I love what she does.
However with this post, I have a problem.
Not with the post itself, per se, but the idea that iPhone Apps for nonprofits are a valuable use of resources.
I own an iPod, and an iPad. I can tell you, desktop is prime territory and my GB’s like gold. I only download apps that I know I will use frequently and will rely on for regular (read daily) access. And yes, maybe a few fun ones too, that I go to in my downtime periodically.
I don’t think I am that much different from other iTech users.
And so, the thought of downloading an app from a nonprofit doesn’t fit with how I dole out my space and memory. I just wouldn’t find the function of clicking the app for updates that appealing. Even the ones listed in Heather’s blog above, while they have the sex appeal, are not pragmatically useful- how many times will I need to know what the bird in front of me sounds like? Or have an overwhelming urge to find out where in this very moment are animals being abused? Cool to access once, twice, maybe three times, but not GB worthy. I could simply bookmark these sites in Safari and get the same result, maybe more, since apps tend to have a more limited function than a full site.
I guess I could see if I were a board member or staff member of a not for profit organization, I might consider an app a cool tool and something desirable in a way. But really, for the NPO, why spend thousands on developing an app for a handful to access. Even a couple hundred, if you are a national or international NPO, doesn’t seem like a good use of resources.
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. My recommendation: Spend your money making your website mobile optimized.
I’ve been following the nonprofit sector and their discovery of technology for quite a while. I’ve also lived the experience for over 20 years, from networked databases, to a ‘flashy’ (no pun intended) new website, to internet access for staff- all the various areas of fumbling, bumbling and discovery along the way. In full disclosure, I am also a partner in a tech start up – Donorfull– for the nonprofit sector. I believe Nonprofit Apps are one of those “sounded.like.a.good.idea,.cause.everyone.is.doing.it,aren’t.we.hip,but.it.really.is.limited” kind of moments. Unless someone can come up with an exciting and convincing argument for me as to what possible benefit, goal or stimulating outcome could come of it, I’ll continue to direct and discourage my clients from wandering into this forest.
We’ll all be less ‘appy’ but ‘appy-er’ for it.