Please Ask Apple to Allow Donations

Rekha posted on Friday, December 3rd, 2010 | PRX in the News, PRX Projects

***Update 12/14: Well over 6000 signatures and counting. Is yours on there?***

***Update 12/9: In yesterday’s New York Times, PRX CEO Jake Shapiro gets interviewed on this issue: Donations Ban on iPhone Apps Irritates Nonprofits. Petition signatures are nearing 2000 – add yours!***

With the holidays and the year’s end upon us, many of us think about donating to charity. Many of us have iPhones, and iTunes accounts that already have our credit card info. Since we also like things to be easy, it seems obvious we should be able to give money to deserving nonprofits through our iPhones.

But Apple prohibits this. Nonprofits can’t ask for donations in their apps, and any purchase transaction through iTunes gives Apple a 30% cut. In June, Jake Shapiro, our CEO, called on Apple to change this no-donation policy.

PRX’s Public Radio Player iPhone app is a great example of what such a change could mean. The app has had over 2 million unique downloads. Nearly 500 noncommercial stations across the U.S. have a page in the app. Imagine if each page had a Donate button that, with two or three taps, let you send money to the station.

Many of you have asked us how to donate to your favorite Player stations. Now there’s a petition so you can ask Apple to change its no-donations policy.

For a brief time, PayPal found a way around this rule, and made nonprofit donations possible through its PayPal Mobile for iPhone app. Soon after, Apple asked PayPal to remove the donation feature, which they did. In “Why Does Apple Make Donation Apps So Hard?” Gizmodo provides a good review of the situation.

Beth Kanter posted about this on her blog about nonprofits and technology. We’re glad she’s on the case. Especially if she’s going to keep making these wacky graphics!

Lets Send Steve Jobs A Message About iphone app Donations
Flickr: cambodia4kidsorg

Apple vs. PC
Flickr: cambodia4kidsorg

2 Comments to Please Ask Apple to Allow Donations

Steven Carlson
December 6, 2010

We at InstantEncore support PRX and public radio stations in their call for Apple to allow donations. In our efforts to supply apps to symphony orchestras, opera companies, and classical music presenters in the US and abroad, we know that donations via the iPhone are of great interest. We also are calling on Apple to change this policy.

[...] Apple, Don’t Be a Scrooge! PRX makes iPhone and iPad apps for public media. Apple doesn’t allow in-app donations. Ask them to change. [...]

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