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App It Up for Nonprofits and Libraries

App It Up for Nonprofits and Libraries

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We're happy to announce the launch of our new App It Up page for nonprofits and libraries. This page is where we'll be sharing what we're learning through the App It Up project.

We've already learned a lot about what apps are out there, how nonprofits and libraries are using apps, and what your app needs and interests are. We're featuring a changing selection of useful, innovative, or just plain cool apps in our App It Up page showcase. We'll be sharing app resources and other App It Up information there as well.

What Is an App?

An "app" is a small piece of software that performs a discrete function, with limited or targeted functionality. So not a full-fledged Microsoft Office. Rather a bit of code that does something interesting. Apps can be used online (a web app), on a mobile device (a mobile app), or as an add-on to existing software tools (widgets, plug-ins, templates, and so on).

App It Up Wants to Hear from You  

Check out the App It Up page and let us know what you think. Then help us help nonprofits and libraries "App It Up" by sharing your thoughts with us in the comments below. We'd love to hear more about:

  • If you've started investigating or using apps, share your story and help other nonprofits and libraries learn from your experience!
  • What do you think of our featured apps. Can you see your organization using those apps, or using similar apps?
  • Not using apps? We still want to hear from you! Why aren't you using apps?  What would you need to help you use apps effectively in your nonprofit or library?
  • How do you think apps might help your organization? By getting the message out? Making your work more efficient? Something else entirely?
  • Do you already use a great app, or have you built your own app?
  • What's on your app wish list? Have you thought of an app that would be helpful for your organization, but don't have the time or resources to make it happen? Tell us about it.
  • Do you have questions or concerns about using apps?

We're excited about our app showcase and can't wait to hear from you. Your thoughts and experiences using these (and other) apps will help us develop insight into what nonprofits and libraries need from apps, and will help us identify and share tools that that might meet those needs.

Enjoy the app showcase, and thank you for your input!

  • Hello there! I just would like to give you a huge thumbs up for the fantastic information you have here on the blog post. I may be coming back to your blog for more in the future.

  • Thanks for asking. CyberLynx in Bandon Oregon makes a lot of use of Doodle, a free on line ap to find a date and time for a meeting. A link is sent out to all who should be at the meeting, they click on the link and are presented with a web page on which they enter their name and check off all the suggested times when they would be available. The convener can see who and how many can make the various times and decide when to meet. We even use Doodle for a virtual Board Meeting. Motions are made and discussed by email and a vote by Doodle: Monday = No, Friday = Yes.

    But probably the most valuable ap is plain old email. Many organizations make access to email a prerequisite to volunteering. Many also send out a newsletter on email and if a member does not have email, they do not get the newsletter.

    A really useful ap would be an email client that has a built in html editor to format newsletters etc.

  • Thanks for mentioning Doodle. I've used Tungle before, which is similar, so I know how helpful these tools can be (especially when not everyone is using the same calendar and scheduling software).

    For email, Idealware has a good article on broadcast email tools for nonprofits: www.idealware.org/.../fgt_email_newsletter_tools.php . While some services only allow plain-text messages, a number of them do offer customizable templates for email newsletters (including some that don't even require html skills).

    As I understand it, there are some advantages to using these integrated tools vs. a standard email client, including easier list management and reporting, improved deliverability, and more formatting options.

    Do you have an email newsletter tool you particularly like?

  • edwardfinley37, welcome to TechSoup, and thanks for stopping by the blog! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. We'll be posting more app content here on the blog and on the App It Up page. So please do stop by again, and let us know what you think.

  • I have been interested in designing am app for the organization that I work for, it would be very helpful if you could post some resources for non-profits on how to develop an app, what programs to use, or simply list some design resources that would point us in the right direction.

  • Thanks, oscardriver! That's fantastic feedback. I'll dig around and see what kind of resources I can come up with. It's also a great idea for a future blog post or webinar for us! In the meantime, can you say more about what type of app you'd like to develop? What would the app do and how does that relate to the mission of your organization?

  • Since I have no smartphone or tablet, I have no interest in using apps.

