Launch Open Outreach for Nonprofits

By Andrew Ward,
Shuttle launch

Did you know there's an easy and simple solution for start-up nonprofit and grassroots groups? It's called Open Outreach and it comes from the fearless minds at Chocolate Lily.  Combined with the power of Pantheon, Open Outreach is the ultimate free distribution geared toward activist organizations.  

Open Outreach comes with several flexible, Fusion Accelerator-powered themes, which enable you to enhance the look of the site through the skin and theme settings.  You are able to change the primary and secondary colors to match a client's brand, add things like borders and paddings to views, and even work with responsive layout settings.

Screenshot of the appearance settings in Drupal

Screenshot of responsive settings in Drupal

Content types for articles and blogs, calendar events, highlights (a slider), books (pages with associated child pages), and link lists are available, as are a multitude of pre-configured views in page and block format.  Profiles are already fleshed out to include a picture, recent posts view and a description, so a community blog network is basically ready to go.  Pre-configured roles funnel specific users into editor and contributor roles, with easy access to manage and post content without a black admin bar.  Really all a site builder needs to do in order to bring significant customization to their website is to sort through Context and Panels to enable or disable certain blocks or panes, and then dabble with the theme settings to add some style and color.  It's a snap!

We here at Kalamuna put together the Farm Food Freedom Coalition's website in a single work day using the tools already provided by Open Outreach.  The process was ridiculously straight forward.  First we went to Pantheon and spun up a free developer's site and then chose the Open Outreach distribution.  Once it was installed by Pantheon, we picked our theme, added some quality filler content, deactivated some views we didn't care for, and changed the names of several content types to meet client requirements.  We tinkered around with the theme until we had something suitable for launch and after that we were finished with the first version of the site.

Headshot of Keanu Reeves with the text Mind Blown

In short, it took much longer to work out the information architecture with the client than it did to build a launch-ready site.

We think Open Outreach on Pantheon is an incredibly powerful tool for site builders and web-savvy nonprofit staff and a great place to begin for those new to Drupal.  Open Outreach website has lots of documentation and tips to get one going right away!

We really look forward to this distribution being crafted into more of an airtight "product" over time, and congratulate Chocolate Lily for a job very well done.  Stop hitting your head against the wall and head over to Pantheon right away.  Magic awaits you.

Andrew Ward


Andrew's introduction to Drupal came through his activist work in the Beltway, and he's been delivering amazing websites to clients ever since. Fueled by raw milk and unprocessed foods, Andrew is driven to liberate you from rotten correspondence. He applies his Belichick-like attention to detail to each project to ensure success and happiness.