Nonprofit Mobile App Development: Important Tips to Ensure Success

  • Do You Really Need an App?
  • Define the Problem You’re Trying to Solve
  • Create a Design for Users Not Organizations
  • Make Data Visual
  • Native or Hybrid?
  • Payment Gateway Integration
  • In Conclusion

Mobile apps are everywhere today. It seems like there’s an app for just about everything, from banking to creating stunning art. Creating a mobile app for your nonprofit organization can be a great way to ensure that you’re able to take advantage of how popular these applications are and the massive growth of mobile device use. However, success does not necessarily “just happen”.

Creating a successful app that helps you reach your organization’s goals requires careful planning, in-depth knowledge of not only your nonprofit but your end user, and many other factors. If you’re thinking about developing a mobile app to support your nonprofit organization, the following tips will help you pull it off with flying colors.

Do You Really Need an App?

Should you really bother investing in mobile app development? As a nonprofit, you must be very careful with how and where you allocate your funds. Is an app the right decision? Absolutely. Here’s why:

Over 80% of US adults own a smartphone today.

Over 50% of US adults own a tablet computer.

More people access the Internet via a mobile device than a desktop or laptop daily.

In short, your audience is mobile, and if you’re going to reach them, you need a mobile app. However, you need to go about designing that app in the right way.

Define the Problem You’re Trying to Solve

The first tip is this – define the problem that you want the app to solve. Building an app just for the sake of having additional branded collateral on the market is really just a waste of your marketing budget. The app should speak to a core need at the heart of your organization. Some common examples of these needs include the following:

Enabling donations.

Raising awareness.

Engaging with volunteers.

Event management.

Once you’ve determined the need that you want to solve with the app, it’s time to move forward with other considerations.

Create a Design for Users Not Organizations

The second tip is this – make sure the app’s design is user-centric, not organization-focused. The overall design should speak to the end user’s overall experience, and it should be easy to use. Connect user experience with your end goal, as well. For instance, if you’re attempting to raise awareness about an issue, you would find ways to weave that into the overall user experience, such as:

Illustrations that connect with the issue in some way.

Easy access to information so users can learn about the issue.

Bite-size information “chunking” so users learn but are not overwhelmed.

Color choices that support a positive overall user experience.

Make Data Visual

Yes, your users need access to data in the form of information that supports the need your organization is trying to address. That’s true whether you focus on ocean pollution, access to clean water for underserved communities, mitigating child abuse, or something completely different. However, you need to ensure that you don’t present your users with what amounts to a data dump. Give them a way to visualize that information. Here are a few ways you can do that:

Include charts and graphs

Use infographics

Animate data

Mix in text-based data

Gamify the data

Data visualization helps users digest information, understand what you’re attempting to communicate, and even encourages them to take action. It’s also important for all mobile audiences. For instance, visualizing data is just as important within an app meant for your volunteers as it is within an app designed to help you increase donations.

Native or Hybrid?

When you start considering mobile app development for your nonprofit, you’ll quickly find that you need to choose an operating environment. Are you going native? Would a hybrid app be better suited to your needs? Both can work very well, but you’ll need to be smart with your choices.

If you go the native route, you’ll most likely need to develop both an iOS and an Android version of the app. Android is the most commonly-used platform out there, but iOS devices are also quite popular. There are also many options when it comes to Android, and fragmentation can be an issue. A hybrid app may allow you to bridge that gap and reduce development costs, but they never operate quite as well as a native app does.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to app type, though. You’ll need to consider a wide range of factors, and what’s right for one nonprofit might be very wrong for another. As part of our in-depth needs assessment, we help our clients determine the best mobile platform for their nonprofit app development, so they’re never concerned they’re investing in the wrong one.

Payment Gateway Integration

Most nonprofits developing a mobile app for their audience, as opposed to volunteers or staff, will want to include a way to make a donation. The app might not be donation focused, but it’s important to include a payment solution anyway. Embedding a payment gateway within your app ensures that you maximize the chance of a user making a donation, as well.

However, you’ll need to make sure that you use the right payment gateway. Some of the most common include Ayden, Braintree, and Stripe, although there are others. You’ll also want to ensure that your users can donate via the method that works best for them, such as:


Google Pay

Apple Pay

Credit/debit card

In Conclusion

A mobile app can be a great option for nonprofits. It can allow you to connect with your audience on a deeper level, raise awareness, generate more funding, or help volunteers. However, you need to work with an experienced partner that offers expert mobile app development and has an in-depth understanding of app development for nonprofits.

At Job Hub Group, our team has worked with nonprofit organizations within many different industries to create dynamic, powerful, flexible mobile apps that support organizational goals. We can do the same for you. Get in touch with us today to schedule an assessment of your needs.