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Drupal for Nonprofits: 6 Options to Build a Fundraising Powerhouse

Drupal is a widely-adapted web content management system (CMS) in the nonprofit world for good reason. Aside from providing best-in-class enterprise-level functionality in content authoring workflow, scalability, security, mobile-readiness, multisite and multilingual capability, and so much more, Drupal is also free, open source, and supported by a massive global community of developers, designers, and authors. 

Critical to most nonprofits is the ability to fundraise. Fortunately, the Drupal community offers a variety of choices for fundraising. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems like RedHen CRM and CiviCRM integrate with Drupal and come with their own fundraising components, but if you don’t want to integrate a CRM with your Drupal solution, you have plenty of other options. This blog post covers some of the options available. They range from basic to complex, depending on your needs. 

Simple links to established payment services

The simplest way of enabling fundraising on your Drupal or Wordpress sites is to integrate with established services that accept payments, like PayPal, Amazon, and Google. Each offers a ready-made pastable code snippet that renders a checkout button (some configuration required). Clicking the button navigates the user to the payment service and back again. Even though integrations can be complex in many cases, it is simple in this case. The challenge instead is that it’s just a button; presenting it in a usable way is still the responsibility of the nonprofit organization that uses it. 

Payment

 The Drupal Payment module is more of a platform that organizes multiple payment methods in one place. Other Drupal modules can access any of these payment methods through the Payment platform. For example, if your site uses Drupal Commerce and Ubercart Plus Basic cart, every single payment form on your site need only access the Payment application programming interface (API) to use them. This shortens development time and simplifies the user experience because all payment method information is located in one place. Over a dozen payment methods are supported, including Buckaroo, Datatrans, Strip, and much more. 

the Drupal payment module

Drutopia Fundraising

Drutopia Fundraising is one of a suite of modules in the Drutopia project, with provides open source technologies that meet the needs unique to nonprofits, unions, small businesses, and others that have low budgets but a need for great functionality. 

At this writing, the module is not fully released but is in alpha state for you to use. As pre-release software, it also does not yet comply with the Drupal community’s security advisory policy. Extra precaution may be needed to evaluate module security

homepage for Drutopia distribution

Ubercart

If your organization’s fundraising needs are more complex than a simple payment button can handle, you can treat fundraising like the sale of a complex product, using the shopping cart functionality of one of Drupal’s popular e-commerce modules such as Ubercart. Ubercart boasts a configurable, flexibly-displayed product catalog, where each product is highly configurable with custom images, attributes, role promotions, and much more. A few of its many other features include the following (from drupal.org/project/ubercart):

  • Single page checkout.
  • Automatic account generation (anonymous checkout).
  • Customer and administrator checkout notifications.
  • Simple order processing (with workflow for automated order processing).
  • Simple order creation and editing.
  • Integrated payment system that acts as a bridge between acceptable payment methods (check, credit card, purchase order, etc.) and payment gateways (CyberSource, Authorize.net, PayPal, etc.).
  • Shipping quotes and fulfillment, including integration with UPS, FedEx, USPS.
  • Sales, product, and customer reports.
  • Activity logging.
  • Much more

Ubercart logo

Drupal Commerce

Like Ubercart, Drupal Commerce is better suited for complex fundraising situations. With almost 1 million downloads and over a whopping 61,000 sites using it, Drupal Commerce is the Drupal community’s most-used e-commerce solution. It includes the following features (from drupal.org/project/commerce): 

  • Create product types with custom attributes
  • Dynamic product displays
  • Order management, line item
  • Payment method API, allowing many different payment gateways
  • Tax calculation / VAT support
  • Discount pricing rules
  • Deep integration with Drupal functionality including Fields, Views, Rules and Entity API.

Drupal commerce logo

Recurly

The Recurly Drupal module integrates Drupal with Recurly, a subscription management and billing service. It works with your existing payment gateway or merchant account, or you can use Recurly’s own free gateway. The module allows for optional push notifications from Recurly.com, offers the ability to view invoices and subscriptions, and allows for the upgrading or downgrading of subscription levels. The module can further be configured to outsource account management to Recurly.com.  

Recurly page shows option to update billing and credit card information

One Drupal platform. Multiple options for fundraising.  

This is but a small sample of the fundraising options available through the Drupal platform. For more information on this and other Drupal functionality, as well as digital strategy and user experience design services, please contact us at Mediacurrent, and we’ll be glad to help. See also our recent webinar discussing our work with Habitat for Humanity, in which we migrated their Drupal 7 site to Drupal 8 to leverage the latter’s advanced capabilities to help increase donations and recruit new volunteers.

Headshot

Meet team member, Bill Shaouy

Bill is a senior technical professional who has been working with Drupal for over ten years. He has innovated client-centered, Drupal-based solutions for non-profit and for-profit organizations, placing a premium on fostering lasting relationships with clients and teammates in equal measure.

Bill was first introduced to Drupal in 2007, when he served as I/T Architect and Development Lead for the DC Comics Zuda web content management system. Since then, Bill has led Drupal projects in both the profit and nonprofit space, for such organizations as the State of Georgia, Jane Addams Hull House, the Mohonk Nature Preserve, the New York Hall of Science, Mentorplace, the World Bank, and most recently, the Atlanta Falcons. He also served as one of the original board members of the Atlanta Drupal User’s Group, giving multiple presentations there and contributing to the running of the early Atlanta Drupalcamps, and was also the founder and long time chairman of the IBM Drupal User's Group. Bill has also conducted many technology roadmap consulting engagements over the past several years, many from the nonprofit space. These engagements helped clients form a long term technology strategy based on current and projected requirements. 

When he’s not working, Bill is an active musician and songwriter, with two albums of his own and several more with him accompanying on piano.

Learn more about Bill >

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