Open Outreach is a distribution designed so that staff and volunteers working for small nonprofits and NGOs can more easily harness the power of Drupal.
A CMS like Drupal provides a lot of help when building an organizational website, but installing Drupal is just the first step. Typically, getting from an initial install to a website that meets your basic needs requires a fair bit of work, and some highly specialized skills. You could easily spend from $5,000 to $10,000 for just the basics that pretty much every organization is going to want.
That's what Open Outreach is designed to save you. Want an events calendar? Instead of having to pay a Drupal contractor or shop to build you one, you just install and you've got it. Want a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) visual editor for formatting text? Ditto, it's already set up and ready to use.
If you've got pretty average needs, an Open Outreach site might well come with all you need to get started. Even if it doesn't and you need to get help to customize and extend it, you're starting from a solid basis and need to contract for just what's specific to your needs--not the whole deal.
If you're an organization with an existing Drupal website considering upgrading to Drupal 7, Open Outreach might provide a big leg up. Drupal changes a lot between versions. Upgrading is seldom if ever just a matter of installing the new version and clicking a button. Often it's quickest and best to start fresh, build out what you need, and then selectively migrate your legacy content into your new site. If you choose this route, Open Outreach can save you a lot of the considerable work of building out the basic content types, views, and displays to replace what you had in your old site.
If you're a Drupal site builder, Open Outreach is designed to save you the thankless legwork of doing what you tend to need for most sites. Is it everything you could wish for? Not at all. If you're an experienced site builder, you'll immediately find functionality you'd like to add. You might also decide to skip some of what comes with Open Outreach--not every project requires a forum or an event calendar. But even if you keep just 80% of what it provides and dig in from there, Open Outreach can save you a lot of rote work--and also provide a consistent framework to base new functionality on.
Open Outreach won't suit every site project, but in many cases it will provide a major jump start, allowing nonprofits and activist groups to get a lot more from the resources they spend on web development.