Social Benefit Software
Northern Village is pleased to announce the launch of its “Social Benefit Software”. This is a culmination of several years of effort, using use our expertise to provide software for organizations that are trying to be a force for good. Depending on what their needs are, Northern Village has supported them by facilitating ecommerce, donations, mailing lists, database management, program portals, etc. Where ever a good solution doesn't exist, we create custom solutions.
For over 20 years, Northern Village has provided online services to social benefit organizations, which have . ambitious goals but notoriously tight budgets. Generally, they are serving a local area, doing what they can to help their local community. There are often similar organizations providing similar services in other communities. For example, if an organization is providing ID recovery services, or holiday gifting programs in Guelph or Toronto, the same programs exist in many other communities across Ontario – indeed Canada.
Program once, apply to many
Northern Village now approaches software projects with an eye to whether they can be used by many different organizations and communities for similar purposes. Such software can stil be customized – for example, dropdown menu options and site-wide settings can be determined by each client. But each client doesn't have to build their own custom software.
We make sure that each version of the software is “tenanted”. What this means is that the software is run on a single server, and each instance (or client) has its own database. So your data is secure and confidential, but your hosting costs are also low.
We currently have three service offerings that we have developed in this way
- Access2id, to assist agencies helping people experiencing homelessness to recover their ID. This was initially created for Street Health in Toronto.
- GiftingApp, to help organizations run their community gift programs primarily for the holiday season. This was first created for the Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington to help them run their Adopt-a-Family program.
- RadioApp, to help community, campus, and Indigenous radio stations to more easily maintain their logs, stream their programs, and manage their programming. This was first created for CFRC Radio in Kingston.
Incorporating SaaS in our business model
Incorporating these Software as a Service (SaaS) applications into our business model is a challenge. We have to make time to develop new services, before selling them, while also working on website projects to maintain our revenue. It’s truly a leap of faith and a labour of love.
The first Software as a Service offering we created, Access2ID, was started during a slowdown in business at the beginning of the COVID lockdown. We used that time to conduct market research to find organizations that offer these services, and we began the process to adapt the software to work service. When business picked up, and time was more limited, we were very honoured to be chosen as the winner of the Meridian Small Business Contest, which provided us with the funds that allowed us to complete that project.
After achieving a successful conversion of this custom software into a service, NV looked for other software projects so that we could emulate this model.
Our hope is to provide affordable software services to organizations across Canada, so that they can more effectively be a force for good in their communities. We make our SaaS products affordable for small and large organizations and provide ongoing support. In future, we hope to be bringing clients together to share and develop best practices across the social benefit world.