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    Mar 20 th, 2020
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    How Software Developers can help Small Businesses

    In these uncertain times, most of us are working from home, trying to focus on our day jobs, to keep our own businesses going in the midst of economic chaos. It can be difficult to do all this without having one eye on the news. Something that I’ve seen happen over and over, is small businesses needing to shutdown, or scale back in order to facilitate social distancing. It hurts to see already struggling businesses impacted in doing the right thing.

    Software developers are people of action. We want to help, we want do to the right thing.  With this pandemic, the idea of being any help can be overwhelming. The frontline workers are doing so much for us right now, that we realise that what we ourselves do, pales in comparison. Whether we’re speaking of the healthcare workers, police, army, or those who keep our supply chain running and making sure we get the food that we need to the houses that we’re spending so much more time in, these frontline workers are heroes.

    So what can us techies do to help?

    A few years ago, I set up donate:code as a place where developers can donate their spare time, and valuable skillset, to causes across the globe. It started out with me helping a local charity,  and since then we’ve had over 5,000 volunteers join up to help on a multitude of projects. While we’d all love to donate money to causes, we don’t all have easy access to disposable income. But we have valuable skills that can really make a difference.

    This week, I reframed what counts as a cause – it’s those small businesses that urgently need to get an online ordering/payment system going in this era of social distancing. It’s the business who is currently shutdown, and needs to wait for the worst of this to clear before re-opening. When better to look at refreshing your website, or creating an app, or getting onto Shopify. It could be anything. But the point is, everyone wants to see businesses bounce back stronger than ever before.

    My suggestion to you:

    • If you build software and if you’re feeling at a loss as to how you can help, volunteer to help out on Find some projects that resonate with you, and go build something great for them.  At the very least, let businesses know about the platform and how it can help them.
    • If you own a small business and have a project that could help you through this crisis or get you back on your feet when this is over, post a project on


    Volunteer Now or Post a Project

    2 Comments on this article

    1. Matthew Hyde

      I just signed up. this is a great project, and you’re spot on including small businesses in what counts as a cause. I’ve also had similar thoughts about the businesses in my local area. This is an unprecedented situation, causing multiple complex problems, which is what we software developers naturally want to solve. Keep up the good work!

      • james

        Thanks for signing up Matthew – really appreciate it. Hope you find some worthy projects.