Database requirements

Most existing organizations use MS Office, with MS Access databases. MS Access can store the information in dBase file format. And OpenOffice (the office suite alternative) can open directly dBase files.

So, if we don't want to use MS Access to convert database files, a fairly essential tool would be software to help automate the conversion of MS Access databases

 *.mdb 

to dBase files

 *.dbf

This software can include the creation of new database files in a graphical [front-end]s (with appropriate localizations).

A well designed and extensible contact management database with both web and non-web cross platform interfacase might be one of, if not the, killer ap for nonprofits to switch to a free software operating system.

Configuration needs to be easy, if not existent.

(An awful lot of NPO's have used Macs because of their lack of learning curve, and for them FileMaker Pro seems to be popular. So a migration path from FMP is certainly something to consider, as well.)

Databases need (templates)

Start with a robust content management framework and then add out of the box functionality or "templates" for things like donor management, membership coordination, organizing mass mailings for fund-raising, election coordination, etc.

Potential packages to use

We need a package that can save the information in database file format. So, it can be opened directly with OpenOffice.