The decision of whether to use an in-house team or outsource to an agency when building your nonprofit digital products isn’t easy. From websites to applications to digital marketing projects, there are a lot of projects that we undertake as a nonprofit and it’s only right and important to find the best team to build these projects. The trouble is, do you outsource your project or get people employed in your organization to do it?

In this post, we’ll help you make the right decision: deciding your next team for building your nonprofit’s projects.

Table of Contents

  • In-House Web Development Team
  • Pros and Cons of In-House Teams
  • Outsourced Web Development Teams
  • Pros and Cons of Outsourced Teams


In-House Web Development Team

In-house development means you are leveraging your nonprofit’s own resources to build and maintain your own software and web applications teams. In this case, you’re not using the services of a software development agency, but a dedicated development team set up by your organization.

nonprofit web development department

In-house teams in a nonprofit can range from one person to 10 people depending on the size of your projects and your financial resources to hire and keep web and application developers.

For a small nonprofit, you could have an IT department, mostly made up of one or two employees overseeing various tasks – including managing your databases, developing websites, designing apps and web projects, and some taking care of digital marketing projects. In this case, you have to build your own team from scratch, filling up the required positions based on the skillset and experience you need.


Pros of an In-House Development Team

You build a culture-fit team for your organization

Having an in-house team means that you’re able to recruit and build a tech team that’s aligned with your organization’s culture. This makes them pay more attention to your values, culture, and vision when building a product – achieving great success.

High involvement and quick changes

Having an in-house team means your nonprofit organization will get a high level of involvement and feedback from the entire team. This can happen at any step of the project’s phase, strengthening the quality of whatever is produced.

Security is also assured

Since you’re working with your employees, your organization’s data are not shared with any third party. You’re also able to retain all the knowledge and experiences gained during each project – helping plan and execute future projects.

Seamless communication

With in-house teams, you’re all located in the same building, meaning you get to send and receive messages as and when needed. Communication becomes seamless, between and among every employee of the organization. Even for teams working remotely, communication is seamless as you all get to communicate in the same organization’s chat tool such as Slack or Microsoft Teams.


Cons of In-House Development Teams

High cost

Running an in-house team comes with a lot of expenses – from payroll, taxes, and insurance of employees to training and investing in the resources needed to build, launch, and maintain software. Unless otherwise highly necessary, it’s highly advised for small nonprofits not to invest in in-house teams, especially if you’re going to build just a few projects, like a website and an app.

The launch may be slow

Launching a product with an in-house team is usually slow. It takes time to hire developers and every team member needed to complete a project.

Trouble finding the right fit

It’s usually impossible to find all the expertise needed to complete a project. This means, as you expand your project scope or add new features to an already existing product, you’ll have to hire new talent. This takes time and consumes a lot of resources.


Outsourced Development Teams

Outsourced teams are web and software development agencies that your nonprofit can outsource all your development and software maintenance services to. These outsourced firms usually have a team of developers, designers, marketers, QA testers, and more.

outsourced web development

As a nonprofit, delegating your product building tasks to an external agency, you need to have a contract ready, after which, there would be a series of deliberations on what’s best for your organization.


Pros of delegating your product/web development to outsourced teams

Cost is kept at the minimum

Delegating your software development needs to an agency gives your nonprofit the opportunity to control your cost and beat your expenses down dramatically. With an outsourced team, you don’t have to hire talent and run their payroll and insurance. You don’t need to operate the digital resources needed to build a project. You have access to the same level of talent you would have in-house, but this time, minus the high cost.

No technology constraints

When you use the services of an outsourced team, you’re giving your project to a group or a team that has great technological resources and all the tools at their disposal to finish your project.

Access to great talent

Outsourced teams usually have access to a great pool of talent needed to complete every aspect of a project. In some cases where they don’t have the needed talent for a specific project, they can use the services of contractors for the job. This gives them the opportunity to seek the best talent out there for your project. In the case of an in-house team, you’re usually limited to the people you hire for critical solutions.

Shipping product to market is seamless

With outsourced teams, you don’t need to waste time hiring talent. You don’t have to spend time investing in technology resources. The benefit of this is that you can create and ship your nonprofit’s product in a few months since the team you’re outsourcing to is already incorporated and ready to start working from day one.

Seamless scalability

Do you need a lot of team members to work on a project now? You have them. Has your software needs gone down and you would need a few team members? There you are. An outsourced team gives you the opportunity to scale the team working on your projects up and down as and when you need them.


Cons of outsourcing

If you’re a nonprofit with a lot of sensitive data, then outsourcing may not be a good option as it may lead to your data being exposed.

You also have less control over the software development process when you outsource your services to a third party.


Making the right choice: in-house or outsourcing?

If you’re a nonprofit that:

  • Has a small budget
  • Needs access to a large pool of talent
  • Is just getting started
  • Needs to launch your product to market as soon as possible
  • Doesn’t have the needed technology resources to keep an in-house team.

Then outsourcing is the best solution for you.  Some outsourced teams such as IndieTech Solutions would even work with your nonprofit like they’re part of your team, learning about your values, culture, and your vision, and how best to communicate these through your websites and applications.