December 26, 2012

Charities Use Mobile Apps to Attract Year-End Donors

A growing number of charities are seeking  year-end gifts by reaching out to donors with mobile apps.

While few nonprofits expect to raise much through the apps, they hope the tools will serve them well in the future by appealing to younger, smartphone-savvy donors.

Here's how three nonprofits are using apps:

Hunger Relief International struck a partnership with GetCharitable to raise money though an Android app. After people download the app, an image pops up daily on the background wallpaper of  their phones. Advertisers donate to the charity based on how many people have the app running on their phones. Hunger Relief International receives 10 cents each day from everyone who has the app running.

Since the launch a few weeks ago, more than 100 people have downloaded the app. Its goal is to attract 1,000 people by the end of January, and as more people sign up, GetCharitable plans to increase the share of advertiser proceeds given to the charity by 20 cents per day per user by the end of 2013.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital asked corporate supporters of its annual holiday appeal to include a donation pitch on the apps they offer consumers. Domino’s Pizza and GNC are urging customers to donate to St. Jude by adding $1 or $5 to their purchases. St. Jude estimates that 5 percent of Domino's Pizza's donation this year will come from the mobile app.

Environmental Media Association and Carter's Kids are benefiting from a new app created by the company Fun Is the Answer. Called “Sweater-ize for a Cause,” the app makes it easy for people to upload pictures of their friends or themselves and manipulate the images so they appear to wear ugly holiday sweaters.

Anybody can donate to the two nonprofits by using the app, which takes them through the Razoo fundraising platform. The charities enlisted celebrities to promote the app, including the singer Lance Bass, the actress Amy Smart, and Carter Oosterhouse, an HGTV host. Fundraising goal altogether: $100,000.

Does your charity have a creative fundraising campaign going on this season? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Send an e-mail to Raymund Flandez.