Meet Bene, an affordable, open-source website solution for nonprofits

By Lev

Bene is based on a simple goal: Smaller nonprofits deserve websites that are designed to increase their impact and grow alongside them. Sounds simple enough, but achieving it has always been a major challenge from both the nonprofit and agency perspective.

Nonprofits have traditionally been forced to choose their digital solutions from two extremes on a spectrum. On the one side, you have low cost do-it-yourself solutions like SquareSpace or Wix. While inexpensive and easy to launch, these solutions serve such a wide array of use cases that they have nothing unique to offer nonprofits in terms of best practices. The content strategy and designs are not intended to tell a nonprofit’s compelling story and drive engagement. In addition, as the needs of a nonprofit grow, out of the box solutions may not flex to meet those needs, forcing an organization to start over with its digital strategy.

On the other end of the spectrum are custom websites conceived through a rigorous discovery process and built on open source platforms like Drupal and WordPress. If done right, this approach yields the best results: a gorgeous responsive website that provides powerful storytelling tools, increases fundraising, advocacy, and other types of engagement, and serves as the hub of an organization’s digital ecosystem. But these projects take time and money, typically 6-9 months and upwards of $200k.

RedHen Engagement Rules

As ThinkShout has grown, our business has focused more on those larger projects. But in the process, it’s become harder to work with the thousands of organizations who can’t afford the time and cost involved in building a completely custom website. We wanted to find a way to partner with grassroots organizations, as helping them succeed is core to who we are and what we do.

Bene is our answer to this problem: A low cost website for small nonprofits bundling content management, mission critical features, a tailored user experience, hosting, and strategic support. All built on an open source Drupal distribution that can grow alongside the organization.

We first conceived of Bene during an open source “sprint for good” event nearly 2 years ago. This month, we’re proud to launch our first website on the platform for Free Geek, with two more on the way over the next few weeks. We do recognize there are other efforts to address this need, from Drutopia to We support all of them, as the growing number of organizations working to make our world a better place have a wide range of requirements, and they need all the help they can get!

Learn more about Bene and please get in touch if you think it’s a good fit for you, or have some ideas on how to improve it. We realize we’ve only taken the first step.