As an organization that develops systems on both open source content management systems as well as custom-built platforms, we fully understand the benefits of both options. While custom-built systems have many benefits for complex projects, open source content management systems can be incredibly beneficial and cost effective for nonprofit organizations. Here are a few good reasons to consider an open source platform for your organization's next web project:
1. Our website is mainly used for fundraising, education and information about upcoming events.
If your organization is anything like many nonprofits who use an online presence to communicate with their constituents, you probably have a few key goals in mind: fundraising, education, and event promotions and management. Depending on the complexity of your event management system, all of these features can handled easily and effectively with an open source CMS like Joomla or Wordpress. Both of these platforms offer modules and plugins that assist with event management, and the base installation can easily point donors to your fundraising pages, while also providing a simple solution for creating and managing content.
2. We are concerned about cost.
At ServanTek, we fully understand the budgeting constraints of nonprofit organizations. But we don't believe you should have to sacrifice quality because of costs. In fact, open source systems like Wordpress and Joomla are free to download and install on your web host, and you will have your pick of developers and pricing since these platforms are so widely used. At ServanTek, we offer training packages to help you get your open source CMS up and running, while letting you have creative control of the process. We will provide as much or as little assistance as you need to get your site up and running according to your specifications.
3. We want several of our employees to be involved with the website.
Another key benefit to an open source content management system is the availability of information and training. If you have several people at your organization who will be responsible for creating content on your site, it may be difficult for one person to answer everyone's questions about every aspect of content creation in a timely fashion. With open source systems, this information is not limited to a sole individual at your nonprofit. Instead, your employees can find the answers to frequently asked questions by performing a simple Google or YouTube search. Since it's not a proprietary system, there are countless individuals creating readily available training content on the web, which can easily be found in a quick search.
4. We don't want to be tied down to any one outside firm to help with the development and management of our site.
If you're looking for a long-term solution for your organization's website, without a long-term commitment to any one developer or firm, open source platforms can provide the best solution. Since there are countless Joomla and Wordpress developers available, you don't have to lock yourself into a long-term agreement with an individual web developer or marketing firm. With an open source system, you will have more options regarding who can work on your site, as well as the price you'll pay for these services. Whereas with a proprietary CMS, you'd be tied to the developer of that particular system, an open source solution will allow you to work with a wide range of developers as you build out your content and add new features to your site.
How about you? Are you using an open source CMS for your nonprofit? Let us know in the comments below.