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The State of iPhone Fundraising Apps :: Three Examples

April 12, 2010

In January 2010, I was quoted by Association & Nonprofit BizNow for saying: “[Heather] envisions a mobile app with a GuideStar database of nonprofits that would make it possible for people to donate to any organization at any time. A receipt would automatically be e-mailed along with a customized thank you letter. At year’s end, givers could print out all their donation info on one page for tax purposes.” To add to that today, I would also love to see an App that allows me to manage a giving portfolio directly from my iPhone complete with a running list of nonprofits I have donated to and yearly donation totals. That is an App I would use.

Now almost 4 months later the first generation of iPhone Fundraising Apps are hitting the iPhone App Store. Progress is being made, but we have a long way to go until an App like the one described above is launched and fully functional. Online donation services that use GuideStar, such as Network for Good, JustGive,, Razzo, etc. may very well have such an App in the works (I hope), but in the meantime, below are three iPhone fundraising Apps that are pioneering iPhone App fundraising:

1. Giveabit :: Download

Released: March 3, 2010

This App was created by two guys who went out on the Internet asking friends to help them raise $3,100 to launch this App. Now in its initial launch, a different nonprofit is featured everyday. Users can also create a list of their “Favorite” nonprofits and donate as little as $2.

The big obstacle that we still have not found a way around is the fees associated with micro-donations are high and the “Donate” button links to a desktop version of a PayPal donate page. Give it time. PayPal mobile pages are coming. In the meantime, anyone who donates $10 or more can name their charity of choice to be included among the nonprofits featured in Givabit’s initial release. Hint, Hint.

2. Donation Connect :: Download

Updated: February 5, 2010

This App is a smart, timely, good idea. It lists nonprofits that you can easily donate $10 to by simply entering your mobile number. It’s essentially a portal to a select few nonprofits that have signed up for text-to-give fundraising.

While I love the idea, this App has its limitations. Text-to-give services are still relatively expensive. The vast majority of nonprofits can not participate until the price for the service goes down. Also, many donors are not keen on their donations being added to their mobile phone bills. Time will tell on that one. On thing is for sure, I hope the App expands to also include environmental, animal, arts, etc. organizations. An App to watch.

3. Charity Finder :: Download

Updated: February 11, 2010

I have written about the Charity Finder App before, and again, while I give them muchos kudos for being a pioneer in iPhone App fundraising, the problem here is that the buttons all link to desktop sites. It is also unclear how a nonprofit updates their “Events”. No FAQ.

There are seemingly over 1,800 nonprofits listed in this App. If you have a mobile website, contact them and ask them to update your links. Many nonprofits have gone straight to launching iPhone Apps and text-to-give campaigns while not really understanding the importance of having text alerts and a mobile website as well.

There are a few other fundraising Apps out there, but before I could even start using them, the App required that I submit my e-mail address without explanation of what they would do with my e-mail address. Thus, I didn’t even get past the first screen. What do you think? No matter what the App, would you provide an e-mail address before even seeing what the App does? I am researching iPhone App Best Practices. 🙂
Related Links:
Webinar :: How Nonprofits Can Utilize Group Texting, Mobile Websites and Smartphone Apps
Mobile Technology for Nonprofit Organizations LinkedIn Group
10 Free Nonprofit iPhone Apps
6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 2, 2011 8:48 am

    I so appreciate your explanation. Our company is planning on creating an application. We are in the middle, we fundraise for schools and non-profits, but we are for profit. Our fundraising is based upon sales made in our online webstore by the parents and supporters of the schools and charities we serve. We donate 15% back from every sale.
    We are trying to focus on this application to bring more schools and groups on board with us. We charge nothing to participate. Have any ideas on who in the industry has the non-profit understanding, but a saavy online marketing company that would help us to design it with schools and charities in mind. Thank you in advance for any feedback. Please email me if you have any ideas and keep up the great work. Laura

  2. July 8, 2011 9:26 am

    Interesting article but app fundraising needs to have a proper financial plan in order to earn enough money that can be donated. Here is a link to one recent attempt which sadly turned out to be a failure, because the pricing strategy wasn’t good:

  3. April 29, 2013 12:29 pm

    Interesting, I am actually working on some fundraising apps so I did find this article useful. Though I do have to wonder with Apple’s rules do they get 30% of the money raised?

    • May 9, 2013 11:45 am

      These apps link to mobile fundraising pages… the process is independent of Apple.


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