AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

Apr/10

10

Susan Kistler on Free/Low-cost Software for Evaluation for Nonprofits

My name is Susan Kistler and I am the Executive Director for the American Evaluation Association. I contribute each Saturday’s post to the aea365 blog. This week I am writing from Atlanta at the Nonprofit Technology conference.

Do you work for or with nonprofit organizations? Have you experienced challenges due to financial constraints that make technology purchases for evaluation beyond the budget?

Hot Tip: Take a look at TechSoup, the “technology place for nonprofits.” TechSoup has resources, training, a peer-to-peer community, and a donated technology program – TechSoup Stock. Their donated tech program gives nonprofits access to products from a range of big name (and not so big name) companies. Examples include the full Microsoft Office Suite including Access and Excel; ArcGIS from ESRI for spatial analysis; and Crystal Reports from SAP for data visualization and reporting. And the cost? Each product has an administrative fee, but most are well below even discounted retail prices. As an example, the full Microsoft Office 2007 suite is $20. Organizations do need to go through a relatively painless qualification process, and the eligibility criteria vary from product to product, but the resource is definitely worth checking out.

The opinions expressed above are my own and do not necessarily represent those of my employer, the American Evaluation Association.

This contribution is from the aea365 Daily Tips blog, by and for evaluators, from the American Evaluation Association. Please consider contributing – send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org.

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3 comments

  • Admin comment by Susan Kistler · April 13, 2010 at 8:19 am

    Gene and Lars,

    Thank you both for these great resources! Are there specific LCNC (low-cost/no-cost) replacements that you have used and found particularly valuable? Some are quite short of full featured versions (although often without features you don’t necessarily need), other are quite amazing.

    Reply

  • Lars Balzer · April 13, 2010 at 3:29 am

    Hi all

    Another yet small, but growing list is located here:
    http://www.evaluation.lars-balzer.name/links/tools-free-no-cost/

    Best,

    Lars Balzer
    Evaluation Portal
    http://www.evaluation.lars-balzer.name/

    Reply

  • Gene Shackman · April 12, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    Hi Susan

    Great tip on accessing commercial software for free.

    Just for everyone’s info, there are tons of totally free software out there, on any number of topics, like office suites, statistics, mapping, database software and all sorts of other things.

    Here is my page, mainly of statistical and GIS software
    http://gsociology.icaap.org/methods/soft.html
    I tried several of the packages to see whether the results would be the same from all the packages and I am happy to report that they all are, at least for correlation and regression. Folks can see those results on sub-pages of the page listed above.

    I also have a brief review of free statistical software on citizendium
    http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Free_statistical_software

    Here is another page (not one of mine) on more general free software, starting with links to other free software portals, and then listing office suites, project management, browsers,
    http://fire.prohosting.com/pubinfo/freesoft.html

    Another great place to find all sorts of free software is the download.com site
    http://download.cnet.com/windows/
    This site, from CNET, also has editor reviews, user reviews and how often the packages are downloaded, so you can see how popular they are.

    Thanks

    Gene Shackman
    Free Resources for Program Evaluation and Social Research Methods
    http://gsociology.icaap.org/methods/

    Reply

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