How Drupal Meets the Unique Needs of Government and Public Sector Marketers

Aug 23 2023

Governments, municipalities, and other public sector entities exist to further the common good and keep citizens informed, engaged, and connected. And since citizens look for answers to their questions online before they resort to using other channels, it’s critically important for you as a public sector marketer to deliver a digital experience that’s second to none.

That’s easier said than done. After all, you’re required to stay on top of constantly evolving regulations, engage diverse populations with unique sets of needs, and respond quickly to unforeseen circumstances that affect your audience. And you have to do it all while maintaining high levels of transparency, accessibility, and data security.

To achieve your varied objectives, you need a flexible and adaptable CMS that scales with your ever-changing requirements. Here’s a look at what you’ll get when you power your website with Drupal.

Maintain Control of Your Government Website’s Roadmap

As a public sector marketer, flexibility is one of your most fundamental needs from a CMS. At any given time, you may need to:

  • Update your website to comply with a new regulation or piece of legislation. For instance, you may need to roll out new security measures or adopt enhanced accessibility practices.  
  • Alert the public about an event or issue that affects them. This could be as simple as a change to trash pick-up services or as serious as an urgent warning about a pending storm or pandemic outbreak.
  • Disclose information and publish open data about things like government spending and the salaries of elected officials.
  • Elevate data or timely information that pertains to specific audiences or constituent groups.
  • Create data visualizations to simplify complex concepts and make information understandable for a wider audience.
  • Enforce strict privacy and security protocols. This is especially important since public sector sites are often targeted by bad actors intent on doing harm.  

If those all sound like familiar challenges, you’re left with a pretty simple question. Is your current CMS empowering you to move nimbly in all these areas? Or is it holding you back?

The Limitations — and Cost — of a Proprietary CMS

Proprietary CMSs like Adobe Experience Manager (and others) maintain tight control of their code. You may be able to change certain elements of your site in response to issues that arise, but you’re limited by the options they provide. You can put in a ticket and request an update, but ultimately you’re at the mercy of their developers.

Proprietary CMSs are also negatively impacted by the current digital skills gap. The pool of development talent is shrinking, especially for closed-source CMS providers. Currently, many have stated that there are many more developers available to contribute to open-source frameworks like Drupal than there are to work for closed-source providers. 

Additionally, most closed-source CMSs come with a hefty annual price tag. It’s not uncommon for organizations with complex sites to pay $100,000 to $300,000 in licensing fees every year.

How an Open-Source CMS Supports Your Goals

Drupal makes it possible (and easy) to accomplish the above objectives — and much more. Because it’s open-source, you have continuous access to your website’s code, content, and data. That means you can make changes as you see fit — whether you need to make a simple update to your homepage or completely restructure your data

Furthermore, with Drupal, you’re not locked into working with one particular vendor. Nor do you have to wait for a third party to introduce a new feature or make a desired update. You can engage an agency partner of your choosing or rely on your internal team to customize and reconfigure your site at any time. You can also choose a managed hosting provider that checks all the right boxes in terms of security and regulatory compliance. 

Finally, there are no annual licensing or subscription fees with Drupal. Its out-of-the-box framework, composable modules, and themes are free. True, you’ll likely need to partner with a developer to design your site, especially if you have complex requirements. But there are no ongoing usage costs of using Drupal.

View the TEG case study to learn the benefits of working with the right partner.

Provide an Accessible User Experience That Speaks Your Audience’s Language 

Your audience has a wide range of circumstances and needs. And due to the important role your entity plays in serving the public, it’s vitally important for your website to meet each person where they are and provide a welcoming, inclusive, and accessible user experience. 

Drupal’s commitment to accessibility is stellar. Accessibility-focused volunteers keep track of the latest W3C WCAG recommendations and regularly review code, modules, and themes to identify and fix accessibility issues. 

But you can also take accessibility into your own hands. Since Drupal’s code is open, you can leverage third-party accessibility tools and site checkers to regularly review your code and content and resolve any issues you find.

Drupal also makes it possible to provide a multilingual website experience for citizens on the front-end and content editors on the back-end, whose first language is not English. This ensures that everyone has the ability to not only access — but also understand — important information that impacts their daily lives.

Easily Integrate With Third-Party Platforms and Sites 

Government and public service entities often need to provide a surprisingly complex digital experience for users. They typically integrate with numerous platforms, partners, vendors, and channels to meet their audience’s multi-faceted needs. Public utility companies, private companies that contract with government agencies, tax preparation services, and tourism centers are just a few examples of the types of services that public sector websites often connect with.

From providing a robust self-service experience to creating an AI-powered chatbot to connecting to e-commerce platforms, Drupal can integrate with all kinds of systems to help you provide a seamless user experience.

Take Advantage of Drupal Distributions for Government Entities

As a public sector marketer, you can create a robust website experience even if you can’t afford to design a solution from scratch. Drupal has created numerous government distributions — which are pre-configured packages of the Drupal CMS — specifically for you. These distributions come with ready-made modules, themes, and configurations tailored to common public sector requirements. 

Drupal’s government distributions — like this one — give you the building blocks you need to:

  • Foster citizen engagement and participation. For example, you can use pre-built tools such as surveys and forums to invite feedback and ensure constituents can make their voice heard.
  • Manage your website in a centralized or decentralized fashion. Drupal’s flexible roles and permissions allow you to control who is able to access various types of data, content, and functionalities based on specific permissions that ladder up to particular roles. 
  • Maintain high levels of security and compliance. Drupal is widely recognized as one of the most secure CMSs on the market. Its security team responds quickly when users report security concerns. And they proactively look for weaknesses and vulnerabilities in order to mitigate risk. 
  • Create a responsive design. Since users are increasingly accessing the internet on mobile devices and tablets rather than desktops, responsive design is crucial. Many government Drupal distributions come with responsive themes that ensure websites perform well across devices and screen sizes.

If you do decide to use an existing Drupal distribution to create your site, be sure to evaluate the specific features, modules, and themes it includes and assess how well the framework aligns with your organization's unique needs and goals.

Drupal: The Established CMS Trusted by Governments and Municipalities Around the World 

More than 150 countries use Drupal to power their government and intergovernmental agency sites. It’s flexible enough to adapt to rapidly changing conditions, and it’s infinitely scalable. There’s truly no end to the features and functionalities you can add over time. 

So why choose Drupal? The answer is clear. Government entities need to offer a reliable, safe, and accessible experience for their diverse audiences. Drupal is stable and mature. It has stood the test of time — and it will continue to evolve to stay at the forefront of whatever’s next. 

 If you’re ready to put Drupal to work at your organization, we’d love to help. So let’s talk.

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