In an increasingly competitive environment, where more messages are being broadcast from more causes worthy of support to an audience of seemingly decreasing means (blame the economy/government!) it can be a significant challenge to be heard and to motivate action. This article explores whether app technology can play a significant part in your charity’s digital engagement strategy.

The possibilities

There are many areas where an app can enhance the efforts of a charity and be a further means for connecting with and motivating action of members, users and donors alike. These could include:

  • Donate: apps can provide a simple and quick method of collecting donations. Whether it be off the back of a campaign you push out through the app or with an app that has the sole purpose of delivering donations, be it monetary or other. For example; ‘Coin up’ whereby you round any spend up to the nearest pound and the change is given to charity or ‘SharetheMeal’ app created by the World Food Programme whereby donations are turned into meals for children.
  • Encourage participation: An app can enable participation in fundraising events by prompting reminders and facilitating registrations. It can also motivate action to take part with functionality like push notifications, event areas, calendar syncing and even in-app facilitation tools (e.g. a walking challenge – an app could automatically log steps/miles covered etc.). They indulge and engage when and where they want.
  • Coordinate volunteers: Used as a communication and connection tool, an app can make it easy to; share volunteer calendars, promote gaps in the schedule to motivate volunteers to fill the hole and enables communication and branch network chat to empower the volunteers.
  • Collect sponsorship: An app can provide tools that makes it easy to log, collect, pay in and collect gift aid from sponsorship efforts.
  • Gather support: Whether you are recruiting volunteers or lobbying government for change, an app can provide technology that makes this process easier with functionality allowing for document and photo uploads for items such as CRB checks, insurance documents etc. or using bio-metric functionality to allow individuals to sign petitions and voice their support.
  • Achieve your aim: A charities goal of supporting individuals or groups of people can be enabled by an app, facilitating support through quick and easy access to content and advice both on and offline. It can also have this as its sole purpose, e.g. assisting people living with a condition by supporting a particular lifestyle (be it exercise programmes, diets to follow etc.). This information could be provided in app alongside the ability for users to log/track their own behaviour.

It’s clear from just the few possibilities that we’ve explored, that there are many ways in which apps can add value and enhance charities connection with their audience to raise further support and funds. With Ofcom* reporting that 78% of mobile users in the UK own a smartphone, and that figure rising 95% among 16-24 year olds, a mobile app is absolutely worthy of consideration by any charity as long as it has a unique and valuable purpose.

*Ofcom 2018: A decade of digital dependency