Useful free software for your community organisation
It is important for every community group to make the most of the best free and cheap computer software available.
The ability to lower your IT costs without compromising on quality means you will have more money to spend on other parts of your mission and operations.
Our Community has compiled a list of free or very cheap software that can be used by groups in the sector. In addition, there are a number of sector-specific software packages listed below which your group might be interested in investigating further.
- Ubuntu Linux - The most popular free operating system. Used to run desktops and servers.
- Fedora - A poster child for free open source Linux operating systems.
- Google's Chromium - Chromium is a little complicated but a very fast web operating system.
- PC-BSD - A complete desktop operating system that doesn't require intense protection against viruses and spyware.
- Haiku - A user-friendly open source operating system aimed at personal computing.
- Jolicloud - A simple operating system designed for people who like surfing the web.
- Apache Open Office - The most famous and well rounded suite generally considered the free alternative to MS Office.
- WPS Office Free - Almost identical to Microsoft Office 2003. Offers Writer, Spreadsheet and Presentation.
- Softmaker FreeOffice - A lite version of Softmaker Office 2012.
- Google Drive - Google Drive is a web based suite which can be accessed through online Google cloud storage. Users can create and edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations online.
- Serif PagePlus SE - Provides a range of templates which are easy to use and edit.
- Scribus - An open source program that provides professional publishing features on a user-friendly interface.
- Fatpaint - A free online graphic design, desktop publishing software and image editor.
- Google SketchUp - A 3D modelling software that is easy and intuitive. Available on Windows and Mac.
- Inkspace - A free open source vector graphics editor similar to Adobe Illustrator. Available on Windows, Mac and Linus.
Graphics and photos
- Gimp - Gimp is the most widely used free image manipulation and editing software.
- Serif Photo Plus SE - Serif Photo Plus SE provides photo editing features that are easy to use.
- Paint.NET - A free image and photo editing software that is intuitive and easy to use. Only available on Windows.
- Picassa - Google's graphics and photo software.
- VCW VicMan's Photo Editor - A versatile image editor.
- Photo Filtre - A free image editor that is a reasonable alternative to the expensive Photoshop. Only available on Windows.
A number of image generator applications are featured on this page
of the Our Community website.
- Primo PDF - The most popular PDF creator allowing conversion to and from PDF formats. Available on Windows, Mac and iOS.
- PDF Forge's PDF Creator - Allows you to convert documents to PDF, JPG, PNG and more. Only available on Windows.
- Dora PDF Writer - Dora allows you to change most files into a PDF. Runs on Windows and Mac.
- Nitro PDF Reader - A PDF reader and a PDF creator, converting up to 300 different file formats to PDF.
Document reader and viewer software
- Outlook.com - Outlook.com is Microsoft's public email point.
- Gmail - Google's email program. Gmail is intuitive, efficient and easy to use and has more than enough storage for anybody. It also has a very good SPAM blocker.
- Thunderbird Email - Thunderbird Email is a free email application that's easy to set up and customize.
Cloud computing allows you to store and access data and programs over the Internet instead of another type of hard drive.
- Dropbox - Dropbox is an online secure file, data and program sharing and storage facility.
- iCloud - iCloud is an online secure file, data and program sharing and storage facility.
- Google Cloud - Google Cloud is an online secure file, data and program sharing and storage facility.
Social media management tools
- Tweetdeck- Tweetdeck is an online tool for Twitter that helps you schedule, post and manage your Twitter content.
- Google Analytics - Google Analytics is a great source of social media analytics for your website.
- GrabInBox - GrabInBox allows you to manage multiple Facebook profiles and pages, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles.
Free web browsers
- Google Chrome - Google Chrome is a web browser designed and built by Google.
- Firefox - Firefox is an independent web browser.
- Opera - Opera is web browser available on dektop, mobile and tablet.
- EasyHTML - A freeware HTML editor.
- NVU - A free HTML editor.
- Joomla - Joomla is an open source website building and content management system.
- Drupal - Drupal is a website building and content management system.
- Weebly - Weebly offers a drag and drop style format for building a website.
- Wix - Wix offers hundreds of free fully customisable HTML5 templates to build your website.
Antivirus and asscociated software
Computer cleaners aim to keep your machine humming along by getting rid of unwanted or unnecessary files. Two top-notch free computer cleaners are:
- CCleaner - A well-designed system maintenance utility and cleanup program. Runs on Windows and Mac.
- SlimWare Utilities SlimCleaner - SlimCleaner is a free highly effective PC cleaner with many worthwhile functions.
Even with the best back-up procedures and systems in place, anyone can mistakenly delete an important file. If you do you will need to use a file recovery program to rescue it. Two of the better free file recovery programs available are:
- Recuva - Recuva allows you to recover files deleted from your computer. Only available on Windows.
- Restoration - Allows you to recover files deleted from your computer. Runs on limited versions of Windows only.
FTP (File Transfer) Packages
Programs which put your HTML pages on the Web:
- FileZilla Client - FileZilla is a fast and reliable cross-platform FTP, FTPS and SFTP.
- Fetch - Fetch is an easy-to-use, reliable and full-featured file transfer client. Only available on Mac.
- Juice - Allows you to schedule, capture and listen to podcasts anytime, anywhere. Available on Windows and Mac.
- jPodder - Automatically downloads and transfers the audio files from websites that you have a subsciption with to your media/audio player.
Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project by rasing small amounts of money from a large number of people, usually on the Internet.
- Pozible - Pozible is a crowdfunding platform that allows individuals and organisations to raise funds by presenting their ideas to an online audience who can then pledge to a particular cause or idea.
Most commercial software packages aimed at fundraisers are specialist database packages, focused on donor relations management, powerful, expensive ($500-$20,000), complex and American or British. And many of the things they do can be achieved with free or cheaper
software - though this will probably involve more work, more
difficulty, and more time.
Some of the software available
Fundraising databases include:
Note - some of these, while themselves free, are in fact
modules that work with commercial databases such as MS Access and