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Determining the Fundraising Benefits of Mobile Apps

February 15, 2011 By Robin Fisk
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You can get apps on your smartphone to manage your life, help you select the right wine for a meal, make photos of your friends look like aliens and check your flight details; one even claims to help you burn body fat by holding the phone against your stomach and making it vibrate.

But has anyone yet come up with an app that helps nonprofits raise more money? A major impediment to fundraising on iPhones and iPads — still the market-leading mobile devices — is that Apple refuses to allow donations to be made from apps. So at the point of taking gifts, apps have to direct users to websites, and nonprofits have to risk potentially losing the would-be donors' attention in the process.

Despite this, there is a growing number of apps in the app store that claim to provide some kind of fundraising benefit to nonprofits, and they approach the challenge from a variety of angles.

Some apps do something useful such as WaterAid’s ToiletFinder app, which helps you locate the nearest public convenience and asks you to give money via the organization’s website on the way.

Other apps have incorporated a bit of fun to raise awareness. For example, the Salvation Army USA’s Bellringer app lets you play a virtual handbell and listen to a selection of holiday music played on the bells. And again, a link to the organization’s donation Web page is provided.

The Artez app is something that any charity can brand and offer its supporters, and it is integrated with the main fundraising event website. So as an event fundraiser, you log in, and just like the website, it lets you check how your fundraising is going, find friends to sponsor your event and share your progress on social networks. It even suggests you pass your phone to friends to let them make secure donations via the website.

 

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COMMENTS

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Most Recent Comments:
Rick O'Connor - Posted on February 15, 2011
Very interesting article Robin. As with any technology, you have to see if there is a fit with your organization and how you might use it. I am currently speaking with a number of charities in the Toronto area suggesting that they use text messaging technology to help communicate better with their supporters at various 'athon' events.

Text messaging can deliver timely information into the cell phone and onto the person before, during and after the event. Before: to remind participants of timing, location, things to bring; during: to get participants moving at the right time, in the right direction, where to go, what do to when they’re done; and after the event with thank you’s or to drive supporters to a website for ongoing dialogue and donor development.

So although we are using texting to deliver information, ultimately it can be used to deliver supporters to your website, alert them to an urgent need or ask for their support in another way. Text messaging may not be as sexy as a mobile app, but it's capable of doing much, much more.
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Archived Comments:
Rick O'Connor - Posted on February 15, 2011
Very interesting article Robin. As with any technology, you have to see if there is a fit with your organization and how you might use it. I am currently speaking with a number of charities in the Toronto area suggesting that they use text messaging technology to help communicate better with their supporters at various 'athon' events.

Text messaging can deliver timely information into the cell phone and onto the person before, during and after the event. Before: to remind participants of timing, location, things to bring; during: to get participants moving at the right time, in the right direction, where to go, what do to when they’re done; and after the event with thank you’s or to drive supporters to a website for ongoing dialogue and donor development.

So although we are using texting to deliver information, ultimately it can be used to deliver supporters to your website, alert them to an urgent need or ask for their support in another way. Text messaging may not be as sexy as a mobile app, but it's capable of doing much, much more.