Stephen Tall recently posted about using his ipad for business and linked to Fundraising.co.uk which discusses the use of apps by charities. The site shows just how few UK charities have an iphone (or ipad) app. How come the fundraising sector has not yet embraced this form of technology?
One answer might be the rules set by Apple. They apparently don't allow 'touch to donate' apps which might be one of the easiest ways to give. In other words, you cannot create an app which is free to download but which then allows the user to donate at the touch of the screen. This put paid to the idea of BullyingUK who wanted to include a donation function on their app but were frustrated by Apple's policy of not allowing nonprofit/charity donation facilities on apps.
But with the plethora of text to donate fundraising schemes, surely it would be possible to design an app whose very sale creates a profit for the charity. Although no charity has yet produced an entirely virtuous app - where the user pays for an app which is essentially worthless and the money goes to the fundraisers - there are a couple who have produced games including the Hoopathon, a virtual Hula Hoops Hoopathon game which cost £1.79 to download with profits going to Sport Relief.
Other charities have taken a different tack - producing a free app with service information but asking for a donation by text or online if the user wishes to contribute. WaterAid's ToiletFinder UK is one example, helping you locate a public toilet in the UK.
Other apps support events like The Marie Curie Blooming Great Tea Party or Movember.
It can hardly be said that foreign charities are that much further ahead either.
To me this looks like an opportunity that is being missed.