Two free reports that help you find a CMS or blogging platform for your non-profit

A Consumers Guide to Low Cost Nonprofit Content Management Systems

Idealware’s new CMS guide

I have come across two reports that give excellent and free advice on how to choose a blogging platform or content management system (CMS) for you non-profit website.

In case you are wondering what the difference is:

Blogging platforms are in fact a category of CMS but tend to be geared towards smaller websites.

“Full-grown” CMSs on the other hand tend to be geared towards larger websites with many contributors and different roles. The also frequently integrate with other enterprise systems such as document- and records management or a CRM.

Having said that, some of the most popular blogging platforms such as WordPress can be customized for large, sophisticated websites with many contributors and put expensive enterprise-level CMSs to shame. However, such customization tends to be expensive and at the end of the project you are basically looking at a bespoke system.

The two reports I want to talk about compare different blogging platforms and CMS with a special focus on organizations that have very little money to spend:

This is a short 19 page report that goes through the different things to consider, shows different kinds of blogs and is giving short descriptions of eight free and commercial blogging platforms. Due to its length it is quite superficial, but the report is nevertheless a good starting point. The document is free, but you have to leave your email address to download it.

Idealware has just published this excellent report on CMSs and if you are thinking about changing or upgrading you CMS you absolutely have to read it! It’s more than 100 pages long and obviously goes into much more detail than the first report. Unlike previous CMS reports by Idealware, they are also not focussing exclusively on open source systems in this issue – which I think is the right decision. The report looks at 10 systems in depth and also describes what you should keep in mind when trying to figure out what system is right for you. Each CMS is analysed in detail on seven to eight pages, so you get a lot of information that other commercial CMS experts would charge hundreds or thousands of Euros for. Just like the previous report, the document is free, but you have to leave your email address to download it.

In case you are wondering what happened to the CMS-decision guide that I had wanted to write: that is definitely still on my mind, but I was fortunate enough to be quite busy with paid contracts so it has been put on hold. But obviously I’d be of course more than happy to help you, if you have problems finding a CMS for your needs.

  • Thanks for this. Looks interesting. My experience is a little nuanced. I started 2012 with great enthusiasm and the objective of helping individual consultants with the implementation of a WordPress platform – I've been using WordPress as video blogs since 2005. I'm an excellent adult (IT) trainer (it's my bread and butter since 1980) with a skill of of explaining techy things to non techy people. However, I've found issues with my approach. Whilst WordPress (or whichever other platform that is appropriate) is quickly installed and ready, all my clients struggled with the following: a) no clear ideas about the objective of their website : Who is the target public? What call for action is needed? (call for action does not need to be about money but also about people buying into ideas) How to write in a smart way about one's business, cause, passion.
    I've found that the above objectives, if not clearly defined, make it difficult to bring about a truly effective interactive CRM/CMS platform. After all, it's not about the technology per se, it's about our ability to nourish ongoing relationships online, fostering trust and authentic connection with our target audience.

  • Yes, that's what I encountered in GIS projects as well. Different people yield different results, even with the same techniques, i. e. software