Aussie Charities Get App Savvy
22 December 2011 at 11:09 am
Despite a controversial Apple ban on making charitable donations via Apps on the iPhone and iPad, Australian Not for Profit organisations are developing apps to educate and raise awareness, engage people with social causes and even deliver services.
In December 2010, Apple announced it would ban charitable donations via iPhone applications (or ‘Apps’), which resulted in outrage from the Not for Profit sector.
A petition calling on Apple to overturn its decision has so far gathered more than 41,000 signatures, but after a 12 months campaign Apple has not budged from its original position.
Apple does not allow donations to be made through applications on the iPhone or iPad, instead directing users to an organisation's website to make a direct donation.
One of Apple’s major objections is been that if donations were to go through its payment mechanism, it would have to be in the business of managing and distributing funds and verifying charities as well. Apple takes a 30 percent cut of purchases made from the Apple Store – including Apps by NFPs – however it would not be able to do this from 'in-App' donations.
This is a significant fundraising barrier, however it doesn’t mean Apps can’t play an important role in educating and raising awareness, engaging people with social causes and even delivering services, as many Apps from Australian Not for Profits are showing.
So how are Australian NFPs using Apps?
Last month, Pro Bono Australia News reported that a brain health app designed by an Australian Not for Profit organisation became the number one app in the nation, racking up 41,000 downloads in just 48 hours.
BrainyApp – the world’s first dementia risk reduction app – was designed by dementia support charity Alzheimer’s Australia and the Bupa Health Foundation.
|Above: Screenshots from the St John's Ambulance First Aid App.|
St John’s Ambulance have a First Aid App, which presents users with clear, easy to follow First Aid information with a clear image for each step. The App includes information on what to do when someone experiences allergic reaction, asthma attack, bites and stings, chest pain, shock and choking and many others.
The App showed it value when comedian Jason Pestell came across an unconscious man on a street in the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood.
When he realised the man wasn’t breathing, Pestell – who had previously completed a first aid course with St John’s – used the First Aid App on his phone to ensure he was going through the right steps.
“I had done the training, but I just wanted to make sure I was doing it right,” said Pestell
Jason managed to clear the man’s airway and get him breathing before the ambulance arrived and paramedics took over.
“That was the first ever time I’ve given first aid, the first ever time I have called triple-o”.
Australian organisation Life’s Little Treasures Foundation has developed an App for families of premature and sick babies.
The ‘Premature Baby Journal’ App is designed to record information so that users can track their baby’s progress through hospital and beyond.
The app contains many features making it easy to track a baby’s feeds, expressing times, weight gain as well as keeping a journal for all the milestones the baby achieves.
Parool Shah, founding director of Life’s Little Treasures Foundation, says the app “was designed to help parents have an element of control over a very stressful time in their life”.
“The Life’s Little Treasures Foundation believes that information, education and resources are key to empowering families and helping achieve the best outcome for premature babies,” said Shah.
“The feedback that we have had from families who have started using the Application has been incredibly positive and really shows that the Application is a much needed and welcome resource in the community.”
Here are some examples of Apps produced by Australian Not for Profit organisations
- St John’s Ambulance – First Aid App – Presents step-by-step emergency First Aid information to the user with a large clear image for each step. Topics include allergic reaction, asthma attack, bites and stings, chest pain. Shock and choking.
Above: Save the Children's Earthquake Response App
Save the Children’s Earthquake Response App – a disaster response game aimed at raising awareness of humanitarian disasters. The game emulates real world disasters – players identify needs, set up facilities, manage the logistics of the materials coming in, and allocate resources to best meet the needs, giving them a taste of the complexity of managing relief efforts.
- World Vision – 40 Hour Famine App – The app lets users connect with their online fundraising page, send messages through Facebook, email and Twitter, provides stories and videos about the people that the campaign aims to help, tips for fundraisers – and it includes a donation form, so people can sign people up to make a donation. (Free Download)
- Amnesty International – AiCandle – The AiCandle enables people to access breaking news on human rights and to support Amnesty International's latest campaigns– from prisoners of conscience to ending poverty. Supporters are able to share news and actions with others via Facebook and email through the AiCandle (Free Download)
- Make Poverty History – an iPhone App that allows people to show their support for the MPH cause by installing a white band wallpaper (the symbol of the international MPH campaign) on their device. App costs $0.99.
- Snooze App –The Snooze App, created by ‘open giving platform’ organisation LetGive – donates US$0.25 to a charity of the users choice in exchange for hitting the snooze button when the phone’s alarm goes off.
- City Harvest – Also created by LetGive, this app is a restaurant guide and booking portal with a difference – it shows restaurants that give excess food to hunger relief programs.
- Charity Navigator – an independent US charity evaluator – says it hopes to launch an App to allow users to check out charities from their phone, making it easy for people to research a charity before making a donation.
Does your Not for Profit have an App? We want to hear about it. Let us know in the comments section below………