordpress, because of all of the plugins and themes available.

  • Hi Mike--

    Can you explain a little further and perhaps give us an example or two of the kind of plugins and themes you've used? Are the plugins and themes simple enough even for the non-techie to put in place?

    Thanks,

    Megan

    Megan Keane

    Follow me on Twitter: @penguinasana or connect with me on my website.

  • I would agree that WordPress is a good option. I've used it quite extensively. I'd also point you to the following site to help with your decision making. There are cms lists, reviews and other items of value that may help: CMS Critic

     

     

    Mike Johnston
    Founder and Senior Editor
    CMS Critic.com

  • MeganKeane

    Hi Mike--

    Can you explain a little further and perhaps give us an example or two of the kind of plugins and themes you've used? Are the plugins and themes simple enough even for the non-techie to put in place?

    Thanks,

    Megan

     

     

     

    I am not Mike but as far as Wordpress with  plugins and themes simpleness, it is as easy as clicking a button.