How Drupal as a Digital Public Good Empowers Nonprofits

Profile picture for user Firas Ghunaim
Firas Ghunaim


The open-source movement has revolutionized how technology enables communities. At the heart of this movement lies the concept of Digital Public Goods (DPGs) – freely available resources that benefit society. Drupal, a robust Open-Source Content Management System (CMS), stands tall as a prime example of a DPG, playing an essential role in the success of countless nonprofit organizations (NPOs).

This article delves deep into the power of Drupal as a DPG, exploring how NPOs leverage its capabilities to increase their impact and foster stronger communities. We'll examine real-world examples, learn about the core principles of DPGs, and shed light on how Drupal aligns with this crucial digital movement.


What are Digital Public Goods?

DPGs are defined by the Digital Public Goods Alliance (DPGA) as “open-source software, open data, open artificial intelligence models, open standards, and open content.” This definition is derived from the UN Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation. DPGs should adhere to privacy and other applicable laws and best practices, do no harm by design, and help attain the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As open-source software, DPGs are freely available for all governments and others to use, customize, and adapt for their own digital public infrastructure. They can enhance the delivery of services across the public sector in areas such as health, education, social services, and payments. The potential of DPGs extends far beyond the digitalization of public services, offering significant economic and societal opportunities.


The growth and rise of digital public goods


The Rise of Digital Public Goods

The digital age has changed the way we connect and interact with the world around us. However, access to the tools and resources that fuel this connectivity can often be a barrier for many. DPGs bridge this gap by providing open, accessible, and interoperable resources that benefit everyone.

Imagine a library, not just for books, but for digital tools that help communities thrive. This library is DPGs. NPOs, educational institutions, and even governments can access the tools needed to create impactful digital platforms without exorbitant costs or restrictive licensing.


Core Characteristics of DPGs:

  • Open Source: Freely available for anyone to use, modify, and distribute.
  • Globally Accessible: Designed for widespread adoption and use by diverse communities.
  • Collaborative: Cooperation among diverse groups, including developers and users, to enhance and maintain digital tools.
  • Interoperable: Seamlessly integrates with other digital tools and platforms.
  • Community-Driven: Backed by a collaborative community that fosters development.


Representation of Digital Public Goods as a library for digital tools


Drupal as a Digital Public Good

Drupal embodies these core principles, making it a quintessential DPG. Its open-source nature enables NPOs of all sizes to build robust websites and digital experiences without breaking the bank. The vibrant Drupal community provides ongoing support, innovation, and a wealth of resources, ensuring continuous improvement and scalability.


NPOs Powered by Drupal

Overhauling the Digital Landscape of ADA with Drupal 10 & Multisite Architecture

Drupal 10's multisite architecture enhances the digital presence of nonprofits, ensuring top-tier security, performance, and a user-centric experience. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) utilizes Drupal to manage its contribution to the fight against diabetes by funding research, improving treatment options, and offering care services.

ADA revamped its online presence using multisite capabilities, developing a cohesive and intuitive platform with Drupal. This resulted in scalable digital infrastructure, unique designs for its audience, centralized content management, and robust security of user data.

With the upgrade, ADA can now educate, support, and enable individuals affected by diabetes more efficiently, allowing them to reach a larger audience, manage life-saving services, and positively impact many lives.


ADA's new website powered by Drupal multisite architecture

Source: QED42


How Drupal Empowers NPOs

Drupal enables these NPOs to:

  • Reduce Costs: Free and open-source, Drupal eliminates the need for expensive licensing fees, allowing NPOs to allocate resources towards their core mission.
  • Increase Efficiency: Drupal's user-friendly interface and extensive tools streamline website management, freeing up valuable time for NPO staff.
  • Embrace Customization: Drupal's flexible architecture allows NPOs to tailor their website to their specific needs and target audiences.
  • Foster Collaboration: The open-source nature encourages collaboration and knowledge sharing within the NPO community, leading to a collective benefit.


The Drupal Community: A Driving Force

The vibrant Drupal community is a cornerstone of its success as a DPG. Developers from all over the world contribute their expertise, develop modules for specific functionalities, and offer ongoing support.

This collaborative spirit ensures continuous innovation and adaptation, allowing Drupal to stay ahead of the curve and serve the ever-evolving needs of NPOs and other organizations.


Digital Public Goods: Transforming Society

Digital transformation is revolutionizing how we live, driving economic growth, and reshaping society.

While sectors like finance and technology have rapidly adopted these changes, governments must catch up to meet citizens' expectations and enhance public service delivery.

Collaboration is key to maximizing the impact of DPGs.

By partnering with organizations that develop and implement DPGs and working closely with the Digital Public Goods Alliance and Co-Develop, governments can leverage DPGs to expedite digital transformation and improve global outcomes.


Examples of DPGs

  • DHIS2: Used as a health management information system (HMIS), DHIS2 is the world’s largest HMIS platform, used by 76 low- and middle-income countries, supporting approximately 3.2 billion people.
  • Mojaloop: Enabling various digital financial service providers (DFSPs) to link up with each other, Mojaloop aims to address the digital financial needs of 1.7 billion unbanked people across the world. It has been deployed in Tanzania and Uganda, with pilots in many other countries.
  • Singpass: A digital identity authentication system used in Singapore, Singpass provides residents with access to various government services online. It has created new opportunities for innovation and economic growth by establishing a foundational national digital identity.


Commercial Opportunity for DPGs

The DPG market is a huge opportunity, particularly for system integrators. As EY estimates show, the annual DPG market will be US$100 billion by 2030, with the potential to grow beyond that in the following years. This creates a sizeable and exciting market for many players to participate in and benefit from financially.


Estimated annual size for the DPG market by 2030


System Integrators' Role

System integrators (SIs) play a crucial role in the DPG market. Although DPGs are free, their implementation and adoption are not. SIs are well-placed to customize and localize DPGs, maintain and upgrade them, and provide last-mile connectivity, training, and support communities. They also integrate DPGs with existing government systems and institutional frameworks.

By seizing the opportunity to collaborate and support the DPG movement, SIs can secure a long-term revenue stream and contribute to global good.


The Impact of DPGs Today and Tomorrow

DPGs are already delivering value, but their real potential is yet to be fully realized. The time to seize this opportunity is now.

Benefits of DPGs

  • Scalability: Once in place, DPGs can easily be rolled out across populations.
  • Flexibility: They are quick to adapt and deploy with relative ease.
  • Applicability: They can support governments across all income levels.
  • Cost-effectiveness: They are good value for money, with costs estimated to be between US$0.24 and US$0.74 per head for large countries.

In India, for example, the use of the MOSIP DPG as part of the Aadhaar program provided 1.3 billion people with a digital ID, allowing many unbanked individuals to open bank accounts. In Norway, the Global Digital Library DPG provides children worldwide with access to quality learning resources in their native languages.


Number of users accessing learning resources in multiple languages



Drupal, as a DPG, represents the democratization of technology for social good. It helps NPOs focus on their missions, leaving the complexities of web development to the dedicated Drupal community.

In a world where technology is a powerful driver for change, access to digital tools is crucial for social impact. By championing DPGs like Drupal, we enable NPOs to compete and thrive in the digital landscape. This fosters a more just and equitable environment where technology makes positive change, and NPOs can effectively address the world's most pressing challenges.

Get in touch with our team of experts today to create a future-focused digital architecture with Drupal.