If your nonprofit organization is like most, you probably rely heavily on software to help you manage day-to-day operations and achieve your mission. The role of software in nonprofits is critical. It can help manage day-to-day operations, track donations and volunteers, and even help with communication. As a result, it’s important to select the right software for your organization and to have a plan for maintaining it. In many cases, the software you need is available and ready to use once you’ve purchased the license. In other cases, you’ll need to develop software yourself to fit the exact needs of your organization. Developing and maintaining that software can be a challenge, especially if you don’t have in-house expertise. Outsourcing software development can be a great way to get the help you need to keep your software up-to-date and effective.
There are many benefits to outsourcing software development. Perhaps the most obvious is that it can save your organization time and money. Developing software in-house can be expensive, especially if you need to hire outside experts to do the work. And even if you have staff with the necessary skills, developing software takes time away from other tasks that they could be working on.
Outsourcing also gives you access to a larger pool of talent. When you outsource, you can choose from a wide range of developers with different skills and experience levels. This can be helpful if you need to develop custom software or want to tap into specific areas of expertise.
Finally, outsourcing can help you stay ahead of the curve. By working with an outside development team, you can get your software developed faster and more efficiently. This can be especially beneficial if you need to make changes or add new features to your software on a regular basis.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Outsourcing Software Development
There are several things to consider before outsourcing software development, including the advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few key points to keep in mind:
When you outsource software development, you’ll likely save money compared to hiring full-time staff or contracting with a firm to do the work.
Access to expertise
When you outsource, you can tap into a pool of skilled developers with a range of experience and specialties. This can be especially helpful if you need help with a specific project or technology.
Outsourcing can give you more flexibility when it comes to staffing your projects. For example, if you only need help for a short period of time, you can work with a freelancer or consultant on a project basis.
If you outsource to a country where English is not the primary language, there may be communication challenges. Make sure to consider this when choosing a vendor.
Time zone differences
Depending on where you outsource, there may be a significant time difference. This can make it difficult to coordinate work and can impact turnaround times.
When you outsource software development, you’ll need to be extra diligent about quality control. That’s because it can be more difficult to track progress and ensure that deliverables meet your standards when you’re working with someone remotely.
Tips for Getting Started with Software Development Outsourcing
Even nonprofits convinced of the benefits of outsourcing software development can remain hesitant to get started. Most often, this hesitancy is born of simply not knowing how to get started. The good news is that understanding your first or next step in outsourcing development is straightforward. In fact, the framework offered below should show you that outsourcing software engineering in your nonprofit is not an unrealistic goal at all.
1. Define your needs
Before you even start looking for a developer, it’s important to spend some time understanding your specific needs. What kind of software do you need developed? What features does it need to have? What’s your budget?
Answering these questions will help you narrow down your search and find the right developer for the job.
2. Do your research
Once you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to start your search. There are a number of different ways to find developers, including online directories, freelancer websites, and word-of-mouth recommendations.
Spend some time looking at different options and comparing rates, portfolios, and reviews before making your final decision.
3. Set clear expectations
Before work gets underway, it’s important to set clear expectations with your chosen developer. Discuss things like deadlines, project milestones, communication channels, and payment terms.
Putting everything in writing will help ensure that both you and the developer are on the same page from the start.
4. Be prepared to give feedback
During the development process, it’s normal to need to provide feedback or make changes to the scope of the project. When this happens, it’s important to be as clear and concise as possible in your communication.
The better you can articulate your vision, the more likely it is that the final product will meet your needs.
5. Ask for help when you need it
Outsourcing software development doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or need help troubleshooting a problem, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from your developer or another expert.
Outsourcing Software Development to Drive your Nonprofit Forward
As with many initiatives, getting started with outsourcing software development means assessing the status quo and forming a plan. Doing so doesn’t mean you are committed to a new process or workflow but rather that you are exploring options that can help your nonprofit succeed. As with any decision, a thorough evaluation and disciplined approach should guide you.
Outsourcing software development can be a great way to get the help you need to build the software your nonprofit needs to thrive. By following these tips, you can set yourself up for success and find a developer who will deliver high-quality results.
To learn more about leveraging software to help your nonprofit grow, we invite you to read these additional resources.
Ready to discuss outsourcing software development at your nonprofit? Contact Silver Tree Consulting and Services here.