Is There an App for That (Nonprofit)?

Group of business associates in a line text messaging on their cellphone

In today’s technology-based world, few people go anywhere without their smartphones. Think about it. How often do you not have your phone nearby? I’m betting your answer is, “Almost never.” So what does this have to do with nonprofits? The short answer: Everything.

If your nonprofit isn’t readily available on your smartphone, the truth is you’re losing money. Donors want to be able to find you quickly and be able to donate easily online. You also want your donors to be able to share their enthusiasm about your nonprofit with their friends via social media. And the greater your social media presence, the more likely your donors will be to share your posts, highlighting your successes and your value to the community, which will, in turn, generate more interest in your organization AND more donations. Win-win-win!

Keep in mind this sharing aspect of digital media is free publicity–FREE! So it’s critical your leadership understands the importance of establishing a strong web presence. While this social media sharing aspect is free, creating a digital media presence does require an investment in infrastructure.

In a recent blog post, we defined infrastructure as “systems, staff, and equipment,” and technology plays a role in each of these areas. Here are some questions to consider about the infrastructure required for your digital media presence:

  1. Does your nonprofit have staff dedicated to your web presence?
  2. Is this digital media staff well-trained?  Note: It’s critical that they’re not only tech-savvy but that they also have an understanding of public relations, fundraising, marketing and communications.
  3. Does your staff have the tools (i.e. computers and software) required for creating a strong web presence?
  4. Do you have a digital media plan in place that includes when you publish, what you publish, and how you reach your audience? For example, are you using Facebook or LinkedIn? Are you active on Twitter? Do you maintain a blog? Is your website up-to-date with the latest information? Is your donation button working properly, and are your online donors thanked promptly?

These are not small endeavors, and they do require a regular investment of time and money; however, you’d be hard-pressed today to find a successful nonprofit that isn’t utilizing the internet to its best advantage. I’m not arguing that your nonprofit needs an actual app (though this might be worth considering), but do you need a web presence? Absolutely–no matter the size of your nonprofit–and the bigger the web presence, the better!

In the long run, by investing in the infrastructure necessary to develop a strong web presence, your nonprofit will exponentially expand its impact and save money in the process. And that’s music to your donors’ ears!

created by Kathryn Clarke, Program Assistant, Eno River Consulting

Give Me Six Hours


Abraham Lincoln was a President, who overcame adversity to achieve great things and effect change. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which led to abolishing slavery in the U.S., established the National Banking System and the Department of Agriculture, and is the only President of the United States to hold a patent.

How did he accomplish such great things? He spent time sharpening his blade. He had a strategic plan. He didn’t “wing it.”

President Lincoln recognised the importance of strategic planning. Our founding leaders had a vision; Lincoln created a plan to achieve it by saving the Union, realising the vision of our forefathers that all people were created equal.

Leaders and employees of nonprofit organizations are constantly being pulled in different directions to serve multiple constituencies. There aren’t enough hours in the day, week, year to do what is required to effect change, nonetheless to set aside to plan for the future. Planning feels like a luxury when “riding the bicycle while building it” best describes the daily reality of working to fulfill a mission, often with inadequate resources.

As a Harvard Business Review article, Delivering on the Promise of Nonprofits,  (, points out,  “this “scatterization” is as much a function of how the nonprofit sector is organized as it is of how the organizations themselves operate”. Today’s nonprofit organizations are called upon to solve big problems, address the needs of our nation and people, and like Lincoln, create change. Therefore, a well developed strategic plan is the tool necessary to do so and the time spent “sharpening the axe” well spent.

Be like Lincoln. Spend time creating the plan and sharpening the tools that make accomplishing great things possible.

created by Courtenay Bailey, Senior Consultant, Eno River Consulting,