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Non-profit organizations favor open source CMS

by Nicolas Bossut last modified 2008-06-07 12:05

NTEN, the Nonprofit Technology Network, has just published the 2008 Content Management Systems Satisfaction Survey. It appears that non-profit organizations prefer open source solutions than proprietary one. These solutions maximize their resources allocation and give them the best of contemporary technologies. In complement to the survey findings, Zea Partners, a non-profit network of Open Source businesses, provides a number of cases studies analyzing large CMS deployments by non-profits worldwide.

Based on an article by: NTEN

If your organization has been considering the use of open source software, a Content Management System (CMS) may be the place to start.

CMSs are software tools that allow non-technical users to update the text, images and documents on a website without having to learn to use HTML code. Using a Web browser or a desktop software package, users access, edit and upload content changes to a website using the familiar text editing commands found in software like MS Word. CMS solutions are increasingly popular to simplify website management.

The fact that more than one third of nonprofit organizations reported the use of open source CMSs and generally graded them quite well as compared to commercial systems may be the information you’ve been waiting for to feel comfortable using an open source system.     

Michelle Murrain, the Coordinator of the Nonprofit Open Source Initiative and NTEN board member, offers
some reasons for the success of open source CMSs at nonprofits:

  • No fees for acquisition
  • No maintenance fees if it is a low to medium traffic site  
  • Low hosting costs
  • Solid software: for most organizations, as good, or better than a system they would pay for
  • Active development and communities mean lots of improvements and new features, plus lots of help
  • Generally easy installation and maintenance
  • Very customizable - easy to add custom functionality

It is interesting to note that open source systems scored generally higher than commercial systems and custom systems were rated near the bottom of the pack. The three most commonly used systems,  Plone, Drupal and Joomla!, all scored very well with mostly A’s and no score lower than a B.

Non-profit organizations rely extensively on open source CMS

Cases studies by: Zea Partners

Non-profit and non-governmental agencies worldwide are relying extensively on Open Source software and in particular Content Management Systems. The reader will find below this page in “related content” a number of cases studies outlining the Social impact and benefit of Open Source software for such organizations. These studies provide detailed information about large open source CMS deployment in Asia, America and Europe.

Additional successful deployment of free and open source software (FOSS) in emerging economies are described in a publication entitled "Breaking Barriers" by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

>> Download the full report