Free Apps and Software for Non-Profits

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In response to the Nationwide Day Calendar, February is Free & Open Supply Software program (FOSS) Month. Open supply (OS) software program is usually a implausible useful resource for non-profit organizations that want know-how, simply as a for-profit enterprise does, however typically have fewer sources to pay for costly options.

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So, what’s an open supply software program? You most likely already use a number of the hottest open supply packages with out even realizing it.

  • WordPress (running a blog and web site design)
  • Firefox (web browser)
  • Android (cellular machine working system)

These are all open supply software program. OS software program builders (aka the copyright holders) make the supply code out there to anybody to view or edit. The software program or app can be free for anybody to make use of, copy, or give away. OS software program is usually developed in a public collaboration. For instance, for those who click on on About Firefox within the browser’s Assist menu, you will note that the Firefox web browser “is designed by Mozilla, a world group working to maintain the Internet open, public and accessible to all.”

The concept behind this fashion of making software program is the speculation that programmers, who work for a for-profit enterprise and the enterprise itself, are specializing in defending their possession and revenue along with, or as a substitute of, making the software program the very best high quality it may be. OS advocates imagine {that a} bigger group of programmers, who depend on friends to seek out and get rid of issues within the code, will create a extra helpful and better high quality product for everybody.

The large benefit of open supply software program, in fact, is that it is free. The truth that the code is public signifies that tons of and even 1000’s of programmers and customers might check, consider, debug, and improve the app you ultimately use. Listed here are the highest 5 causes open supply advocates give for the advantages of open supply software program, along with the zero-dollar price ticket:

  • Safety: the extra individuals who can see and check a set of code, the extra seemingly safety flaws will probably be discovered and stuck.
  • Reliability: it is peer reviewed, with bugs fastened instantly somewhat than in far-future variations.
  • Identification: it may be custom-made.
  • Low-resource depth: open supply software program can often be run on the older computer systems widespread in non-profit places of work.
  • Freedom of selection: No dedication till you’re certain (attempt as many various packages as you want-they’re free!)

There are downsides, nonetheless. The most typical, in my expertise, is that there most likely is not a assist desk or tech help cellphone quantity for customers to name. The assistance desk for an OS software program system often is the identical weblog or web site the place programmers and testers obtain code and focus on bugs that they discover.

Under is an inventory of some OS apps and software program, which many non-profit organizations will discover helpful. They’re all broadly used, award-winning packages. Simply keep in mind, that does not imply they’re all mechanically proper for YOUR non-profit. Take into account who in your workers (whether or not in-office or consultants) will

  • set up the software program
  • preserve the software program and any information
  • practice new customers
  • use the software program frequently

Take into account whether or not whether or not this software program must “speak to” different software program in your group. Will the packages be appropriate? When you’ve got current information that can should be transformed to the brand new package deal, who will do this?

Now that we have cautioned you in regards to the dangers, listed here are our favourite open supply software program packages:

  • LibreOffice: workplace productiveness suite together with phrase processor, spreadsheet, presentation, database, and so on. based mostly on, and successor to OpenOffice. Awarded Finest Free Workplace Suite by CNET Journal
  • GIMP: GNU Picture Manipulation Program picture and picture editor. Works on GNU / Linux, OS X, Home windows, and extra. Named a Prime Free Software program Choose for 2013 by PC Journal
  • Audacity: digital audio editor created by a professor and a pupil at Carnegie Mellon College. Chosen as one among PC World Journal’s 100 Finest Merchandise of 2008
  • Shotcut: cross-platform video editor and encoder. Named a TechRadar Obtain of the Day
  • Thunderbird: e mail and chat shopper developed by Mozilla (maker of Firefox). PC World Journal’s Finest 100 Merchandise in 2005 and 2008
  • KeePass: password supervisor. Really useful password supervisor by the German Federal Workplace for Data Safety and the French Community and Data Safety Company. KeePass has the very best rating within the password administration grid of G2 Crowd
  • Rocket.Chat: multi-platform internet chat, video conferencing, and staff communications. InfoWorld Journal BOSSIE 2016 Award

One of many greatest non-profit wants is for a constituent relationship administration (CRM) system that permits the group to maintain observe of goals, prospects, volunteers, and different constituents in addition to communications with constituents. Listed here are the free and open supply CRMs you would possibly examine when it is time for a brand new CRM at your non-profit.

  • Suite CRM (previously Sugar CRM) is likely one of the hottest, though it isn’t particular to non-profit
  • CiviCRM has been developed particularly for non-profit organizations

If you wish to study extra, many non-profit and charitable organizations promote the open supply software program motion. Listed here are a number of of the most important and longest-lived:

  • Apache Software program Basis: supplies help for the group of Apache open-source software program merchandise
  • The Doc Basis: German charitable basis created by a big group of free software program advocates
  • The Eclipse Basis: an unbiased non-profit funded by member dues to permit a vendor-neutral and open group to steward the ibm-created eclipse undertaking
  • Free Software program Basis: works to make sure freedom for pc customers worldwide, notably by selling the GNU free working system
  • Linux Basis: helps many open supply initiatives, together with the 25-year-old Linux working system
  • OpenCourseWare Consortium: worldwide community of academic establishments, organizations, and individuals who promote openness in schooling, together with collective improvement and use of open academic supplies
  • OpenHatch: matches potential open supply software program programmers with communities, instruments, and schooling
  • OpenSourceMatters: presents monetary, authorized, and organizational help for the Joomla! content material administration system for web sites
  • Open Supply Initiative: represents the open supply group, maintains the Open Supply Definition, and creates open-source licenses

The label “open supply” is claimed to have been been coined at a method session held in 1998 shortly after the announcement of the discharge of the Netscape internet browser supply code. Within the virtually 20 years since then, the Free and Open Supply Software program market and merchandise have matured. Non-profits can benefit from the high-quality, free * software program out there for productiveness, constituent administration, and different important duties.

* Simply keep in mind, not all free software program is free or protected to make use of.

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