In this article we tell you what we believe is the best open-source and free content management system (CMS) for Non Profit Organizations (NPO’s). Our internet experts dug into the pro’s and con’s of each of the top 3 CMS platforms and based on these factors, they chose the winning CMS for NPO’s.

Drumroll please….. and the winner is… None other than WordPress!


Wordpress LogoWordPress is the most frequently used Content Management System (CMS) in the world and also the most popular CMS used by Non-Profit Organizations (NPO’s).

If we look at Google trends we will notice that WordPress is by far the most popular amongst the 3 chosen content management systems.

WordPress, Joomla, Drupal comparison

Blue-WordPress; Red-Joomla; Yellow-Drupal

This is a comparison graph for WordPress, Joomla and Drupal from February 2, 2013- February 2, 2018.

In the graph, a value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term, 50 means that the term is half as popular, and 0 means there was not enough data for this term.

If you take a look at this, WordPress has had its fair share of ups and downs but is still stable. Joomla’s interest rate was moderate during 2013 but, it seemed to have dropped steadily over the year. Whereas Drupal’s interest rate has shown a steady decrease from the beginning.

There are many good reasons behind WordPress’ popularity. WordPress is very scalable, has the most active community, has the largest selection of plugins when compared to any other CMS platform, and is the most affordable to do custom website development work on due to the abundance of WordPress developers worldwide, and plugins when compared to Joomla or Drupal. In effect this abundance of plugins decreases the technical implementation requirements needed to develop a Non-Profit website along with its features. As most NPO’s have tight budgets, keeping development costs down is one of the main decision making factors when choosing a CMS.

WordPress also has by far the largest selection of free and premium themes that are up-to-date, modern and completely responsive (mobile, tablet and desktop friendly) when compared to Joomla or Drupal.

This selection of existing themes makes it much more affordable for Non-Profit Organizations to get a beautiful, scalable, ready to go live, out of the box website that can be customized within weeks if not days rather than months. These premium sites come pre-built with many features that NPO’s rely on such as donation options, crowdfunding capabilities, and much more. These themes can be purchased usually for under $100 (one time) from sites like Template Monster, Theme Forest, Studiopress, and many others and can be fairly easily customized to fit any organization’s image, branding etc…

Furthermore, more and more people, tech-savyy and otherwise, have most likely managed a WP site already, and so they will be more inclined and less reluctant to contribute to the site (by writing content, etc.) compared to other CMS platforms like Joomla which may seem more intimidating especially initially.

Some WP critics have spread a misconception through the internet that WordPress can get hacked more easily than Joomla or Drupal and is therefore inferior.

However, the reason WordPress gets most of the attention regarding hacking is because most of the web is powered by WordPress and many sites are not properly built and maintained and so they get hacked.

With proper security measures in place, which our experts at Wisevu implement for all clients regardless if they are profit or non-profit, a WordPress site can become as hacker-proof as any other CMS site out there.

These are some of the main benefits of choosing WordPress for your NPO and the deciding factors that contribute to its global domination in the open-source content management arena.

Ask our Non-For-Profit Website Specialists.

Interest rate for WordPress developers

This graph shows us the interest of WordPress developers for the past 5 years.

In the graph, a value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term, 50 means that the term is half as popular, and 0 means there was not enough data for this term.

WordPress has been mostly between 50-75 i.e. popular. Interest towards this CMS among developers is steady.

Interest of WordPress developers over the last 5 years




Drupal is quite prevalent in the nonprofit world, running some very large websites such as Oxfam, Amnesty and Comic Relief to name a few. It has great security features and is user friendly when it comes to managing the site by editors/authors, etc. It also comes with powerful user and privilege settings out of the box so this is also one of the main reasons NPO’s choose Drupal. Developing for Drupal is more expensive than WordPress, roughly 10-20% more. Drupal was initially built for and by programmers. Functionality, scalability, and customizability have been prioritized over usability and looks.

However, like every other technology, Drupal has its fair share of benefits along with drawbacks.


  • Highly flexible: Do you want a blog with a static first page? Or a powerful backend to support many pages and users regularly? With Drupal, you can get it. The CMS is powerful, flexible, and a favorite among the developers.
  • Strong control panel: Most of the Drupal users prefer this platform because of its vast functionality in the admin panel.  Each and every step is highly customizable. Admin can set permission for its users which make it easy for a group of people to manage the same website.
  • Create a variety of content: With Drupal, you can create various content including a poll, podcast, revisions, video post, image gallery or download post, and other forms of content.
  • Security: It has high level security and stands up to most internet vulnerabilities.
  • Timely security updates: Drupal security team works 365 days to provide patch and fixes. They can mend any issues the second they are discovered and released.


  • Requires high configuration hosting: Drupal works best only with high configuration hosting. It gets a major negative point here as other CMS’s are compatible with any hosting.
  • Requires technical expertise: Drupal is an advanced CMS that requires the help of experienced developers even for installation. If you don’t have experienced developers, then Drupal may not be for you.
  • Lack of free plugins: Plugins are called ‘modules’ and most of the important ones are not free.
  • Many options: Admin panel of Drupal has too many options which confuse a non-technical person. Good web development and website management knowledge are required to maintain Drupal websites.
  • Updates: Updating versions and other softwares are critical.


Interest rate for Drupal developers

The below image shows the popularity trend of Drupal among developers for past five years.

