Frequently asked questions

Who can volunteer?

Anyone can volunteer, but we do screen potential volunteers to confirm experience. This will usually consist of a friendly chat with a SocialCoder project coordinator.

We welcome programmers, designers, database administrators, IT experts, security experts, everyone with techie skills and experience.

How much time do volunteers give?

This depends entirely on the volunteer and the project they undertake.

Each project in our collection of templates has estimates of time, but these are indicative rather than fixed.

How much experience does a volunteer need to participate?

Projects always involve at least one experienced and qualified volunteer.

Less experienced volunteers may be invited to team up on a project to gain experience and assist as they are able.

Why do programmers volunteer?

Apart from the opportunity to support a cause they care about, volunteers can expect

How is project value calculated?

Project value is based on an average expected time that a volunteer will spend working on a project, multiplied by contract rates for a developer in the UK. To make this calculation we use market rates from

Some projects require a high level of specialist knowledge or experience, and for those projects the contract rate can be much higher. For instance, the rate for a website penetration test can be twice the daily rate for a contract developer.


If a project is expected to take between 5 and 20 days of volunteer time we calculate as follows

Rate for a contract software developer: £375 per day

Minimum: 5 days × £375 = £1,875

Maximum: 20 days × £375 = £7,500

Average = (£1,875 + £7,500) ÷ 2 ≅ £4,500

How much does it cost

What support is available after a bespoke software development project is finished?

Experience tells us that the greatest cost of bespoke software development lies in support and maintenance after the initial product is developed. The cost of ongoing support can be many times greater than the cost of initial development.

We feel it is our professional responsibility to ensure that charities and non-profit organisations are not inadvertently burdened with this cost.

Where a bespoke development project is proposed, we will work to ensure a viable support plan is created before the project ends.

We will never agree to a project that, in our judgement, would create an unsustainable support and maintenance burden.

Can any non-profit organisation participate?


Can for-profit organisations participate?


Can unregistered charities participate?

No, not unless your project is sponsored by a registered charity or not-for-profit organisation.

Who coordinates a SocialCoder project?

Volunteers with solid experience of leading projects and teams may be invited to act as project coordinators.

I want to support this work but I have no coding skills

There might be other ways you can help. It's a misconception that software development is purely about coding. Drop me a line and we can chat about it.

Our costs are low, but if you want to donate, our support page is here.

Who is behind this?

Ed Guiness, an independent software developer. I've managed software development teams on and offshore since 2004. In 2013 I wrote Ace the Programming Interview. I'm on Twitter as @KiwiCoder.