Giving Compass' Take:

• Open source software is a predominantly free forum for building digital platforms and tools online. This could be highly beneficial for the social sector by increasing accessibility and innovation for social good. 

• What are the current issues that many social sector professionals face regarding technology? How can open source help fill the gaps?

• Read about how you can invest in nonprofit technology for good. 

It is increasingly important that any serious enterprise—whether startup, media brand, government agency, foundation, or nonprofit organization—have access to cutting edge, reliable, and useful digital tools that extend their reach and accelerate their success.

Open source is vital for the digital community, providing an accessible, predominantly free forum for building everything from websites to analytic data platforms. Open source also spurs creativity and resource sharing among groups that otherwise would rarely connect. It’s a form of collaboration that is becoming mission-critical for many nonprofits that lack the budgets to build robust digital products on their own.

When properly supported, open source software can spark innovation, accelerate social good, and ultimately help change the world.

Open source software is a piece of software whose source code is available for others to read, study, modify, and redistribute with little restriction other than that the free access is maintained. Open source software is often developed in a highly collaborative manner with multiple—sometimes hundreds—of people contributing pieces of code using specialized tools to manage their collaboration and the stability of the project.

Read the full article on open source software by John E. Jones at Stanford Social Innovation Review.