Report on Content Management Systems Powering Foundation Websites

Last month while conducting research for an upcoming report on Foundations and their use of Twitter, we started looking at what Content Management Systems (CMS) were running Foundations’ websites. Our curiosity lead us to look at the top 885 Foundations with websites (based on endowment size), utilizing the Wappalyzer browser plug-in to determine how the sites were built and what technologies and services were in use.

A note on methodology: the list of Foundations and their website URLs came from the Glass Pockets transparency database. We used Wappalyzer during the month of December 2010 and looked only at the home page of Foundation. We were able to clearly identify the technology powering 478 of the 885 Foundation websites (54%).


Here are some highlights from the tables below:

When we look at all the Foundations in our sample, Drupal is the front-runner among open source systems, but not by much. Wordpress trails in second, and just over half as many sites are running Joomla compared to Drupal. Most surprising to us is how few Foundation sites (just five) are running Plone.

When we look at the largest 500 Foundations, Drupal has double the WordPress instances, and Joomla is right on the heels of WordPress with just 3 fewer sites. In both samples, the proprietary web framework powers the highest number of sites, however the lead is significantly smaller in the top 500 Foundation sample. Similarly, Dreamweaver drops from 10.51% of the full sample, remaining ahead of all the open source CMSs, to just 5% in the top 500 sample, a few points behind Drupal at 7.6%.

Top 885 Organizations

Table Showing Foundation Website Content Management SystemsPie Chart Showing Which Systems power Foundation WebsitesPie Chart Showing open source systems powering foundation websites

  • 50% of the websites (435) are running google analytics.
  • 21% of the websites have jQuery on the home page.
  • Top 500 Foundations

    Table showing top 500 Foundation Website systemsPie Chart showing systems powering top 500 foundations' websitesPie Chart showing open source systems powering top 500 foudnations' websites



    What is interesting about this research is that, it in many ways, it echoes what Drupal Project founder Dries Buytaert has said even recently: other open source Content Management Systems are not the competition, but rather it’s proprietary Content Management Systems and “hand-coded” sites. When you look at these numbers, Dreamweaver and have over 35% of the market, while the open source systems combined make up just about 19%! 

    There is tremendous room for Drupal adoption to grow within the Foundation market. As more Foundations begin to use Drupal, it is likely that Drupal will also grow within the non-profit sector funded by these Foundations. Once these Foundations stop paying for proprietary systems in-house, they will be less inclined to pay for them at the organizations they fund. This is very exciting especially in light of last week’s launch of Drupal 7.