CommCare: A Mobile Data Collection and Case Management Platform

CommCare: A Mobile Data Collection and Case Management Platform

Overview: CommCare is a mobile data collection and case management platform designed for non-profit organizations, social enterprises, and other groups working in fields like healthcare, agriculture, and education. Developed by Dimagi, CommCare is an open-source solution that can be customized and extended to meet the unique needs of each organization. It allows users to create, deploy, and manage mobile applications for data collection, case management, and workflow management.


  1. Customizable: CommCare offers a highly customizable platform that allows organizations to create applications tailored to their specific needs.
  2. Open-source: The CommCare platform is open-source, giving organizations the flexibility to modify and extend the software.
  3. Integrations: CommCare supports a wide range of integrations with other tools, such as Google Sheets, Excel, and various data visualization tools.
  4. Offline functionality: CommCare enables data collection even in areas with limited or no internet connectivity, with the ability to sync data once a connection is available.
  5. Scalability: CommCare can scale from small, single-user projects to large, multi-user deployments.


  1. Learning curve: CommCare has a steep learning curve, and organizations may require training and support to effectively use the platform.
  2. Limited self-hosting: While CommCare is open-source, self-hosting is not recommended for most organizations due to the complexity involved. Dimagi offers a cloud-hosted version of CommCare.
  3. Costs: While the open-source version is free, organizations may require additional features or support from the paid cloud-hosted version, which can be expensive, especially for smaller organizations.

Use Cases and Examples:

  1. Healthcare: Non-profit organizations can use CommCare to collect patient data, track and manage patient cases, and monitor healthcare interventions.
  2. Agriculture: Social enterprises can use CommCare to collect data on agricultural practices, monitor crop yields, and provide tailored advice to farmers.
  3. Education: Non-profit organizations can use CommCare to track student attendance, monitor learning outcomes, and manage educational interventions.

Features vs. Benefits Table:

Features Benefits for Non-profits
Customizable applications Tailor solutions to specific organizational needs
Offline data collection Collect data in areas with limited internet connectivity
Integrations with other tools Streamline data management and analysis
Scalability Adapt to various project sizes and complexity
Case management functionality Improve monitoring and evaluation of interventions

Installation and Usage: CommCare offers a cloud-hosted version, which can be accessed by signing up on their website ( The open-source version can be found on GitHub (GitHub - dimagi/commcare-hq: CommCareHQ is the server backend for CommCare, the world's largest platform for designing, managing, and deploying robust, offline-first, mobile applications to frontline workers worldwide), . Once signed up, organizations can create and manage applications through the CommCareHQ web interface. Users can download the CommCare mobile app on Android devices to collect data and manage cases.

how it can be installed or one can sign up and be used for non-profits is:

  • To install CommCare on Android devices, users can download the app from the Google Play Store or from the CommCare website. Users can also install CommCare on Java feature phones using a USB cable or a memory card.
  • To sign up for CommCare, users can visit the CommCare website and create an account. Users can then choose a pricing plan and a support option that suits their needs and budget. Users can also start a free trial for 30 days to test CommCare’s features and functionality.
  • To use CommCare for non-profits, users can follow these steps:
    • Build a custom application using the drag-and-drop app builder on the CommCare website. Users can also use existing templates or copy applications from other projects.
    • Deploy the application to frontline workers by scanning a QR code or entering a web link on their devices. Users can also manage user accounts and permissions on the CommCare website.
    • Collect data and deliver services using the application on the devices. Users can also sync data with the server when they have internet connection or use SMS to send data.
    • Analyze data and improve decision making using the reporting tools on the CommCare website. Users can also export data to other tools or integrate data with other platforms.

A table that maps the benefits needed and the features that can deliver these benefits for non-profits is:

Benefit Feature
Improve data quality Offline data collection,
case management,
decision support,
validation rules
Improve frontline worker performance Decision support,
performance feedback,
multimedia communication,
SMS reminders
Improve client outcomes Case management,
decision support,
client education,
referral management
Scale up programs Scalable and reliable platform,
flexible and adaptable app builder,
various pricing and support options
Monitor and evaluate programs Reporting tools,
data export and integration,
indicators and dashboards
Tool Open Source Self Hosted Cost Pros Cons
Avni Yes Yes Free, paid plans for additional support Versatile, supports multiple use cases, offline data collection Limited documentation, smaller user community
CommCare Yes No Free, paid plans for additional features & support Customizable, offline data collection, extensive integrations Steep learning curve, costlier for smaller organizations
KoBoToolbox Yes Yes Free User-friendly, data collection & reporting, offline functionality Less customization compared to other tools
mForm No (open source by Dec 2022) N/A Pricing upon request Low-code/no-code, multilingual, online/offline data collection Proprietary, pricing not transparent
mWater No N/A Free, paid plans available Designed for water projects, data collection & visualization Proprietary, limited to water management projects
Nafundi (ODK & Ona) Yes Yes Free, paid plans for Ona Wide range of data collection use cases, ODK & Ona integrations Separate tools for different features, costs for Ona
ODK Yes Yes Free Popular, used across sectors, offline data collection Less user-friendly compared to some alternatives
SurveyCTO No N/A Pricing upon request, 15-day free trial Mobile data collection, Android support, user-friendly Proprietary, cost can be high for small organizations
Zoho Forms No N/A Paid plans, starting at $8/month Integration with Zoho Suite, user-friendly interface Proprietary, limited free version

Please note that some self-hosting options might not be recommended for most organizations due to the complexity involved.

In summary, CommCare is a powerful, customizable, and scalable mobile data collection and case management platform suitable for non-profit organizations and social enterprises. With its open