Global Nonprofit

One of the largest global nonprofit organizations in the world, with 15 million members, provides relief and development projects for humanitarian purposes. With members in more than 180 countries, this organization publishes more than 150 websites in more than 100 languages with hundreds of different contributors from all over the world who translate and publish content.

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In 2007, the organization’s websites had grown too large and complex to keep up with the demand for new and changing websites and content management workflows. The main website had billions of page hits per year with peaks at millions of page hits per day. Members access the site via desktops, laptops and phones on a regular basis. The organization needed to deliver its content to dozens of geographically dispersed and rapidly expanding groups around the world. Its off-the-shelf solution struggled to meet these needs.

After having invested in its own custom XML schema for years, this nonprofit had a massive collection of histories, curriculum, and operations documents. It needed to get the value back out of the investment. Working with the content at any scale was a manual process, time consuming, and error prone. The customer needed a database that was searchable, and from which the content could be repurposed, printed, published on the web, and accessed by mobile devices. The most immediate need was an easy, flexible way to build their custom workflows and websites fast, do editing in context, send content to translation, route content through editing processes, and deploy approved documents to a highly scalable and available website infrastructure.

The Solution

The organization chose MarkLogic Enterprise NoSQL database as its new platform in order to be a single-source repository to serve all the content-related needs for contributors all over the world. Now it takes a few days to create new websites and a few weeks for contributors to populate the website with content.

By bringing a high-performance database management system designed for content to the organization, MarkLogic was able to show that the client’s vision for rapid website creation, custom content workflows, and single-source publishing was not only possible, but also quickly attainable.

My favorite thing is that MarkLogic is an application server with a database and search engine as one, which is the key to our productivity,” said the principal engineer. “MarkLogic was so easy to pick up that interns who work with us right out of college quickly learned the system and evangelized it throughout the company.


MarkLogic gave the client the ability to create custom dynamic websites with rich user interaction and user-contributed content for millions of global users with five nines (99.999%) of availability. MarkLogic also provided:

Rapid deployment/demonstrated agility. The principal engineer for this project was able to understand, install, and use MarkLogic within a few hours. Contributors worldwide who have never seen the web content management system that they built in MarkLogic, simply get a link and start using the program with no training.

Fast website creation. Once an interactive designer has created an HTML and CSS template for a website, contributors can immediately begin contributing content. HTML triggers code in MarkLogic to automatically generate forms to make it easy for content contributors to enter content in structured and unstructured ways. HTML also triggers code in MarkLogic to render web pages on demand by merging the contributed content with the HTML.

Multi-language and global support. Translators are fully integrated into the process of creating websites and MarkLogic renders the content in context so it’s translated accurately. Additionally, users all over the world can participate in the content creation, translation, and editing process. MarkLogic’s replication capabilities make it ideal to serve up the data close to users in their country.

In content editing (ICL). There is an “approvals” workflow for editors to approve a site before it is published. MarkLogic renders the site through the lens of both a mobile and web view so editors, content contributors, and translators can see the site as it looks on all major devices. Content contributors and editors can also modify and add to any part of the website at any time.

Integrated search. Using MarkLogic’s search capabilities, the organization built a search feature that understands their content and delivers a search experience that beats Google in blind tests.

Member engagement. Using MarkLogic, the organization was able to built a solution for in-context note taking, highlighting content, keeping a journal, and cross-referencing. At peak loads, which occur regularly each week, the app processes 210 transactions per second. The organization saw 2.5x growth in first six months of 2013. Similar growth continues to this day.

Scalable performance. The main website, which runs on MarkLogic, has billions of page hits per year and it regularly peaks at 4 million page hits per day, with an additional 6.6 million transactions per day for user-contributed data.

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