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I'm a 23 year old employed Software Developer with a CS Degree. In my free time I wrote an SPA breaking down and visualizing the calculation of a nutritional label for practice and fun. The app is serverless/static, so security risks and hosting efforts are minimal.

I would like to offer this software to a local non-profit organization which provides similar education materials. I don't want financial compensation, it's just for my portfolio and networking. How can I approach them professionally? I'm afraid my message may be interpreted as spam. Unfortunately, I get very nervous in social situations like phone calls or meetings, so I would prefer text-based communication to test the waters.

My question is pretty similar to How to approach local shops to offer them my service? , but I already have a working prototype hosted on github pages and I want to offer it to a specific organisation for free.

2 Answers 2

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If you want to offer it to a specific organization, then the best way is to find people who work/ volunteer in that organization and talk to them and ask them how to proceed. You might need to volunteer in that organization for a while before offering it.

Be aware that the probabilities are low that they will accept it. No matter how free it is, it will still cost them time, effort, and perhaps money to accept what you offer, learn how to use it, and train people on its use.

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As a developer, I feel your pain.

  1. Bootstrap: You could social engineer your way into a few shops, try to find people on LinkedIn or social network that work in a specific place and explain your case. Do it on a personal level, not as a commercial individual and get them onboard.

  2. Expand:

    1. After you sign up one or two shops, you could partner with a salesperson, you will probably have to charge a monthly/yearly fee and give a good percentage to the salesperson. Post a job offering in the lines of 'Looking for a sales representative for online product, 100% commission based' then proceed to describe your venture and tell them you already have a couple clients and is looking to expand.
    2. If you don't want to get sales people involved, repeat the strategy from step 1, but now you can showcase your other clients/signups.
  3. Scale: Once you have signed up a bunch of shops, you could start marketing. There are hundreds of ways of doing this, I have neither the experience nor the data to help you here. :(

bonus: I know how tempting it is to be warm and cozy behind a screen with minimal social engagement. As personal advice to you, you should probably seek some professional help to deal with your social unease. I've found it paramount to workout, and or take fighting classes to boost your confidence, you won't be less awkward, but you will feel much better when dealing with people.

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