by Elliot Christenson on June 7, 2017 - 3:14pm

As part of our series discussing the use of Drupal in non-profits (click here to subscribe via e-mail), we recently reached out to one of our favorite clients, WIEGO, who candidly shared some of their struggles and successes.

Since re-launching their site on Drupal almost 6 years ago, they've grown from a site with 50 static pages, to a searchable, categorized repository of news and knowledge spanning over 22,000 articles!

In this case study, we gain some insights into how organizations like WIEGO decided on Drupal, have lived with some of the growing-pains, and are planning to move forward into the future!

Read more to find out!

About WIEGO

Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) is a global research - policy network that aims to improve the status of the working poor, especially women, in the informal economy.

WIEGO works to improve the status of the working poor, especially women, in the informal economy through increased organization and representation; improved statistics and research; more inclusive policy processes; and more equitable trade, labour, urban, and social protection policies. We believe all workers should have equal economic opportunities and rights and be able to determine the conditions of their work and lives.

WIEGO just celebrated its 20th year anniversary as an organization April 18, 2017 and has 42 team members worldwide (Latin America, Asia, Africa, Europe, North America).

How WIEGO "Drupals"!

What are some of the current objectives for your website at this time?

"Currently we are in maintenance mode, and we have a website running on Drupal version 6. This is mainly due to lack of financial resources to make improvements and do a site rebuild to Drupal 7 or Drupal 8."

What challenges were you experiencing prior to building a Drupal site?

"We had increasing amounts of content to add to our website but our capacity to post was limited because we had a static html site and only one person had the skills to post. We also were trying to list publications and other resources by country on our website, as well as list by other categories. All of this would have had to be done manually.

"Once our website was set up in Drupal (August 2011), we were able to train people who had no HTML or CSS skills, to post content using Drupal as a content management system. We now have five people who regularly post content on the website, without web technology skills. Our site grew from about 50 static HTML pages before Drupal, to a Drupal site containing more than 22,000 pieces of content."

What made Drupal stand out against competing platforms?

"The taxonomy features as well as scalability.

"As an open-source CMS, it also seemed to be less vulnerable to security breaches, compared to WordPress."

What did your decision-making process look like?

"We researched the pros and cons of three content management systems: Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress. We wanted to use an open source CMS versus a proprietary CMS. A proprietary CMS platform would be too limiting in that we would be tied to one vendor, always. We had some discussions among others who were part of WIEGO’s communications team but ultimately the decision to use Drupal was made by the webmaster and director of the organization."

What version of Drupal are you using and what are your plans for 2017, 2018, 2019?

"Drupal version 6. If we had the budget to do so, we would do a site rebuild using Drupal 7 or 8. Which version we would end up using would depend on whether Drupal 8 is developed enough with the modules we might need or to support any required customization."

How has Drupal helped your organization achieve your goals?

"We’re able to:

  • "Post more content more quickly, because more people are able to post. This includes 16,000 news stories about the informal economy throughout the world collected over a 6-year period."
  • "Tag items that can appear in multiple locations on the site"
  • "Implement a blog"

What features in Drupal made you choose it?

  • "Ability for non-technical administrators to update the site and add new content"
  • "Taxonomy features"
  • "A more robust and versatile CMS compared to the other open source platforms such as WordPress and Joomla"

Which features were you surprised by once your site launched?

"How difficult it was to change the layout if you did not have Drupal skills. Knowing HTML and CSS was not enough."

What is something that disappointed you about Drupal? Did you find a work-around?

  • "How costly is became to have alterations and enhancements made to the site, and the steep learning curve involved in learning how to make modifications using Drupal instead of html and css."
  • "Some of the workarounds we used had to do with layout, where we were able to do some formatting in the body field using html and css."
  • "We ideally would have wanted our Spanish site to be built on Drupal but it would have been too costly so we built it in WordPress (our workaround). And, not surprisingly, there have been security breaches."

Is there any aspect of your site that you feel is critical to your organization?

  • "Ensuring that the site is always up and running, which it is"
  • "It would be nice to have a multi lingual site (English, Spanish and French), but we haven’t quite mastered that. The main challenge is that the machine translation is not accurate."

Is there anything that you implemented on your site that you'd like to do differently in a future revision?

  • "We would want to build a responsive, mobile-friendly site, which, in 2011 wasn’t at the top of the wish list"
  • "Implement features that are known to be more compatible with user behavior, based on UX research. For example, instead of having a slideshow on the homepage with different stories that link elsewhere on the site, we would have just one item, which would be easily interchangeable"
  • "Have our site look more contemporary"
  • "Implement a feature that prioritizes search engine results (similar to the idea of having 'sponsored links' as the top of Google search results. The current Apache Solr search functionality doesn’t enable us to be selective about what content appears at the top of the results list based on key words/phrases"

myDropWizard is absolutely critical in continuing our use of Drupal! Particularly because we are using version 6. If it weren’t for myDropWizard our site would be at risk of having security vulnerabilities. The only other service that offers maintenance and security patches for Drupal 6 sites charges fees that are cost-prohibitive for our organization.

Conclusion

Drupal has helped WIEGO acheive many successes for their non-profit organization, but has also provided its challenges.

If you find yourself in a situation similar to that of WIEGO or want to learn more about how non-profits can successfully use Drupal, please subscribe to our Non-profit tips newsletter! Or, if you're interested in finding out more about how myDropWizard can help your organization, please contact us for your free, no-obligation site-audit!

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See you next time!

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