Determining the Fundraising Benefits of Mobile AppsFebruary 15, 2011 By Robin Fisk
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.