If we want to change Apple’s iPhone Donation Policy …. | Beth’s Blog

If we want to change Apple’s iPhone Donation Policy ….

CSR, Mobile

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 ..

7 Responses

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by nptechblogs, bethkanter, Brenda Bethman, Chuck Horton, Paul's Feeds and others. Paul's Feeds said: If we want to change Apple’s iPhone Donation Policy …. http://goo.gl/fb/jIHvo [...]

  2. gordon says:

    Just a note to say that you’re so right on target about nonprofit donations on the iphone, Beth. And further, that this whole thing has made me see Apple in a different light.

    I love me some Apple products. Dropped more than $120 bucks there on a new battery for the boss today, in fact.

    But now that you raise this issue about the iphone donation–I went to look and as you reference in your post, there is no Apple donation program.

    My agency subsists on free Google apps for email, collaboration, calendar, cloud storage, and more. We pay really very little to maintain our drupal/civispace database (developed by Progressive Technology Project).

    Our Microsfot Office software is donated via TechSoup. Even Adobe throws us a crumb now and then, although we do not technically meet their guideline for groups they wish to support with their main product donation program.

    Apple gives us … nada. And you know what? Until I read about the iphone donation thang I never even thought about it.

    I would hope that they could at least come our way as far as iphone donations, which technically looks doable as you point out. and hey, maybe an iwork discount through techsoup or something?

  3. Beth says:

    Hi Gordon:

    There needs to be some movement or discussion or willingness to assist nonprofits from Apple’s side – or else things won’t change.

    We shall see … otherwise I’m going Android shopping today

  4. [...] 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. via bethkanter.org [...]

  5. Anon says:

    “there are technical and logistical solutions to this dilemma. Other companies are using them and not sure why Apple is different.”

    “Think Different”
    “Small (or nonexistent) is Beautiful”
    “You can’t be too thin…”
    “Less is more”
    There’s An App For Everything” (apparently not)

    -Quotes of apple ad slogans that seem apt here!

  6. Actions or just words? says:

    No movement from Apple on this, so I ditched my iphone and went android. Oh, and 4G was also a factor, so I’m not being completely altruistic. =)