10 Reasons Why Joomla is the Best CMS for Nonprofit Websites
There are many website builders, platforms, and CMSs out there to consider for your organization's new website. While it can be tempting to choose a DIY hosted service, it might not be the best option for you in the long-term.
Joomla, lauded many times as "Best Free CMS" by CMS Critic, is an excellent option to consider. Here are ten reasons it should be at the top of your list:
Joomla is Free and Open Source Software.
The core software is free to download, use, and update — forever. (Your domain and hosting are still your responsibility.) If you have a tight budget like most nonprofits, the ability to use powerful, professional-level tools without additional software costs is a boon.
Also, unlike other open-source CMSs, all the essentials for a working site are bundled with the core; you don't need to (and shouldn't) install lots of paid plugins to get your website functioning.
You own your data.
Since you host Joomla directly with your hosting provider, you can manage, back up, and migrate your data however you please. You don't get that kind of power on a proprietary website platform, like Squarespace or Wix — any articles, data, or information living in their databases remain under their absolute control. If their platform goes down, so does your site, and there's nothing you can do except wait for them to fix it.
Joomla is in that butter zone between powerful and easy to manage.
Who manages your website content? Chances are it's you, a volunteer, or a staff member. Either way, the lucky person probably has lots of other responsibilities and want to spend as little time managing your organization's site as possible.
You don't have to sacrifice power and functionality to get a site that's easy to manage with Joomla. With a properly-built site, adding or changing content is straightforward and intuitive. Features such as custom fields, automatically updated modules, and scheduling article publishing make it a breeze to keep your site up-to-date.
It's the most secure CMS to keep your site and information safe.
Joomla cares about keeping your site secure. That matters because you are responsible for the data on your site, including private donor or volunteer information, user emails, and any other kind of data your site happens to collect. Getting hacked puts that information at risk and reduces your organization's credibility — not a good thing.
Joomla has built-in two-factor authentication, a dedicated volunteer security strike team, a built-in privacy tool suite, and a maintained list of vulnerable 3rd-party extensions. (Just make sure you keep it up-to-date and use other sensible security practices.) All these things make it quite possibly more focused on security than any other CMS.
Powerful role management and permissions mean you can closely control who sees what.
Want to make sure some people can only edit their own articles and only from the site's front end? Done.
Want to set up a private-access board portal? Easy-peasy.
Want to give a developer access to the site and disable their account after they finish — at least, until the next time? It just takes a click of a button.
You can even customize back-end menus per user group, making it incredibly easy for your site administrators to navigate and update the website.
You don't necessarily want a temporary volunteer to have the same website access as your organization's executive director. Joomla has robust role-based permissions, meaning you can set up permission groups once and add or remove users from them as necessary.
You can integrate your site directly with the most popular CRMs or donation platforms.
If you already have a site, you might be concerned about switching to a different CMS because you have an existing CRM, and migrating all that donation data is a pain.
Most popular CRMs have plugins or components to integrate into your site directly. If you want to make sure, check out the Joomla Extensions Directory and search for the name of your CRM.
Even if it doesn't pop up, you can probably still embed the forms on your new Joomla site so that you don't have to switch CRMs.
Joomla is the only major CMS run by a nonprofit, not a corporation.
Most major open source CMSs have a for-profit corporation calling the shots at the top. Joomla has Open Source Matters - a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Everything is run and maintained by passionate volunteers dedicated to giving back to their community. That makes it a software genuinely built by the people, for the people — not for a corporation's hidden agenda.
(Psst! Want to find out more about getting involved as a volunteer? We could use help with anything from marketing to development to... well, anything you can think of. Check out our community portal here — and thank you!)
It's easy to find (or switch) website developers if you need help.
Joomla has a thriving global community, with tons of developers that know their way around Joomla. Finding someone to help you build your site or update your template is straightforward; check the Service Providers Directory for registered providers depending on your need.
The content is template-agnostic.
Is your organization due for a massive rebrand in a few years? Probably that will affect the design of your site...but you need a new site now.
Don't panic! Joomla believes in the separation of views, functionality, and content. That means you don't have to rebuild the whole site when you want to refresh it; you just need to update the template. It's much more straightforward (and cost-effective).
Joomla grows with you - it's the best CMS to start with and add onto gradually as your organizational needs change.
If you're a new organization, you probably don't need much more than a few pages, a contact form, and a donation form. A system like Joomla might seem like overkill.
However, that's not the case! By starting on Joomla, you are setting your nonprofit up for success in the future. Adding pages and functionality as your organization grows is more manageable than re-evaluating a different CMS every time your organization has a new need.
With powerful core functionality, dedicated and passionate volunteers, and a boundless directory of components and extensions, Joomla is an excellent choice for your new nonprofit website.
Have questions? Want clarification on any of the points above, or need help deciding if Joomla is the CMS for you? Post a comment below!
Great article, Crystal, thank you.
I think that you forget to say about the multilingual functionality which is one of the powerful features of Joomla!, and it can be easily managed without any complexity, and without 3rd party extensions.
You’re absolutely right! Especially for nonprofits with an international presence, multilingual capabilities are crucial. Associated content and being able to edit translations side-by-side is an incredible part of Joomla and I’m remiss for not mentioning it! Thank you for commenting 😁