Innovative Uses of No-Code Apps in Nonprofits: Examples & Templates
Forward-looking leaders are finding innovative uses of no-code apps in nonprofits and are magnifying impact with these use cases.
Nonprofit organizations are always on the lookout for new and effective ways to improve efficiency and resource management, and maximize impact. And as digital transformation continues to reshape the nonprofit sector, streamlining data-heavy processes is key to making progress.
No-code software platforms apps are providing affordable, customizable, and easy-to-use solutions that help nonprofits improve data management, operations, program delivery and, ultimately, progress toward important organizational missions.
Using No-Code Apps to Drive Innovation in Key Nonprofit Use Cases
Striving for innovation, forward-looking nonprofits are moving away from legacy tools like Excel spreadsheets and paper-based forms, and migrating to no-code technology platforms to gain flexibility, scalability, and security and the robust data-driven insights needed to make program decisions with agility and confidence.
Innovative no-code apps are being built and deployed to solve challenges in a variety of key nonprofit use cases:
Donor Management and Fundraising
Donors are core stakeholders in the success of a nonprofit and its ability to deliver on its mission and goals. Cultivating strong donor relationships is a top priority for every organization. However, limited resources often lead to a donor management system that’s built on tools that are outdated and cumbersome to manage, especially as the organization grows.
Putting the right information at the fingertips of your team is what enables your organization to make donor interactions more personalized and meaningful. So, ditching spreadsheets, and other legacy tools and processes and moving to a no-code donor management app can quickly take your donor relationship initiatives and campaigns to a new level. Beyond managing donor contact information, you can track all relevant data, including details about donation history, preferences, and engagement.
Closely tracking donation history and campaign responses is the first step to identifying patterns, such as donors who give regularly, or periods of the year when donations increase (or decrease). Using the custom reporting and at-a-glance dashboard capabilities built into no-code apps, you can quickly gather data-driven insights to inform new fundraising strategies and campaigns, and increase fundraising efficiency and effectiveness. Taking these forward strides to modernize your tech stack can make significant contributions in the pursuit of your mission.
With a no-code app, your donor management system is securely contained in a single-source, cloud-based data repository. You can integrate email and text communication to send automated thank-you messages, personalized emails on causes that a donor is particularly passionate about, or reminders about upcoming events or donation opportunities.
Secure, role-based access lets your team easily access and update the information they need, ensuring everyone stays informed about donor engagements.
Volunteer Management and Coordination
Volunteer coordination is tedious and time consuming without the help of modern tech and tools. Successful orchestration requires you to keep your finger on the pulse of every volunteer – across all programs and events. It requires real-time monitoring and up-to-date information about each volunteer, every assigned task, and all schedules. No-code apps can streamline all aspects of the volunteer management process, including scheduling, tracking hours and keeping everyone on the same page with good communication.
Project Lifelong: Showcasing the Benefits of Modern Volunteer Management
Project Lifelong, a nonprofit organization in Sacramento, California, knows all about the challenges of effective volunteer management. Its mission is to connect kids to positive role models, schools and peers, and change the trajectory of their lives, and it leverages volunteers to execute its Skate Night program. For each event, volunteers from local high schools help build out a full skate park experience at selected middle school campuses. Project Lifelong also offers a high school leadership program, in which selected students serve as volunteer mentors to younger middle-school kids.
Michael Saigeon, Co-founder and COO of Project Lifelong, initially relied on the combination of a Microsoft Access database, Excel spreadsheets and paper-based reporting to run the organization and keep events and volunteers on track. But those outdated tools couldn’t keep pace with the organization’s growth, operational requirements, or the need for real-time communication with volunteers, staff and members at the remote event sites.
Knack’s no-code platform gave Project Lifelong an operational transformation. Michael used Knack to build a comprehensive member database with a front-end member portal, integrated two-way texting and email communication, web-based application and reporting forms with electronic signature capabilities, and role-based credentials for data security.
The cloud-based no-code app streamlined all workflows and communication processes, including volunteer coordination, and enabled anytime, anywhere access with role-based credentials for data security and strict access controls. It seamlessly keeps everyone informed and up to date to ensure events run smoothly.
“The key reason I love working with Knack is we can totally customize it to fit our needs. It can be just as unique as your business is,” Michael Saigeon said.
Grant Administration: Program Tracking, Evaluation and Reporting
For nonprofit organizations, engaging donors and volunteers is just the start. Administering grant funding requires meticulous data tracking, documentation, and reporting. And the ultimate bottom line, whether adhering to grant guidelines or maintaining donor support, is the ability to demonstrate results.
No-code apps provide custom dashboard and reporting tools that can analyze large datasets and visualize trends and patterns that would otherwise go unnoticed. This data-driven approach to measuring success against predefined metrics, and makes the information you capture actionable. You get drag-and-drop tools to create custom reports and dashboards that meet the individual needs of decision-makers and stakeholders across the organization.
ServeMinnesota: From Spreadsheets to No-Code Apps to Improve Program Outcomes
ServeMinnesota is Minnesota’s administrator for the federal Americorps funds. It continuously collects and reports data on the programs it administers, enabling the people managing its members to keep all tasks on target, and confirm that project milestones are achieved. With lots of programs and limited resources, ServeMinnesota needed an agile, low-cost system where they could spin up apps in days, at the right cost per app, based on overall program goals.
