While a website is essential for a non-profit organization to make its presence known, the traditional methods of developing a non-profit website can take a lot of time, resources and money. Many organizations need to outsource a developer or graphic designer to design their website, and then a webmaster to continuously maintain and update it. If the work was done in-house, the technical team was limited in their capacity and size to scale for growth. However, many of the issues with these methods are overcome by designing a nonprofit website with an open source software platform.
What Is Open Source Software?There are generally two types of software: proprietary (or closed source) software and open source software. Proprietary software typically means that there is no way to access the software code and customize it towards certain needs, especially without the help of the company who owns it. DoJiggy’s fundraising platform is built on our proprietary platform, as nearly everyone was doing a decade or more ago. Open source software offers to a different philosophy: giving free access to the software code so that it is easily customized and integrated with new features or other platforms. There is often a rich library of plug-ins and integrations built upon the basic website software. With minimal effort and technical skills, adding on a website feature, such as credit card processing or live updates on social media, can be accomplished.
Is Open Source Software Free?A common misconception about open source software is that it is free for organizations to implement and use. Open source software is free, right? While open source software code is generally available at no cost to use and edit, this does not mean that implementing the software or hosting the software is free. You will still need technical knowledge and a hosting provider to create an open source website. DoJiggy provides managed website hosting for nonprofits, which means that we configure and manage all of your website infrastructure and software utilizing the best cloud-based practices. Our managed hosting offers a more full featured, dedicated solution for non-profits than the basic hosting solutions that provide low-cost services with few features or updates. So you can relax and take your mind off the techie stuff – let us handle that while you focus on your organization’s mission.
Benefits of Implementing Open Source SoftwareThere are advantages as to why an organization benefits when using an open source software platform designed for nonprofits:
- Low Cost: The most popular reason why open source software is the way to go is that it generally costs significantly less than its more traditional counterparts. A non-profit organization can often cut technology costs in half or more by choosing an open source software over proprietary software options that require lots of custom design work.
- State of the Art Solutions: Open source software gets the attention and help of thousands of developers. Since the code is available for any programmer to customize to their needs or the needs of their consumers, the amount of options and features that are available continuously grow and improve every day.
- Solid Security: Open source software has a tendency to be more secure, for the reason that so many more eyes are scrutinizing and reviewing the open code. When accountability lies on such a large number of people, patches and fixes can be escalated more vigilantly and pushed through more frequently than a proprietary software with code that only its own company can see.