I recently reviewed a Christmas music streaming app created to bring attention to the Salvation Army. With every purchase of the $2.99 app, $1 goes to the charitable outreach program. I wondered why there weren’t more apps used to raise funds and if one day we wouldn’t see monies collected through an iPhone app by various organizations. A recent story in the New York Times revealed it isn’t likely in the near future.
Apps for nonprofits exist in the App Store, but donations cannot be made directly through the app. Donors must leave the app and are redirected to a web site for this purpose. Beth Kanter, co-author of “The Networked Nonprofit” called the process “…cumbersome and it doesn’t have to be.” She has started a petition accompanied by the graphic of Steve Jobs and the Grinch (see right). Other critics see the issue to be money. Apple takes a 30% cut of App Store purchases which would result in a PR nightmare.
In their defense, Apple would have to overcome the challenging tasks of managing and allocating funds, as well as verifying the recipient organizations. However, it has been done. In August, PayPal introduced a donation system available through it’s mobile app. Two months later Apple asked them to remove the option. PayPal is now developing an app for the Android OS.