NPFI actively seeks to support new college-level classes to develop and customize open source software for local non-profits. Such a development process has the following elements:

  • In a 1-semester course, students develop and customize a software product that serves a mission-critical activity of a local non-profit organization. Examples of past projects can be viewed here.
  • Students interact with the non-profit on a regular basis (e.g., weekly) throughout the semester to show progress and get feedback. This approach is part of the CO-FOSS development model.
  • Students use open source tools to develop the software. For example, past projects have used PHP, MySQL, Javascript, Eclipse, Java, and GitHub.
  • The instructor uploads the completed software into a public repository (e.g., GitHub) under an open source license, so that it can be reused and/or extended by a future student development team.


  • Students gain a unique learning experience and a completed project to include in their resumes.
  • Students develop critical communication and teamwork skills that prepare them for professional success.
  • Student make important community service contributions.
  • The non-profit gains new and useful software that will outlast the semester.
  • The project provides good will and positive press for both the university and the non-profit community.

Other Resources

Further Information

Look at the examples of past projects to help you envision developing a course to meet similar needs for a local non-profit.  Consider applying for an NPFI grant to help support your work.  Please contact us if you would like feedback on your ideas.