Why nonprofits need highly capable development partners

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Development Business

The recent massive shift to the digital has required businesses and organizations in every sector to streamline the digital experiences they provide to their users and customers. In fact, a lot of companies didn’t even have a (performant) website to begin with, so they had to start out just by creating an adequate website experience.

Nonprofits and NGOs were one of the most heavily impacted sectors, as they were faced with the challenge to keep their donors and the rest of their communities engaged in this new digital reality. The catch is that nonprofit organizations typically don’t possess very strong in-house tech capabilities, which this new reality now suddenly requires them to have.

This is where outsourcing comes into play. While in some cases it might make sense to leverage the help of freelancers, the best way to go about it is to partner with a highly capable development agency for a full-on digital transformation or website project. In this article, we’ll break down the most important reasons for such a partnership.


Talent shortage

The economic uncertainty that we’re experiencing as a result of all the societal pressures is also causing massive disturbances to the job market, what has been called “the great resignation”.

One of the main consequences is that it’s much harder now to find and retain top talent in house, especially in the tech field. It’s even harder to build a full team if (or rather, when!) you need one.

A specialized development agency can supply a full team of developers, for exactly as long as you need it; what’s more, they’re able to easily supply substitutes in case something unexpected happens with one of the original team members (as opposed to partnering with a freelancer). This makes such an agency partnership very cost and time efficient.


Knowledge of open source

Another major benefit of partnering with a development agency is that they tend to be experts in open-source software, which is both more budget-friendly and more in line with the nonprofit mindset.

Certain open-source technologies are particularly streamlined for nonprofit organizations; many nonprofits opt for Drupal, for example, which is both highly capable and easily configured to be optimally used by non-developers.


The remote & digital way of life

Digitalization and the adoption of remote lifestyles are especially impactful for the nonprofit sector. The vast majority of services are now accessed digitally, and the shift to remote work has led to much less (or rather, no) aversion to working with remote agency partners.

For nonprofits, one of the most impactful consequences of this digitalization is the newfound convenience of online payments. Before 2020, people were generally much more reluctant to make payments online due to security concerns, misalignments in the customer journey or just inadequate experiences with digital payments.

Now, nonprofits and NGOs need to meet their donors where they are and provide streamlined functionality for making pain-free online donations if they want to keep them converting in this new digital landscape.

This means enhanced security and a great omnichannel UX, which encompasses accessibility, SEO optimization and mobile-friendliness – all of which require adequate development capabilities, which are best provided by a specialized agency.


Demand for great user experience

With everything going digital, there is logically a much larger demand for great online experiences. We mentioned in the introduction that a functioning website is the bare minimum for nonprofits that want to continue operating, especially the smaller ones.

Often, however, customers will want more than just the bare minimum. This is where you’ll need development capabilities that cover more than just the basics

If you want to provide the best possible user experience, then you’ll also want to ensure you have the most suitable technologies that will deliver that experience, as well as the right people who are experts in these technologies to ensure that the experience is secure, user-friendly, accessible and basically done right.

Just like a poor UX and CX can make customers abandon their cart and ultimately decide against making the purchase, so can poor UX for a nonprofit organization’s website cause potential donors to decide against donating.

This can either be the result of a lack of trust in the software used to make donations or, worse yet, a lack of trust in the organization itself if they get a feeling that its services aren’t optimized and as such it might not be as strongly committed to the cause it’s championing.

In the eyes of the users, a good user experience of a nonprofit website means a real commitment to the cause they stand for, and developers are a crucial component in ensuring this good UX.


Bonus tip: long-term support partnership

Rather than simply partnering with a development agency for the duration of a website project and ending the collaboration as soon as the website launches, we recommend that you also leverage its support / maintenance services.

The points in this article underscore how website support is particularly important for nonprofits to maintain an optimal donor experience; as such, they need reliable long-term development partners that are able to quickly and efficiently resolve any unexpected issues should they arise.


Wrapping up

Our successful long-term collaborations with organizations such as UNESCO give us a unique insight into the development needs of this sector, which we wanted to discuss in this article. If you’re a nonprofit decision maker looking for a development agency to partner with, find out more about our work with organizations or reach out directly to learn more about how we can help you out.