Open Source For Non-Profits

There is statistical evidence that donations to non-profits may have increased from 2007 to 2008. reports that from January-October there was an increase of 3.72% over the same previous period. However, all data indicates that donations are dramatically decreasing in 2009. At the same time, requests for service have increased. reports that enrollment in the Oregon Health Plan may increase by 23% over the next two years. This at a time when state legislatures are slashing budgets.
In an effort to reduce overhead expenses, many agencies are turning to open source technologies. There is even a nonprofit open source initiative ( which hosted Penguin Day ( on April 25, 2009. The posted agenda lists sessions such as Introduction to Open Source Software, Open Source Content Management Systems, Introduction to Blogging, etc. NOSI also hosts frequent webinars which can be found on their webpage.
Corporate IT departments have embraced open source applications. However, many nonprofits lack internal IT staff and are unaware of the solutions that are available. Education is key to this understanding. Organizations such as NOSI and NTEN (Nonprofit Technology Network) are making this happen.

Joe Solomon’s blog at lays out a case-study for open source use in developing countries to solve medical record keeping.

Further reading: Open source for non-profits, Red Hat Magazine, January 2006,

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