There are only two ways to make sure your nonprofit stays viable. The first option is to create revenue by fundraising. The other option, which this post will explore, is to cut overhead by choosing free technology solutions. Nonprofits can leverage the ethos of open source software to provide their organization with current and useful technology resources without having to sacrifice precious dollars. 

 

1. Open Source Productivity Software

OpenOffice is a completely free and open source productivity suite that includes software to create word processing documents, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, and databases. According to OpenOffice.org, "it is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose." This means that OpenOffice can replace a costly software suite like Microsoft Office without any repercussions for your nonprofit. In fact, more than 150 government agencies, city governments, and organizations worldwide have already adopted use of OpenOffice. 

 

2. Open Source Content Management Systems

We previously mentioned two options for do-it-yourself websites. These provide a basic landing page for your nonprofit; but if you're looking for something more robust without the expensive price tag, then consider an open source CMS. The best choices for a nonprofit are WordpressJoomla, and Drupal. Each has strengths and weaknesses and will require some investigation to see which best fits the needs of your nonprofit; however, it still beats having to divert funds from your nonprofit's purpose and vision to establish a web presence. 

 

3. Open Source Operating Systems

A decade ago, the word Linux inspired visions of thick-spectacled men toiling in the basement amongst the glow of computer monitors. That is no longer the case. Linux is a free operating system, similar to Microsoft Windows. Not only is it reliable and secure, but Linux has a knack for breathing new life into outdated equipment. For your nonprofit, the advantage is twofold. First, your nonprofit will not have to incur the cost of expensive licensing that is included in the cost of purchasing a new computer. Second, once updated with Linux, existing equipment will last longer and extend the replacement cycle. The most popular version of Linux is a distribution called Ubuntu, however, there are hundreds of available versions that have been customized for a variety of purposes.

 

For more information on open source and other free technology solutions, visit us online or contact us.