In the graph, a value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term, 50 means that the term is half as popular, and 0 means there was not enough data for this term.

Drupal has been mostly between 25-50 i.e. less popular. So compared to WordPress, Drupal was less popular. In 2013, there was an increase but, after that interest seemed to have dropped.

Interest rate of Drupal developers



Joomla Logo

Joomla is more intended for commercial and enterprise websites and not so much for NPO’s. Managing content is often the topic of frustration amongst Joomla users. It is also not as flexible as Drupal or WP.

However, Joomla has fairly recently released a frontend editor which makes editing content easier than before, but it is still not as comprehensive or user-friendly as some of the WP frontend editors like Visual Composer, Cornerstone, or Guttenburg (a new frontend editor that is being developed for WordPress by the WordPress community with an intention to make WP easier to use, more lightweight and modern).

Joomla does not come with a plugin/extension selection nearly as comprehensive or large as WordPress and same goes for their support community. Keeping Joomla up-to-date is also more work than WordPress and so requires more costs to keep updated.

Another frustrating issue with Joomla is plugin and module compatibility issues which could take hours or even days for a coder to fix. This is the biggest drawback of using Joomla as you pay for the plugins but you still can’t use it properly.

One of the major disadvantages of using Joomla is the lack of adjustment options. For advanced users, it will look as if an important feature or module is always missing. If you want to adjust options, you have to either manually edit the site or template code. This can take a lot of time and if you choose to hire someone to do it for you, it will cost you more money.

Furthermore, Joomla has a high amount of expandability and modularity which creates a higher demand on the server. This won’t be a problem if the website is small or the traffic is less. But, if the website is either popular or large, demand for server resources will become high. It will be challenging for users who require more content on their website. So if you want to run a complex site efficiently, you have to spend more on servers.

Also, when compared to WordPress, Joomla is difficult to learn. People are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff they have to learn to use it efficiently. This, in turn, increases the development time of the website.

There are number of flaws that makes Joomla less ideal for web development. The cost of plugins, extending modules, incompatibility issues, steep learning curve, and the requirement of high server resources, makes Joomla a poor choice for beginners as well as advanced developers. If you want a simple website you can go with WordPress to avoid the excessive complexity of Joomla.


Interest rate for Joomla developers

The below image shows the popularity trend of Joomla among developers for the past 5 years.

In the graph, value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term, 50 means that the term is half as popular, and 0 means there was not enough data for this term.

Joomla has been mostly between 25-50  i.e. less popular. It showed a spike in 2013. But, as the years progressed, interest rate decreased. On the whole, when compared to WordPress, Drupal and Joomla are less popular among developers.

Interest rate of Joomla developers

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WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal



Drupal and Joomla have lost their edge especially in recent years. Compared with WordPress, these two have simply failed to stay current.

WordPress is the best alternative for small, medium, or large websites. The drawbacks you find in WordPress can be easily solved by adding high-quality plugins or creating custom plugins.

The core of WordPress is kept clean as a pin so that you aren’t forced to add new codes. So WordPress can be used to create either a corporate information website, membership website, NPO website or an international news network.

At Wisevu, we have developed simple to advanced websites for various industries like insurance, restaurants, travel, dental, pest control, e-commerce, small business, and NPO. All in WordPress.

However, you must learn to identify the misconceptions surrounding WordPress. Overhyped commercial themes don’t solve problems in every situation but pretend to. Opting for Custom WordPress theme developments with Wisevu  or other theme development service providers is an apt solution. Additionally, naive developers have polluted the WordPress community by giving bad advice, whether it is about SEO or page builder plugins. Forewarned is forearmed.

Just like any other professional endeavor, you need steady hands when choosing a CMS for your NPO. WordPress is the most recommend CMS for NPO’s because it’s versatile, has a large supporter base, and gives a robust platform for web development.

Developers at Wisevu can adapt to this platform to create any website your NPO needs like fundraising sites or news sites. It has all the features an NPO needs including SEO competence, content optimization, UI flexibility, and UX scalability. Plus it has a mobile responsive framework that allows users to view your website from various devices. WordPress also offers enterprise-level features for large non-profits including multi-site management, WordPress API, modular architecture, and an in-depth developer manual. And the auto-update feature helps to dramatically reduce security threats and maintenance costs in the long run.

On the whole, WordPress is a powerful CMS for all size of NPO’s – large or small. If you want to spread your voice all over the virtual world or draw an image of how the world will improve because of your NPO, WordPress CMS will carter to your needs and objectives.

Comparison of the Top 3 CMS for NPO Websites

Factors WordPress Joomla Drupal
Coding skills Not mandatory Yes Yes
Learning curve Low High High
Features Easy to use for beginners. Additional support for creating custom sites and plugins Helpful for creating robust sites Has great taxonomy features and the ability to categorize and manage complex content
Security Moderate Low High
Scalability High Low Moderate
Mobile friendly Yes Yes Yes
SEO Excellent SEO but plugins required Basic SEO Good SEO
Ecommerce With WooCommerce plugin With extensions like Virtuemart For older versions. Drupal 8, does not support a stable E-commerce module
Community support Presence of a strong community Community is reducing and losing contributes Has an active community
Core upgrades Frequently From time-to-time From time-to-time
Top websites using the platform Forbes, CNN, Sony Harvard university, Linux, The Skill The White House, Warner Bros
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