Fundraising Mobile Apps: Still Having Problems?

Fundraising Mobile Apps: Still Having Problems?

For a long time, from as far back as 2010, Apple wasn’t allowing for donations on its iOS platform. Even Google has limits. Recently, Apple has allowed changes. Google does, but check through Google for non-profits. Also, be aware that both iTunes and Google Play charges 15% for any money you make through your App. It is advised that your contact them directly, as information online is constantly changing, and in this case, going directly to the source would be your best option.

The Salvation Army Headquarters for Bermuda and Canada deployed an app, called iKettle. It lets them create and share “kettle” web pages and invite others to donate to support The Salvation Army’s work. It’s friend-to-friend fundraising. iKettle includes a “Donate Now” button, but when users click it, a new browser window opens outside of the app, so that they’re not restricted by possible issues from Apple or Google.

Traditionally, one would need a native app that would run on Apple or Google. At a time, there would also be one for Windows and Blackberry, but combined, they make up less than 2% of the mobile market, today. The problem is that to create a native app, which runs on one mobile device or another, is that it would cost $30,000 per system! To get around this problem, hybrid apps came to be. Ymedia Labs has infographics to show the advantages of each, and how they’re different. It should be noted that while a native can function “offline,” hybrids can, as well. When it comes to certain features, such as sending a donation, the app will need to connect, to conduct the transaction. Also, through growing developments, plug-ins, and a multitude of options, security can be enhanced on natives and hybrids.

As mentioned above, Apple and Google charge 15% for money made through your apps (at this writing, I was unable to find out if Apple and Google offer discounts for charities). For non-profits, PayPal charges less, 2.2% + $0.30. Square’s 2.75 percent is also lower, although for regular transactions, PayPal can be higher than square. Do note that fees for swiping a card, manually entering it, and even having a reader varies by company, so read all of the details. Remember to ask!

Romney aides said the campaign used Square for “community engagement,” rather than fundraising. The small contributions it facilitated could make it more cost-effective than either direct mail or phone solicitations.

There are options, and exploring these, to help your organization with fundraising, should be consider!

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