Do you want to make donations with your iphone? Sorry – not possible

Beth Kanter, fundraising and social network guru in the US has started a campaign asking why Apple won’t facilitate donations through iphone applications.

Apparently, Apple says it is too hard to ensure that donations will end up with the desired recipient (and they also take a 30% cut from any apps which means that only 70% of the donation would go through anyway).

Beth has started a petition to Apple asking them to respond (and reconsider) which is currently up to 8000 signatures, and while she has had no response from Apple, Google and Microsoft have both sent her samples of their Android phones which do allow donations as she has stated that she will be discontinuing her iphone contract when it expires very soon and moving to a Google Android smart phone device.

What do you think about donating through mobile phones? If you are an organisation seeking funds, have you considered new technology to receive donations? How important is the accessibility of these methods? Or are your donors happy to be redirected back to a website? Most theorists think that the more clicks it takes to donate, the less donations you will receive.

The issue has come up now because December is the highest giving month for donations in the US – apparently nearly one third of all charitable giving happens there at this time of the year (the end of the tax year and the festive season).

I look forward to your thoughts on this – and also have a look at ProBono Australia’s take on this.

About ozphilanthropy

#Philanthropy. #arts Posts by Sharon Nathani, PhD candidate at the Centre for Social Impact, Swinburne focussing on philanthropic funders of the arts. Sharon's study is supported through an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship.
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4 Responses to Do you want to make donations with your iphone? Sorry – not possible

  1. Beth Kanter says:

    Thanks so much for your blog post about this important issue!

    • Thanks Beth for raising the issue – we all know how hard it is to encourage donors to donate – so if other technologies and methods can make it easier for them to support out work we should be encouraging that – and rewarding the technologies which help make it happen.

  2. Stuart says:

    Just to clarify, Apple take 30% of the sale price of an app. They don’t take a cut of any e-commerce conducted within the app. For example, ebay have an application in the app store. They are not taking a cut of purchases made via the app.

    Apple’s objection seems to be that they do not want to collect or distribute funds. I am not sure why you would Apple to do this for you anyway.

    The solution is to create your own web and iPhone application to facilitate donations. I can’t see Apple blocking that if it was developed under what are admittedly very strict guidelines. It’s how everyone else does it though.

    I think some wires have been crossed here but I may be missing something.

    • Hi Stuart,

      thanks for your comment. You always help clarify the technical side of things for me.

      I would have thought that most non-profits would have wanted their app to be downloadable for free – that’s possible isn’t it ?

      According to an article in the Huffington Post “Apple . . . takes a 30 percent cut from all of its iTunes and App Store transactions, which would not be an acceptable amount of money to collect from charitable donations”. I read that as any transactions within the app but I would be happy to be corrected.

      The gist of the grumbles with the iPhone is that it wants people to go back to a website and not donate within the app – therefore make more clicks and go elsewhere to do their donation which is a huge disincentive for people who might be prompted to make a spontaneous gift.

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