Oxfam International and the world's largest cellphone manufacturer, (still) Nokia, have developed an app that allows users to respond to charity requests directly from their phones. While Oxfam Donate is only the latest in a long line of mobile apps for social good, this one could be especially useful in times of instant natural disasters—and the fundraising updates are visible in realtime.
It's not exactly clear yet what the buzzword "realtime" implies for the scope of mobile donations in this case, but so far the words "progress reports" and "fundraising levels" have been uttered.
We do know that there will be a choice of five Oxfam programs to donate to from the phones—emergency work in Pakistan, an children's education project in rural Tanzania, a climate-change-focused initiative in Haiti, an HIV program in South Africa, and another HIV program in Thailand.
By making mobile payments easier, donations may actually increase. Could this be the answer to a desperate reliance on overly-hands-on, resources-draining fundraising campaigns?
"The beauty of the Oxfam Donate app is not only the speed with which the public will be able to donate when a disaster strikes, but that users can learn more about the programmes they are supporting and see the difference their money is making in real time," said Oxfam fundraising director, Carrie Ferrier, in a press release.
If mobile donation apps like this one catch on, the mobile donations market may become just as crowded and over-saturated with NGOS as traditional events-based and direct marketing-based fundraising. So props to Oxfam for making the leap relatively early.
[Image by Jane Beesley]