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:

  • The course requires students to develop a software product that serves the mission of a local client organization. Examples of past projects can be viewed here.
  • Students may interact with the client on a regular basis throughout the course to show progress and get feedback. This approach is part of the CO-FOSS development model.
  • Students use modern tools to complete the software. For example, past projects have used PHP, MySQL, Javascript, Eclipse, Java, and GitHub.
  • The software “lives” in a public repository (e.g., GitHub), so that it can be reused by a future 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.
  • Students make important community service contributions.
  • The client gains new and useful software that will outlast the semester.
  • The project provides good will and positive press for both the university and the client.

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.