Many nonprofits in India are using technology to solve their problems. From basic and easily accessible tools to sophisticated tracking and analytics software, these solutions are helping organisations try innovative approaches to old problems. Though our work at Svarya, a strategy consulting firm working with funders and nonprofits, we have also seen many nonprofits use tech to improve the efficiency of their internal processes, including in salary processing, accounting, and documentation management and control.

But, despite growing demand for tech solutions, nonprofits face many obstacles in developing and adopting technology that adequately serves their needs. Over the last four years, Svarya’s work with more than 40 organisations has revealed some common patterns in their trying to use technology effectively.

  1. Funding gaps
  2. A lack of talent
  3. An under-developed market

Open-source or free software includes any software that can be publicly distributed without permission from the original creators, and can also be modified or publicly used by anyone. In some cases, there may be certain conditions that apply to users, for instance, if a user made improvements to the original software, they need to distribute the modified software for free as well.

Open-source is usually a more suitable alternative to paid softwares for the nonprofit sector. Here’s why:

  1. Open-source software is not heavily protected by complicated licenses and intellectual property regulations. So, once a solution is developed, it can be easily replicated across organisations and shared widely for others to use and modify, without paying any additional fees to the original developers.
  2. With proprietary software you can face difficulties with compatibility, especially if you are using these solutions alongside existing or older solutions—which is often the case with nonprofits.
  3. There are many open-source softwares and tools that can be picked up and used without any customisation, like in the case of tools such as WeTransfer or CamScanner.

Read the full article about open source tech for nonprofits by Rahul Kanvinde at India Development Review.