As a mission-driven social enterprise, MonkeyPod’s work is shaped by these four guiding principles:
MonkeyPod is evolving rapidly, with new features and capabilities added every week. When a software platform is as broad and comprehensive as MonkeyPod is, the possibilities are limitless. So which ideas get prioritized? And where do the ideas come from in the first place?
At MonkeyPod, we believe in community-driven software development. Whenever possible, our users should be active participants in designing the tools they’ll use every day.
To be clear: that doesn’t mean we expect them to roll up their sleeves and start writing software code! We build into our development process a spectrum of opportunities for users to engage.
Clients who spend more don’t always have better ideas.
Any MonkeyPod user can view, vote, or comment on feature ideas in our public Product Roadmap. An example of much deeper involvement is a community-design cohort, which typically includes 2-4 organizations who collaborate closely on the development of some significant new area of functionality. That process created our much-loved Grant Tracker app!
So, why would MonkeyPod complicate its design process and give up control?
First, when real users get involved in software design, the resulting tools are guaranteed to address actual, practical needs.
Second, most software companies use an alternative paradigm: sales-driven design. This gives the loudest voice to the biggest-spending clients. But clients who spend more money don’t necessarily have better ideas, so their opinions shouldn’t carry more weight.
Third, community-driven design is consistent with our values. It ensures that all organizations – including those with tiny budgets, those led by and supporting BIPOC communities, those operating at a grassroots level without institutional backing – have a voice in shaping the tools they use.
Committing to a nonprofit mission takes a lot of heart. Passion and purpose are indispensable. But it’s all too easy to end up spinning your wheels doing things that feel good rather than things that make change.
Mission-driven work is most effective when it's supported by data-driven strategies. Good data tells you what's working and what isn't, so you can focus your efforts where they make the biggest impact. It’s also essential for building healthy, sustainable organizations.
Good data helps provide focus to passion and purpose.
These days we are all swimming in data, and – let’s be honest! – most of it is noise. But MonkeyPod is narrow in its focus, has a ton of relevant experience, and is opinionated about what matters. We only work with nonprofits, so we only need to worry about their needs. Everyone who works at MonkeyPod is an experienced nonprofit professional and collectively we’ve spent decades at a wide range of organizations. We also talk to nonprofit organizations (our users) every day. All of that context and perspective allows us to slice, dice, and highlight information that is meaningful, actionable, and timely. MonkeyPod turns raw data into important insights that you can act on today.
Computers are shockingly good at repetitive tasks. They can take the same detailed, multi-step process and perform it thousands of times per second, for years on end, without ever making a mistake, without ever complaining, and without ever taking a lunch break.
Humans, on the other hand, excel at work that demands creativity, empathy, and judgment.
So why must our employees or volunteers toil away at administrative minutia for hours, days, years on end? This isn’t just a terrible waste of precious human resources. It also leaves organizations without enough time or bandwidth to dedicate to the “human” work, which, by the way, is often the same as the “mission” work! Employees get burned out, mistakes get made, and nothing ever changes.
Humans excel at creativity, empathy, and judgment.
MonkeyPod automates routine tasks and workflows so they're done instantly, accurately, and at unlimited scale – all without any human intervention required. We’re on a mission to eradicate busywork, from “bookkeeping by magic” to email lists that synchronize automatically with your donor database.
Privacy is a human right and some information is legitimately sensitive. MonkeyPod gives you lots of tools to ensure that private or sensitive information is only available to people who should have it.
That said, most organizations (hopefully!) trust their employees. When you give your people first-hand access to meaningful data, along with the context to understand its implications, they make better decisions in their day-to-day work. Practices like these also support learning and professional development for junior staff, making them more ready to step into senior roles when those opportunities arise.
Transparency supports learning and professional development for your team.
For many of us, this kind of thinking is uncomfortable at first. Unconsciously, we’ve all been trained to believe that our power and importance in organizations comes from being data gatekeepers for our colleagues and bosses. Please trust us: there is a better way! You are valuable and important to your organization because of your experience, judgment, perspective, creativity, passion, empathy, and dedication – not because you’re the only one who knows how well the last email newsletter performed!
MonkeyPod makes most information "transparent by default", and unless you tell us to lock something down, it's going to be accessible by your organization's users.
If these principles resonate with you, then we invite you to join our mission. Nonprofits are tackling challenges that are enormous, complex, and existentially important – climate change, education, food security, arts and culture, public interest journalism, healthcare, and so much more. These vital organizations have been forced to make do with substandard infrastructure and inadequate resources for far too long. It’s time for a change. Let’s get to work.