5 Ways Nonprofits Can Take Advantage of Open Source Technology

Open source technologies are hardware and software which are completely accessible to the general public. This means that they can be continually refined and updated by anyone with the knowledge and reason to do so. Open source technology, particularly software, can be found for almost any purpose; here are 5 ways that your nonprofit organization can make use of this valuable resource.

Increase software stability

The fewer employees a nonprofit needs, the better. Open source software is known to be more stable than proprietary software, both for everyday use and when updating and upgrading. This comes from the vast amount of programmers who use the software – bugs are inevitably caught and corrected quite rapidly. More stability means better performance, with less time and money spent on computer technicians. Upgrades are easy because the source code is available and there are knowledgeable people available to help, often for free.

Save money

Using open source technology is obviously cheaper than proprietary technology because it is often free, or only needs to be bought once. However, you may not know about some of the not-so-obvious ways that it can save you money. If you ever have an issue with software performance, there will most likely be a dedicated online community that has previously discussed and probably solved your problem. If necessary, you can personally ask a programmer experienced with the code for help.

Increase efficiency

Open source technologies are created by communities of programmers who do not like messy programs. Therefore, the software usually runs fast and easily interfaces with other code. Information moves quickly, wherever it is going. This means less waiting at the computer, and in some cases the ability to automate what before had to be done by hand. If a particular piece of software or hardware fails or becomes out of date, you will save time and money by simply replacing the bad code or parts, instead of paying for the purchase and installation of something new. Costs are usually directly related to how long work takes; there's no underestimating the value of making things less confusing and more accessible.

Increase flexibility

You can expect change and growth to occur. When this happens, your technology will need to change with it. Open source technology has proven to be an adaptive solution to the fluid situations that many nonprofits face. Having full access to the software source code means that you, or someone you hire, can endlessly customize it to suit your changing needs.

Enhance your ability to connect diverse systems

Open source technology is typically built to open standards. This allows different products created by different people to blend seamlessly, without need of third-party software or devices. A nonprofit can safely use and send this technology to others, knowing that they will be able to receive and use it, regardless of their operating system and software.


"Benefits of Open Source." http://www.theopenlearningcentre.com/resources/knowledgebase/benefits-of...