Charities urged to use free software to help their users

More than 5,000 charities have already used Charity Technology Exchange to download free copies of many types of software

William Hoyle, chief executive, Charity Technology Trust
William Hoyle, chief executive, Charity Technology Trust

Charities are missing out on opportunities to use donated software to help their beneficiaries, according to the chief executive of a free technology service for third sector organisations.

William Hoyle, chief executive of the Charity Technology Trust, told Third Sector that more than 5,000 charities had used his company's Charity Technology Exchange, which allows organisations to download free copies of many types of software. But he said most had used it to improve the functionality of their own offices.

"We have always provided charities with software for their users, but we are keen to encourage more," he said.

"For example, WinterComforts in Cambridge used our software to set up an internet service for homeless people, while the Gorebridge Community Development Trust, which serves a small town near Edinburgh, provided a similar service for young people who didn't have home access to a computer or the internet."

Hoyle was speaking after the publication of Charity Technology Exchange data that showed the most popular products downloaded and the number of charities involved.

In total, 6 per cent of charities had used the service since it was launched in 2006. However, only 1 per cent of charities with incomes below £25,000 had done so, compared with 26 per cent of charities with incomes below £500,000.

Finance IT

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