Purchasing a mobile app for your nonprofit is an exciting and daunting process. Your association is taking the first step towards a year-round mobile engagement platform and the opportunities and features each app offers seem to be limitless. Don't be overwhelmed. Here are four steps you shouldn't skip when interviewing app providers.
Determine the Provider's Expertise
One key aspect is the focus of the company that you are building the app with. Is their primary focus mobile apps or are they a web development company that also do apps? Having a company whose focus is apps gives you the advantage of a good track record in not only providing apps that have a great value and user experience, but they would be able to keep up with the ever-changing nuances of the respective platforms. An app is a long-term investment, you want your provider to be an expert in the mobile space.
Take It For A Test Drive
Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you download and test drive a live app that the company has built. This will ensure that you know the exact experience that your members will have with the mobile app and show the quality the developer provides to its current clients. It's easy for a developer to perfect a demo app- true quality is displayed in the products they provide to active clients.
Test all of the features. There are numerous companies who will list a number of features, but it is not until users actually use the feature that they realize what it lacks. Test the features that are critical to your members today and explore features that you know you'll utilize in future mobile engagement strategies.
Ask About Integration
A nicely integrated app will ensure less duplication of data entry, lower chances of user errors and an overall better staff experience. If your staff have difficulty managing and implementing an app, it's guaranteed to reflect in the user experience.
Moreover, enhanced analytics can be used to better analyse the use of various features of the app, rewarding the most engaged member and ensuring that staff takes action to reach out and engage the ones who are at risk of being lost.
Ask the developer which association management systems (AMS) they integrate with and which versions their system is compatible with.
Are the Developers Association Experts?
Is their focus and exclusivity in the non-profit sector? Look for companies who have a razor sharp focus on the specific and unique needs of the non-profit sector. This will ensure less time in having their team understand what “member retention” and “member engagement” means and more time in working up an app that delights your members. Ask questions such as “can the app have events that are accessible to only board or specific committee members?” to determine if they truly understand your needs.
Selecting an app is a lot like hiring a new team member. Prepare for the demo with your interview questions, make sure they meet all your qualifications, and check references to make sure they are responsive and easy to work with.