How Drupal Can Help Your Nonprofit Website Compete in the Digital-First Era

Sep 21 2021

The pandemic brought a new reality into sharp focus. Increasingly, the success of your nonprofit organization depends on how well you are competing in a noisy digital landscape. Your current and prospective donors, volunteers, and members live highly digitized lives. They shop online, stay connected with friends on social media, and regularly engage with digital content that sparks their curiosity.

If you want to inspire these folks to get involved — or make them aware of the ways you can help them — you need to become digital-first, too. Your marketing techniques need to grab their attention. So if you’re relying solely on pre-information-era methods like direct mail campaigns and events, you will quickly become obsolete. And you’ll be outpaced by the charities who have made the effort to level up their online presence.

Just having a website is not enough — especially if it’s largely static and isn’t regularly populated with fresh, engaging content. Simply enabling online donations and registrations is not adequate — especially if your forms aren’t intuitive or if completing one doesn’t trigger meaningful, automated follow-up. Listing out your services is not sufficient — especially if members or other audiences can’t easily find the information they’re looking for.

Being digital-first means that your website becomes the hub of your marketing efforts — not a set-it-and-forget-it evergreen resource. A flexible, open-source CMS like Drupal enables you to achieve a marketing strategy that cuts through the digital clutter and captures the attention you deserve.

3 Ways Drupal Empowers You to Level Up Your Nonprofit’s Digital Marketing Efforts

Prospective clients come to us time and again with a common complaint about their existing website. Every change they want to make requires them to approach their developer and pay yet another fee. They may be able to update existing content to a certain extent. But adding new menu options, landing pages, or microsites — or redesigning an outdated page using different components — requires the developer to step in.

By contrast, a well-crafted Drupal site provides you with a flexible pool of components, structures, and elements that you can mix and match with ease. 

This supports your marketing efforts in three key areas.

1. Easily Create Content and Tell Your Story

Your nonprofit organization is doing great work to address important issues in today’s world. You’re righting wrongs and unraveling systemic injustices. And as a marketing leader, you can tell countless stories of the difference your mission makes in the lives of people in your community. 

But does your website herald your incredible impact? Is the content up-to-date, easy to navigate, and chock full of compelling stories that inspire action? Are you making use of its potential to rally your members, donors, volunteers, and community leaders around your cause?

Drupal makes it easy to pepper your site with engaging content that invites your users to explore and discover more about the good work you’re doing. By providing a variety of “containers” in which to put your content, Drupal makes it easy to:

  • Use pull-out quotes or statistics to draw your readers’ eye to important points within a page

  • Upload and manage your own videos — regardless of format — or embed videos from sites like YouTube 

  • Add photos and images to bring your text to life

  • Create scroll-worthy paragraphs and sections to keep readers engaged

All of this is accomplished using Drupal’s easy editing tools — no HTML know-how required.

Drupal can assist in your site's storytelling
Drupal has the ability to help you tell your story through your website

2. Quickly Launch Marketing Campaigns to Drive Results

As a marketing leader, you need to be able to respond quickly to the many requests your stakeholders make of you. In any given week, you may be asked to:

  • Create a microsite or landing page with compelling information about your new major fundraising campaign 

  • Develop an email-driven drip campaign to increase event registrations for an upcoming community event 

  • Update your navigation menu to reflect new organizational priorities

  • Create a crowdfunding initiative to generate a large number of new gifts

  • Communicate with members about changes to their dues or benefits

Drupal enables you to respond to all of these requests without reaching out to a developer for help. 

3. Effectively Serve Your Audiences With Digital-First Strategies

The pandemic has created a digital-first shift not only in terms of communicating effectively but also in terms of serving your audiences. For example, if you’re a nonprofit that offers services such as counseling or job coaching, all of that good work used to take place in person. But now, those same services may be offered online. Likewise, if you’re a food bank, you may now be facilitating touchless deliveries or pickups for families in need — which requires you to keep your website updated for additional reasons and in new ways.

Drupal gives you the flexibility to adapt to your users’ changing needs. And you may find that the digital solutions you create are more than stop-gap measures. They have the potential to become essential, permanent ways for you to serve your audiences more holistically.

Drupal Enables Seamless Integration With Fundraising and Event Management Platforms

In a digital-first world, more and more transactions take place online. And users want those transactions — donations, event registrations, memberships, etc. — to feel frictionless from start to finish. But the user experience is just the beginning. What happens on the back end is just as important. 

We’ve found that many proprietary fundraising and event management software doesn’t connect with any CMS via a traditional application programming interface (API). Instead, they often require a customized script to allow information to flow back and forth. When you work with a good vendor, much of that hard coding can be completed upfront — and will function seamlessly for years to come. 

The right scripts ensure you’re capturing the information required to complete a transaction and send automated thank you or confirmation emails. But perhaps even more importantly, you can also gather the biographical details about your donors, members, and event attendees that enable you to personalize future interactions so you can deepen the relationship over time. 

Integrations are easy with Drupal
Drupal can seamlessly integrate with your fundraising and event management platforms.

Invest in a Flexible CMS That Will Help Your Nonprofit Compete in a Digital-First World

Many nonprofit organizations have been slow to adopt a digital-first mindset. This is partially due to a historical emphasis on in-person events, direct mail campaigns, and personal relationship building. But it’s also part of a more pervasive challenge. When you’re perpetually understaffed and overworked, it’s nearly impossible to innovate — especially if that innovation requires a skill set you don’t have.

That’s why you need the right web development partner by your side. It’s time to invest in a well-built, custom website that will grow and flex with your changing needs. 

If you’re ready to learn more about how Drupal can help your organization compete in today’s world, just reach out. We’d love to explore how we can help.