The inconvenient truth about mobile giving

By Jenny Lei Ravelo 01 March 2016

If people are truly living through their smartphones — using them for fitness, entertainment and work – then what could be preventing them from using the same device to give to charities? Photo by: Phil Campbell / CC BY

Mobile technology has opened up opportunities in the nonprofit sector, from data collection to busting the global problem of human trafficking.

But as with any technological innovations, caveats apply. And this extends to the use of mobile phones for charity fundraising. Numerous apps provide organizations opportunities to raise money, but they don’t appear to be translating to significant funds for nonprofits.

Take, for example, this statistic from Blackbaud, a tech solutions provider for the nonprofit sector: Of the $14.5 billion raised by 3,983 charities in the United States in 2015, only 7.1 percent came from online giving — and only 14 percent of that was made through mobile, according to the company’s latest charitable giving report.

If people are truly living through their smartphones — using them for fitness, entertainment and work — then what could be preventing them from using the same device to give to charities?

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About the author

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Jenny Lei Ravelo@JennyLeiRavelo

Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex senior reporter based in Manila. Since 2011, she has covered a wide range of development and humanitarian aid issues, from leadership and policy changes at DfID to the logistical and security impediments faced by international and local aid responders in disaster-prone and conflict-affected countries in Africa and Asia. Her interests include global health and the analysis of aid challenges and trends in sub-Saharan Africa.


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