Moving to Knack’s no-code platform allowed ServeMinnesota to solve a myriad of challenges – particularly with its programs that were previously managed using Excel spreadsheets and other legacy tools. Its program data isn’t static, so with spreadsheet tracking each reporting cycle was only a brief snapshot that became immediately out of date. A week later, the data collection, validation and analysis process would need to start all over. It consumed excessive time and resources and didn’t allow for the tactical and strategic reporting of program metrics the team needed.
Knack eliminated the spreadsheets and provided real-time data collection and analysis to improve program outcomes and volunteer and other resource utilization. Using Knack’s API access, ServeMinnesota also connected its apps into the organization’s tech stack, which includes Power BI, used for organizational reporting. “Using Knack’s API, our Power BI reports are refreshed nightly from Knack. It gives all our stakeholders the right level of access and brings our Knack data together in one view with our other organizational data,” said Mayank Gupta, Information Systems Analyst for ServeMinnesota.
For nonprofits that handle physical goods, like food banks, thrift stores or gift-in-kind products, inventory management plays an outsized role in efficiency and success. Often, these nonprofit organizations use a combination of tools including manual record-keeping and tracking and updating data in spreadsheets, which make it difficult to spot inefficiencies and inaccuracies that can lead to loss, waste of resources, or out-of-stock items.
By leveraging no-code applications, you can quickly and easily build an inventory management app that’s tailored to your specific requirements and workflows, and that digitally tracks real-time data. Automated alerts can notify team members when inventory of a specific item is low or approaching expiration, triggering prompt action.
The data reporting and analysis capabilities in a no-code app are also key to gaining value from the data you collect. The ability to visualize the data makes it easy to spot important trends, such as periods of higher demand, or recurring donation patterns. With this level of insight, you can be more effective in your strategic planning and resource allocation. Plus, the reduction in waste and increase in efficiency leads to cost savings that allow more funds to be directed toward your nonprofit’s mission and overall impact.
World Vision: Simplifying the Complexities of Worldwide Inventory Management
World Vision is a global Christian relief and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. Kevin Horrocks, logistics manager at World Vision, runs a team responsible for ensuring the delivery of gifts-in-kind products for development programs and humanitarian emergencies all over the world. From donations to distribution centers, warehouses to ocean containers, there are a lot of products and processes to track.
Kevin’s team manages the transportation flow of donated product as it’s directed to World Vision’s national or international offices. They need to track and arrange the transport from donors to warehouses to final destinations, which are found in over fifty countries.
Unlike so many nonprofit organizations that struggle with the limitations of spreadsheets and manual processes, Kevin struggled to work with enterprise software that was too complex and cumbersome for his team’s needs. He turned to Knack to build a custom no-code application to simplify inventory management and empower his distributed team.
Using Knack, he was able to distill multiple complex modules into a few simple views. Knack’s wide range of features accommodated the complexity of a modern logistics process. For example, World Vision’s app aligns planned shipments with demand, while also tying in logistical details like ship dates, ETAs, and freight costs.
“We just found Knack very easy and simple to use. All the information that the team needs is in one simple view,” said Kevin.
Many nonprofit organizations operate based on supporting varying types of members. Membership can be offered in different tiers of involvement, benefits, or services. Executing these segments and audiences, and delivering on promises can quickly become complex, confusing, and time-consuming without the right processes and tools.
Manual processes are prone to errors, and also make it difficult to provide responsive and personalized service to individual members, which negatively impacts relationship building.
No-code apps can dramatically transform the way nonprofits handle membership management. They allow you to build customized membership management systems to automate and streamline many routine tasks like the maintenance of member databases, processing membership renewals, sending membership expiration reminders, delivering benefits and communication, and organizing events.
No-code apps can also provide members with self-service portals where they can update their personal information, view event calendars and register to participate, renew their memberships, and view and stay up to date on important communications.
Project Lifelong: Building Better Relationships with a Comprehensive Member Portal
Project Lifelong used Knack to build a full-service member portal. “It’s much more than a place where parents sign up for a program. We’ve got a referral intake, a case management component, recording for accident or info reports, and now a communication component,” Michael explained. “And they all work together.”
The member portal with personalized, two-way communication bridges the gap that was left when the face-to-face interaction of handling paper forms was eliminated. “What’s really important to us is the personal aspect, the relationships we build with our parents, with our partners, with everybody,” Michael said.
Project Lifelong’s membership portal eliminated the time-consuming inefficiencies and gave the organization back time that it can focus on delivering the best member experience.
Pioneering Change in the Nonprofit Sector
No-code platforms offer an empowering solution for nonprofits to tackle their most data-dependent challenges. With the ability to build customized, scalable, and cost-effective apps, nonprofits can streamline operations, improve efficiency, enhance stakeholder engagement, and ultimately drive their mission forward.
Embracing no-code app development isn’t just about the technology, it’s about creating a culture of innovation within your organization by empowering those closest to the processes and challenges to be the creators and problem-solvers. No-code platforms give back time and resources that you can put toward your mission and community impact goals.