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How to Choose the Right Web Development Company for your Non-Profit

When interviewing potential web development firms to revamp your software or website, finding the right fit can be a daunting task. Every organisation wants to get the most value for their expenditure; this is especially true of non-profit organisations whose coffers are often more limited.

There are a number of things you should be mindful of to cultivate and reap the best developer fit for your non-profit. Here are 2 of the most important things to consider.

Look for a development firm that cares about solutions.

There are bound to be problems and unforeseen issues in any development project. A good developer who cares about delivering a good solution (rather than a solution that is technically brilliant but doesn’t really meet your original concept goals) will want to be involved in regularly-planned discussions about your project.

If your development team understands the bigger picture of what you’re trying to accomplish by revamping your software or website, they can be motivated by that knowledge. They’re less likely to only be concerned with following instructions that are absent of valuable feedback. In addition, they can suggest different approaches or technical tools that could, in turn, have much better results.

Look for a development firm that is open to discussing every aspect of your project: time, money, and longevity.

Feeling comfortable with your software development team is crucial to completing your project successfully. Though you may set out with a good feeling, it’s possible that things could change. What happens when you are weeks – or even months – into the project and you’re not feeling confident in your developer anymore? What happens when you learn something during the project or something changes externally that alters the plan? If the project is longer than a few weeks, how do you structure constructive communication and feedback? What happens after your project goes live? Will the developers disappear?

These are all important questions that you should discuss with your developer before you get too far into the project. Agree on an open-door communication system and make a plan to check in regularly. If you’re not content with the way things are going, make sure you feel that your developer will be understanding of your concerns. To protect your interests, know what is required to withdraw from a contract before it’s too late. Also, talk with your developer about how your relationship will continue and how it will change once your project is completed.

If you have-in house experience and technical knowledge, you can be more prescriptive in your initial conversations about what your expectations are and how you want to proceed. Essentially, you are simply managing outsourcers. However, if you’re not experienced, you need to focus on great communication between you and the developer.

It’s important to work with someone who cares and listens enough to be driven by your goals and not theirs. Competing goals for them might be wanting to use a new, “cool technology” or feeling pressured to get a project finished because they have others that are also demanding their time. If you feel like you’re just a name on a white board full of concepts, it’s probably not the best firm for your non-profit or social enterprise.


Knowing what to look for and how to ask questions is an essential part of searching for the right web development company for any enterprise. Non-profit organisations have an equally difficult task, though the stakes may seem higher with a more limited budget and time-frame. Secure the right development team for your project by communicating openly from the start. Know what to expect and be sure your development firm understands the same from your organisation. Together, your shared goal will become a success.

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About the author

Barry O'Kane

Barry is the founder of HappyPorch. With 20 years in the web development industry as a programmer and agency owner, he has a preternatural ability to decipher the systems and processes code that holds many teams back from achieving their goals. Partners say Barry gets to the root of issues quickly and makes it downright easy to deliver good work.    

While he's unbelievably grounded, it's not uncommon to find him sailing through the trees as he paraglides his way round the world.