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E14: Introducing No Code And Low Code Tools For Scaling Impact

by Sean Boyce

No code tools are powerful platforms that can help your nonprofit scale impact without having any software engineering experience.

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What I share with you in this episode:
  • What no code tools are
  • How you can leverage them to scale impact
  • An example of one I built for a nonprofit
  • How it helped them scale impact
  • How even I was fooled by the sophistication of these tools
  • How your nonprofit can scale impact without any tech or software experience
If you’d like to learn how to scale impact at your nonprofit organization by more than double in less than half the time, I’d encourage you to sign up for my free 5 day email course.

Episode Transcript
0:00 – Hey everyone, Sean here and today what I want to talk to you about is how you can leverage something called no code and low code tools to scale impact at your nonprofit organization. 
0:22 – So if you’re unfamiliar with what I mean when I say no code or low code tools, the history is that creating custom software and building custom applications is difficult, requires significant, largely advanced skills can be very time consuming and can be very expensive. But at the same time, software and technology are some of the best tools that you have available in order to help your organization scale impact. 
0:51 – Over time there has been a big push to make these tools more accessible to a larger audience. And one of the elements they were trying to remove or a big hurdle to that was requiring these advanced skills to be able to build custom applications and be able to write code. If they could make that process significantly easier, then, that really opens up a world of possibilities for what people can do with software and technology. That’s where these no code and low code tools came from. They are tools and resources that essentially anyone can use with any level of expertise. You don’t need to be technical or you don’t know how to need to know how to write code, in order to be able to create fairly advanced applications with great capabilities. 
1:41 – I’m proposing here that you investigate and you research these tools to find out how your organization can use them to scale impact. We’ve done that at NxtStep. I’ve done that in partnering with nonprofit organizations in terms of what we’ve done. One of our clients which offers a financial coaching program for their underrepresented clients. Part of that program is those clients working with financial coaches to prepare a better financial future for them. So financial literacy, helping them build credit things like this. 
2:13 – However, one of the constraints in trying to scale impact of that program, which was one of their goals, was that the coaches didn’t have more time to provide with the clients. So we needed to find a way to extend the reach of the coaches to the clients, make them more accessible and give the clients essentially what they desired most which was either more time or more advice or more resources from their coaches. 
2:40 – That’s where we came up with the idea to create a financial coaching application and we didn’t build it with any custom software or writing any custom code. We were able to leverage a no code or a low code platform which has enabled us to save time, move faster, and provide the kind of results that helps both the coach and the client. So with the application we created, we’ve essentially extended the reach of the coach to the client and the accessibility from the client to the coach. So if the client has questions, they can reach out to their coach directly via this app that we’ve created. And the app can operate perfectly fine on their phone, which most clients have access to and many of them do not have access to a computer. So it was important for us to be able to do that to this no code platform that we leveraged enabled us to be able to do that. 
3:32 – So I wanted to share with you that example because we’ve leveraged these tools and resources in order to be able to do incredible things for these nonprofit organizations and help them scale impact and you can too is the point here. So my background includes working for many years as a software engineer. I go all the way back to engineering at the university level. But I’ve been in hardware engineering, software engineering for many years. So I’m very technical. But I have continued to research and stay on top of this world in terms of how it has developed and how it has evolved and how it’s made these tools and resources more accessible because that’s what I want for everyone as well too. That’s what I want for my clients. I want them to be able to leverage the power of software and technology to better scale impact and that has required finding tools that are easier to use so that it’s more universally applicable. It’s more accessible to more people. 
4:25 – I’ll leave you with one example in this episode. And the tool in particular is called Zapier, you may have heard of it before they have these things you can configure in their application called zaps, which essentially you can think of as a universal connector that enables you to connect essentially anything to essentially anything else. So if you wanted to take data from your CRM to a spreadsheet or you wanted to take data from a calendar Booker to a CRM, you can leverage Zapier in order to be able to figure out how to do that. That enables you to pick a source application and a destination application and then enable you to send the data that you need to send from point A to point B, which is really interesting and very powerful, because there’s a lot of systems out there that don’t naturally talk to one another. But you probably have workflows of your own that are a little bit annoying or they slow you down because you can’t get that data over there and those instances Zapier is one of the perfect tools to consider to be able to close that gap and then potentially automate that step getting a lot of the time back and extend that value to the rest of your team or for whatever purpose you’d like to leverage it. So that’s just one example. I’m going to be talking about many others, including the tools and resources we use to build that financial coaching application and additional episodes. But for here, I just wanted to kind of get you familiar with an example of one plus the kind of outcome that we were able to achieve in scaling impact by building that financial coaching application without writing any code. And that really helped that client organization of ours scale impact.
6:00 – I’ll leave you with one final story here, which is a really interesting one, especially given my background, just to give you an idea how sophisticated these tools have become. I mentioned that I was a software engineer for many years and at one point I was helping an organization try to find a better platform or software system for a specific need that they had and I was evaluating different options. I was looking at some of the more established bigger companies and I was also looking at some of the younger companies in terms of what they had to offer and I found one that I was particularly interested in, its usability seemed great and had the features and functionality they needed, but it was easy to use and as I continued to do my due diligence before I recommend the platform, I also check out now who’s the team that runs this application. How long have they been around? How are they funded that type of thing because it’s important for sustainability. I don’t want to switch a system and that potentially come into jeopardy at a later date. We want to try to minimize that risk as much as possible. But long story short here is the tool that I found that I liked the most. When I did that homework. I ultimately found out that it wasn’t built by a team or a company that had been around very long was built by a student. That was a school I believe. So it was just one student that had essentially built this application and they built it with a no code or a low code tool platform. 
7:20 – What was interesting here is that despite all the years of experience I have as a software engineer myself, I was even unable to tell that this platform had been built with a no code or a low code system. So that just gives you an idea how impressive these tools have become in terms of what they can produce. It’s almost indistinguishable nowadays in that it’s very difficult to tell what it has been built with depending upon how it’s been built so you can build some pretty sophisticated, full applications without writing any code. By leveraging these tools and resources and future episodes. I’m going to walk you through that process in greater detail. But I really want you to walk away with a lesson from today’s episode that your organization can leverage these tools and resources to scale impact in a significant way without having advanced technical skills or needing to know how to write code as a software engineer. So I encourage you to start researching them and find unique ways that you can leverage them in order to scale impact at your organization.