Apple makes it really difficult for nonprofits to collect donations from within iPhone apps (read Jake Shapiro’s Editorial or this post about why Apple pulled PayPal’s app). Here’s more about why it is important. As the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported last Friday, Apple’s policy has raised the ire of some nonprofits leaders and there is a online petition with almost 2,000 signatures collected so far sending Mr. Jobs at Apple a message.
Apple needs to feel more pressure from nonprofits, charities, and public media on this topic. They don’t feel our anger right now. Here’s my blog post over at the Guardian and have urged those who work in the nonprofit or who care about social change work to sign this online petition.
Some folks wonder why this a such a big deal when you can, after all, have donors who use iPhones go out to the web and make a donation through the web site using Safari or find creative workarounds. Workarounds put nonprofits at a disadvantage. This forces all charitable apps to introduce a level of barriers to impulse giving, and also removes one of Apple’s most powerful tools – the 1-click purchase and in-app transaction system.
The barriers? Donors have to click at least several times before they reach the donation form. Then they have enter their credit card, plus confirm the donation details and submit their donation. If you believe that mobile giving today is largely about responding to impulse appeals, that many steps will get in the way of this type of giving. That means nonprofits miss out on capturing new donors to the causes.
Apple does not “want to be held responsible for ensuring that the charitable funds make it to the final destination,” but there are technical and logistical solutions to this dilemma. Other companies are using them and not sure why Apple is different.
Are they a bad Apple in the corporate philanthropy bushel? Is their commitment to charity so small that you can’t even see it? David Connor, an influential blogger who writes about corporate social responsibility, left this comment on my blog:
Apple is all about style over ethical substance, both socially and environmentally (with albeit green improvements of late). Their draconian control over their architecture and branding is only surpassed by their arrogance across the Corporate Responsibility agenda. It is almost criminally saddening and frustrating that Apple wilfully avoid the potential for such a powerful brand to improve people’s lives and our planet. Imagine what could be achieved if Steve Jobs ‘donated’ one of his famous presentations or their design or marketing team to a good cause – similar to Pepsi ditching their Superbowl ad spend for their Refresh campaign.
And, maybe, if they won’t reverse their policy right away, perhaps they’ll explore a solution with nonprofit industry leaders like Networked for Good, GuideStar, and others. And, if all else fails, I’m simply going to ditch my iPhone for an Android! Maybe many others will too ..