    There is no apps for the PC except for Chrome browser.  Google has added some apps which work only in browser.  I like the weather and news apps and you only use the mouse to control the screen.   I tried other program which would load apps into their software.  But the choices of apps was very limited and I deleted the software.   I do know Android is working on x86 version (PC) but any apps would have to be recompile for x86 machines.  Then you have Windows 8 with it's Metro which will run Apps from MS store.  At this time there is no apps for x86, maybe this time next year there will be 50,000 apps for PC platform.

  • Thanks for all of this information! I was looking at the App Wish List and the first one can be accomplished with Razoo! news.razoo.com/.../product-updates-mobile-giving

    -Gilad

  • JeReseeks, honestly mobile apps are what I usually think of first, and we do talk a lot about them in App It Up. But actually my favorite "app" isn't a mobile app at all - it's the Evernote web browser plug-in that's available for IE, Chrome, Firefox, etc. We also include website widgets under the app umbrella (fundraising widgets, widgets to display an organization's twitter feed, etc).

    gilads, thanks for the heads-up about Razoo. I checked out their mobile giving and nonprofit fundraising features, and it looks interesting. Have you used them before? What did you think?

    Thanks,

    Ariel

  • I work for an animal shelter & have seen only one app that is about shelters. It's called AnimalHaven (for iPad) and it's just information about who, what, where, when & how but people that are interested in them have a handy bit of reference.  

    Our shelter is pretty cyber intense with facebook, PetFinder, blog, website and Chip-In widgets when we have a special project.

     I did want to share with you a site that will let legitimate non-profits send out both HTML & text newsletters. It's www.verticalresponse.com

      You have to sign up as a regular person then make application for the non-profit but once approved, they give you an insane number of credits every month. High praise for their generosity!

    -Lynne

  • Thanks, pjhumane! Whitley County Humane Society and Wisconsin Humane Society have their own apps in the Apple app store too, as does the Humane Society of the US (their HumaneTV app is a bit different, focused on sharing video content).

    You mentioned that your organization uses PetFinder. Do you see any benefits/drawbacks to having a standalone app for a shelter vs. using PetFinder? For example, I have the PetFinder app, and while I really like being able to search across organizations, it's fairly limited in providing specifics about each organization.

    The folks on the App It Up team thought humane societies/rescue orgs might have fairly similar basic app requirements (org info, news/events, adoptable animals, etc). Rather than each org developing an app on their own, we thought it would be super-cool if there was a way to create an app that would meet the needs of a variety of organizations. But maybe many of those organizatin's needs are already met pretty well by PetFinder vs. a standalone app?

    And thanks for mentioning Vertical Response. I think they offer 10,000 emails a month for free to qualified nonprofits, with discounted rates on additional email volume. It's great that they offer that to the nonprofit community!

    Thanks again,

    Ariel

  • I noticed that you mentioned you were looking for Public Art Apps.  Fortunately we've been working on one for several years.  cultureNOW's Museum Without Walls is a way to utilize smartphone technology to get beyond gallery walls, create an 'acoustiguide to the environment' and take the 'Museum out of the Museum'.  It works on the iPhone and Android.  There are currently over 60 public art collections nationally on it, about 10,000 sites and over 450 podcasts by artists, architects, curators and historians as well as more than 20 self guided tours.

    The app won a NYC Big Apps 2.0 award as one of the Best Cultural Apps of NY in 2011 and just won the National American Institute of Architects 2012 Collaborative Achievement Award.  

    www.culturenow.org

  • Hello all  -  great to find this group. here in Adelaide, Australia our legal aid service has launched our firts free community legal iOS app - LegalAidSA for South Australiasn to access online our justice, information and face-to-face support services. Working now on Android app yes for Feb release. Very happy to discuss with CLCs etc the journey of this this great app project that commenced in July this year.  pls DM via @LegalAidSA - cheers.

  • I read the wish list, and I made a not-for-profit search engine. You can use it here:

    www.canadiantheatrehub.ca/search

    There is also a link to download the code so you can insert the search engine into your own website if you like.

    michael@canadiantheatrehub.ca

  • From the wishlist, I think down the line my organization may be interested in the credit card donation and volunteer apps.  Our group doesn't currently do a lot of interaction directly with the public, but we are looking to grow.  So I can envision those being handy.  I can't think of anything new at this time.  Thanks!