Top 5 Donation Apps – ShareTheMeal, Charity Miles and More

Today, you can find an app for nearly everything, including fundraising. With smartphones reaching near-ubiquity in most parts of the world, charities, nonprofits, and non-governmental organisations are pushing their money-raising campaigns to mobile devices through fundraising apps, responsive website designs, and text-to-give programs.

Besides making it more convenient for donors to support their favourite charities and social initiatives, many apps in this space are also free to download, which is a major “selling point”. Another selling point for many fundraising apps, especially the complex ones, is that they make content accessible without requiring you to have an active data connection – an option that is not available with websites.

However, there are some challenges to reaching donors through apps, especially those built on the iOS platform. For starters, many apps redirect the donor to a third party (outside the app) like PayPal or Google Checkout to make the donation, which is likely to alienate many potential mobile donors. For seconds, Apple takes a 30 percent share of any amount/payment made via its iOS mobile platform. So, even if the nonprofits were allowed to accept donations directly, the fees would prove to be insupportable.

That said, there are many fundraising apps that continue to simplify the deed of giving and make the process more convenient for occasional donors on the go, including:

1. ShareTheMeal by the United Nations

This app is available in about 9 languages, including English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Korean, and Japanese. This iOS app gives you a direct channel to fund UN efforts in supporting children in need, on the go, with just a tap on your phone. It costs you US $0.50 to feed one hungry child a day, plus you can track where the meals are distributed and the impact.

The app is an extension of the ShareTheMeal non-profit initiative run by the World Food Programme (WFP) – the world’s largest humanitarian agency combating hunger globally and providing food aid to an estimated 80 million people each year. The UN WFP is 100 percent voluntarily funded, so every contribution counts.



2. Charity Miles

Charity Miles
This is an innovative way to raise funds for charities while motivating you to reach your fitness goals. For every mile you run, walk, or cycle, an amount is donated to a charity of your choosing by the current app’s corporate sponsors. It’s like you are getting rewarded for your athletic feats and donating it directly to charity.

The donation may seem like a rather small amount – 10 cents/mile for bikers and 25 cents/mile for runners and walkers – but seeing other people participate and the amount increase will make you feel good and encourage you to keep up with your fitness regimen.



3. Donate a Photo by Johnson & Johnson

Donate a Photo by Johnson
This is a “free donation app” implying that you don’t have to send actual money to a charity. Instead, the app asks that you donate one photograph a day, which you can do occasionally or as frequently as every day. Each photo is matched by a donation of US $1 – so you can actually donate $365 a year.

The causes that you can choose to support are updated on a regular basis, plus you can track the good that your photo money is doing.



4. Make a Stand App

This app was inspired by a 10-year old entrepreneur, Vivienne, who started selling lemonade to raise money to join the fight against child slavery. Now, her “Make a Stand” lemonade has evolved into a mobile app to reach a global audience. The app is free to download, and allows people to crowdfund for social campaigns.

The app divides users into two interchangeable categories: standers, who can create a campaign for any social cause; and givers, who fund those campaigns. The app contains many campaigns in different categories including environment, education and literacy, and even animal welfare.


5. Give 2 Charity

Give 2 Charity
This app is based on an innovative idea that turns your time into money. Actually, it calculates the time you spend carrying or using your phone every day and converts it into charitable donations. The app has different time limits that translate to points, and the points to money. So, 1500 points are awarded $2, while 3000 points earn $5, all of which is donated to a charity of your choice – you pick one from a list of participating charities.

However, the app requires you to activate your GPS so it can track your location whenever you’re carrying or using your phone. This data is then used in surveys, and is protected.


Final Note

There are many other apps for specific charities and nonprofits that you can use to send your donation directly without earning points or jogging. You just need to find out whether your favourite charity has one, and start giving on the go.

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