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Three iPhone Apps that Every Nonprofit Needs to Know About

January 6, 2010

[tweetmeme] The use of iPhone Apps that benefit the nonprofit sector is going to explode in 2010. Hundreds of iPhone Apps created by nonprofits and nonprofit service providers are quietly preparing for an early 2010 launch. That said, there are three iPhone Apps currently live and available for download that give us a good picture of how iPhone Apps can be utilized by nonprofits, activists, and donors:

1) Geolocation Activism :: CauseWorld

CauseWorld empower users earn “karma points” when they walk into stores and check in with their cell phone. No purchase is required at any store, and karma points can be redeemed to benefit  nine predefined good causes. CauseWorld will appeal to the online activists… those folks that love to recruit you to join Causes on Facebook and Twitter, but it’s unclear how much $$ = 1 Karma. It’s a creative mobile adaptation of cause marketing that speaks to the power and possibilities of geolocation for social good. My guess is we will see many more such Apps and gelocation services launch in 2010.

2) Fundraising :: Charity Finder

CharityFinder allows users to donate to over 1,800 nonprofits via simple nonprofit profiles that have a “Support”
button which links to the nonprofit’s website. The App is is very much first generation and needs improvement, but they earn kudos for being the first to attempt such an App. CharityFinder gives us a peak at what could be in App Philanthropy. Imagine an App that uses the GuideStar database, allows donations with one tap, and then emails you a receipt and year-end tax report. That’s an App that will change philanthropy as we know it. The question is who is going to build it?

3) Volunteerism :: The Extraordinaries

The Extraordinaries allows people to complete micro-tasks for nonprofits and causes that  they’re passionate about. Users of the App can photograph and upload mobile photos of animal abuse for Big Cat Rescue, report pollution for Heal the Bay, or record messages of encouragement for children living in
poverty around the world for Christel
. This App has received quite a bit of buzz over the last few months and will likely expand in 2010. My guess is the micro-tasks will begin to include calls to action via text messages to contacts on your cell phone and calls to “Share” on Facebook or Twitter. Lots of possibilities!

Related Link:
Webinar: How Nonprofit Organizations Can Successfully Utilize Group Texting, Mobile Websites, and Smartphones Apps

24 Comments leave one →
  1. January 6, 2010 10:45 am

    Heather – good intro for folks. There are others. I like what a company called iHeart is doing.

    I think there is going to be a distinct first mover advantage in this area for the vendor and the organization.

    I agree that there will be a mad rush by orgs to get an app but very few will reap substantial benefits – think yellow bracelets…

  2. January 6, 2010 1:17 pm

    Karma points app sounds fun.

  3. January 6, 2010 1:51 pm

    Hey Heather –

    Great article, but you missed one of the most robust apps out there. Developer MTB Mobile ( has released FLHW Mobile ( that does all of the above and more. It also allows the nonprofit to make dynamic updates to app content so the user keeps getting a fresh experience. Download it and check it out!

    Andy Wollen, MTB Mobile

  4. Bob Shipman Rmship permalink
    January 6, 2010 2:27 pm

    The sky is the limit, my problem is i have the palm Pre………….

  5. January 6, 2010 5:37 pm

    I’ve been using Causeworld a fair amount and it’s fun to rack up the points just to give ’em away to good causes. Extraordinairies sounds like it will be good but I haven’t really found it useful in my local area yet. When I call up the app on my phone I get opportunities in Boston…
    I have high hopes though!

  6. January 7, 2010 2:47 am

    Does anyone know of any similar UK-specific apps?

  7. January 10, 2010 11:32 am

    I loved Cause World when I wrote about it last month

    Already up to benefactor level! Anyway, been working on a post about iPhone apps for nonprofits and will include a link to your post.

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      January 10, 2010 12:45 pm

      Cool. Thanks Beth. Nice to have some new tools to write about, huh?!

  8. January 11, 2010 8:27 am

    Check out The mobile site makes donating and shopping at Goodwill stores much more convenient. Goodwill also recently launched a series of recycling videos following Miss District of Columbia as she shops for recycled furniture to furnish her new apartment (her platform for the Miss America Pageant on Jan 30 is recycling), as well as a rap song that samples Miss DC singing opera. the song promotes Goodwill’s job training mission. This effort to provide content marketing has worked wonders for Goodwill of Greater Washington in the past. Visit

  9. January 11, 2010 9:34 am

    What tips would you give NPO who are looking to create an app? I think the hardest part is creating something VALUABLE to the user and not just straight branding.


    • January 11, 2010 1:01 pm

      Hey Sara –

      That’s a great point, actually. There’s a huge proliferation of “vanity apps” out there, sort of like first-generation brochure-ware websites. The key in building an effective app is to understand what NPOs are trying to accomplish, understand the capabilities of mobile devices and networks, and then bring the two together.

      For example, NPOs need to get supporters to spread the word about the good work they do, and to do it in a consistent manner. A mobile application can help to do this by making it very easy for a user to virally share info using social media — and by also allowing the NPO to compose / control the message!

      My company, MTB Mobile, has very deep experience with mobile data, mobile networks and mobile devices, as well as experience in the nonprofit sector. We’ve done this up-front analysis and are offering a pretty well-developed set of capabilities in our NonProfit 2.0 product. Feel free to take a look at, or download a sample iPhone app by searching on “FLHW” in the App Store.

      All the best,

      Andy Wollen
      (913) 269-7254 mobile

  10. January 12, 2010 3:34 am

    Good app examples. Nice to see Apps for Good on the rise. I think geo location and human stories mash-ups could be a good opportunity for non-profits to make folks feel compelled to help and make it a more of a local call to action.

  11. January 12, 2010 4:40 pm

    Thanks for the great post, we really appreciate your help in spreading the word about The Extraordinaries! It’s incredible how much real work is being done by extraordinary users at We’re really excited for what 2010 will bring, thanks again for the mention!

    Kim, The Extraordinaries

  12. March 18, 2010 8:31 am


    When we were in the development process for iPheedANeed, we wanted to offer people functionality and “fun” that could not be found on our website. So, in addition to basic CAFB information, we included a game that reinforces our need for healthy, non-perishable food items (not just canned goods) and kid-friendly recipes from our CHOICES Nutrition Education program. Also, a prominent feedback opportunity is key so you can plan and prioritize your upgrades. You can see the website we created for the app at Good luck. I think we can all learn from each other in this process.

    Lisa Goddard
    Capital Area Food Bank of Texas

  13. March 22, 2010 12:20 pm

    Great article, and terrific comments here….

    VolunteerMatch also just launched our first ever mobile app, VolunteerMatch for iPhone. It’s now available for free in the App Store and on iTunesm and it includes opportunities from over 70,579 participating organizations in our network.

    Not only can you sign up for volunteer roles, you can also read more than 3,500 reviews of volunteer organizations from other people, plus share your activities easily with your friends and family.

    For those who want an app that’s easy to use for finding volunteer opportunities, here it is:

    Keep up the good work,
    VolunteerMatch team

  14. April 9, 2010 3:41 am

    he fourth generation iPhone is expected to ship this summer and hints in the new iPhone OS 4.0 beta reveal functions for use with a camera flash.

  15. June Beatty permalink
    August 31, 2010 7:34 pm

    I believe it was the extraordinaries that just recently got a lot of press from Mashable within the past couple of months. I think the app has a great concept. I might have to differ with the score though. I’ve seen other iphone app reviews that have not been as strong.


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