At the recent NFP-TweetUp there was a discussion about which charities have developed apps for smart phones. So far we know about these.
Which have we missed?If you're feeling inspired, here's Rob Dyson's Guardian article from November about how charities could use location-based technology.
If you're developing an app on behalf of your charity what advice would you pass on to others?
Some advice coming in via Twitter from @Thirlwall_Assoc:
"To be more inclusive and save money you are better to make something that works in mobile browser on all phones. iphone has quite small share of market, Symbian and Android much more popular world wide."
I can think of a handful:
Baigent Digital's Martin Campbell from Baigen Digital (they helped Scripture Union develop their app) wrote a how-to guide on developing apps for us recently.
All iphone. (I don't own an iphone...)
Thanks for linking to my Guardian post
Without replicating the contents of the App Store here, there are a few nice cause-related apps such as British Heart Foundation's healthy eating recipe app.
But I'm anxiously awaiting Orange's mobile volunteering app which will place micro social actions in the palms of thousands of people, supported by Orange's powerful marketing arm.
St John Ambulance have an iPhone app with first aid apps, but it's not free. And guess what.. it's iPhone specific.
Lots of market research I've seen (it's not online, so I can't share it - sorry!) show that Android is ahead of iPhone in terms of market share, but closely followed by Blackberry. Those three platforms share 90 per cent of the market.
Really disappointing to see that a lot of the apps mentioned here are iPhone specific. There's a lot of untapped potential to be realised!
At the moment loads more developers are focusing on iPhone apps because they perceive that's where the money is. I'm sure that's going to change pretty quickly though. Givey (aka GetGiving) is being developed for iPhone and Android I think.
There's huge potential for building on other apps as well - Foursquare for location for example.
There's about 30 'do good' apps listed on this webpage, including a few of those that are listed above.
Also eagerly awaiting Orange's Mobile Volunteering app. Was shortlisted with one of my ideas for their comp, but didn't get any further.
Rob - the wait it over....
Orange launches micro-volunteering app for iphone - http://dosomegood.orange.co.uk
They've made such a simple demo video. Be interesting to watch take-up.
Is this the future for charity fundraising and volunteering?
I'm really rather excited about this app as this has the potential to bring microvolunteering to the masses and all through a respected big brand name. From my point of view, it doesn't get any better than that! There were so many other worthy ideas in the Orange Mobile Volunteering competition held last year, that it must have been difficult for them to choose which ones to promote.
Having been involved in the microvolunteering arena for the past 5 years now and judging from the webstats of Help From Home's website, I know that the most popular actions are games that donate to charity via advertsing revenue. Orange do not include such games on their app (presumably because the adverts are not advertising their brand), but I do wonder whether a more fun, entertaining action could be included within their current range of actions - there are certainly a few on Help From Home. In case you're wondering, Help From Home was shortlisted with an idea for this app (which included microvolunteering games), but didn't quite make it to the final 10.
As WEditor states above, Orange are looking for other charities to come up with microvolunteering initiatives. Rather fortuitously, Help From Home published a handbook last month entitled, 'How To Set Up A Microvolunteering Project', which includes a section on smartphone apps. It's aimed at charities and should give them plenty of ideas to tap into this, what could be a huge market, if the take up rate of the Do Some Good app takes off.
On the face of it, I think it's very encouraging to see the broad range of do good actions featured on the app and it just goes to show what can be done within 5 minutes. I'm hoping it's going to be an eye opener for the public to demonstrate that you can volunteer, even while you're kettle is boiling!
As for a review of the app, well I don't have an iphone but Jamie Thomas from i-volunteer does and has already published his rather (on the whole) positive take on it.
If you're thinking about developing an app for your charity, read this useful blog Why you should (not) have a mobile app.
Has anyone come across apps which have been developed by fundraising teams to raise money for their charity rather than apps which educate about the cause? Do these work? Are they worth the investment?
The multiple award winning iHobo app was revised earlier this year. It is still being downloaded at a very respectable rate of 1,500/week - which is giving us a pretty good exposure to a brand new audience. Like the original version, a little over 1% of downloaders make a donation, the average of which is £2, so if direct fundraising alone was the aim, it is questionable whether this would be the best device. It has unquestionably been massively successful in raising the profile of Depaul UK.
The big difference in the revised version from the original is in the proportion of people voluntarily giving us their email address - this has increased from 0.2% to an astonishing 16.6%. We now have a growing number of people with whom we can communicate and encourage to take the first steps on their donor journey - the lifetime value of those relationships is potentially very significant indeed.
Rob Dyson has already mentioned this but we think the BHF Healthy
Eating Recipe app is a really good example of how charities can make use
of apps, primarily proving that they don't have to incorporate every
element of your offering.
We do a lot of work with charities at Zabisco, and have found the main barrier to entry for charities wanting to move into mobile is knowing how best to take that first step and how to make their existing content work for a mobile audience. What the BHF's app does really well is to take a small part of their offering, using the wealth of recipe content they already had, and put it into a genuinely useful app that their audience can actually make use of. It takes out that 'what are we going to do' element by making use of some really good content that they already had.
There are plenty of other charity apps out there too, many of which are mentioned in this thread so I won't bore you with them again, but they should give plenty of inspiration for any charity looking to create an app.
That said, apps aren't the only way to go when moving into mobile. In fact, mobile websites can be a really good way of getting into mobile and they can actually be better for some charities depending on the audience or purpose.
And the creation of a mobile website is often the cheaper and simpler option, too. Traditionally based on the desktop version of a site, we would advise any charity to avoid simply stripping back and streamlining the content they have, but that content can be used as an excellent basis for a really good mobile experience.
You can see our How To on making use of mobile in charities. You can also see the Mobile Apps vs Mobile Websites infographic on our blog.
The bottom line on mobile is that it is here to stay. It's not a fad and it's not going to pass us by, so we all need to ensure we have the best possible mobile representation. BUT because mobile is here to stay, there's no rush! Take your time and do what's best for the charity.