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A Consumers Guide to Low Cost Nonprofit Content Management Systems


Idealware CMS reportIf you are in the process of building a new website, one of the critical choices you will have to make is which Content Management System (CMS) to use. To help you decide, Idealware just released the 2012 version of their report "A Consumer's Guide to Low Cost Content Management Systems", available for download on their site. I highly recommend this resource as Idealware has done a great job of providing thorough, in-depth, unbiased reviews and the report is presented in a way that is very easy to read - even if you don't have a technical background.

These are the Content Management Systems that Idealware reviewed:

  • DotNetNuke
  • Drupal
  • Ektron
  • ExpressionEngine
  • eZ Publish
  • Joomla!
  • Luminate
  • NetCommunity
  • Plone
  • Squarespace
  • WordPress

The good news for Canadian organizations is that even though this review is done in the US, pretty much everything is still applicable in Canada. Here are a few areas I looked at in particular:

  • Accessibility: I particularly like that Idealware looks at the accessibility of each CMS - this is something that all nonprofits should be thinking of. As well, the accessibility standard referenced here (World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0) is the same one that Ontario organizations will be expected to adhere to with the new accessibility laws.
  • Pricing: Be aware that any special nonprofit pricing mentioned in the report may not be available in Canada, so make sure to check if you are considering these systems. The main CMS I noticed this for was ExpressionEngine, and it's unclear to me whether eZ Publish might have some kind of nonprofit pricing as well. Of course, many of the CMSs mentioned are open source so there are no licensing costs.
  • Training: This report doesn't provide details on training beyond whether online or classroom training is widely available or not. However, I would confirm that the system you are considering has online training available or you can get training from a consultant (if you are using one), since classroom training may be harder to find in Canada (or not available at all, or only in large cities).

You can download the report on Idealware's site.

Which CMSs would you like to see reviewed?


User friendly CMS

To your list I would recommend that you review Concrete5. Our organization has reviewed many of the CMS systems you mention and in the end settled on Concrete5. It's open-source and the add-ons are inexpensive. Best of all C5 is super easy to learn.

Hi, This report is put


This report is put together by Idealware but I'll pass along your note to them.

I haven't heard too much about Concrete5 so I'd be curious to know more about your selection process if you'd like to share :)

Tierney, TechSoup Canada