My top five charity apps this year

Back in 2014 I rounded up the best smartphone and tablet apps launched by the third sector. Two years on, it’s time for an update. With over a third of the world’s population predicted to own a smartphone by 2017, more charities are realising the value of apps in business development.

But how can apps specifically help the third sector?

Charity apps give people the freedom to donate if and when they choose. They offer an alternative to canvassing on the street, which often deters people from donating.

Apps can also save costs with online fundraising at an all-time high. They are one of the easiest ways to reach as many people as possible without face-to-face confrontation.

Yet crucially, apps can be useful in generating awareness of a cause. They can be a source of contact between charities and clients, helping to provide useful information and advice to those in need.

Here’s my pick of the best charity apps this year:

1.  Charity Collect – Save the Children UK

The Charity Collect app makes it easy to donate books, CDs, DVDs and games to charity. Users are encouraged to scour bookshelves, attics and car boot sales for valuable items, which can then be donated to Save the Children. The user simply scans the barcodes of their unwanted products and instantly receives a valuation. There is an option to add GiftAid before printing out free shipping labels. The donations can then be dropped off at over 5,000 collection points in the UK. For every £1 of the stated value, 80p will be donated to Save the Children. Charity Collect makes donating to charity a simple and enjoyable process.

2.  iBreast Check – Breast Cancer Now

One in eight women in the UK are predicted to get breast cancer in their lifetime. Breast Cancer Now is the UK’s largest breast cancer charity, and this app helps women be breast aware and track the early signs of cancer. It includes a breast check video and the ability to set your own breast check reminders, as well as information about how to support Breast Cancer Now.

3.  ShareTheMeal – United Nations

ShareTheMeal is a non-profit initiative set up by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger and provides food assistance to 80 million people each year. 795 million people worldwide do not have enough food to lead a healthy and active life. ShareTheMeal makes it possible to help children in need with just a tap on your phone, costing just US$0.50 to feed one child for a day. Whether having dinner with friends or lunch on the go, users can “share the meal” by simply tapping their phone. The app shows where the meals are distributed and what the impact is. Drawing on the idea of crowd funding, smartphone users can help make a difference to world hunger through this app.

4.  Movember Mobile – Movember

Movember is a global moustache-growing charity event held during November each year to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, men’s mental health and physical inactivity. The Movember mobile app makes it easy for participants to manage their Movember journey while on the move. The Mo Space fundraising page can be personalised with photos, fundraising targets and Movember motivation. The app allows users to upload daily photos of their moustache using the Mo Tracker and to create a movie of their growth to share on social media

5. Meningitis Signs and Symptoms – Meningitis Now (Meningitis UK and Meningitis Trust)

Meningitis Now is the new name for Meningitis UK and Meningitis Trust. It aims to save lives and rebuild futures by funding research, raising awareness and providing support. The life-saving Meningitis Now app includes the common signs and symptoms of meningitis, what to do if you suspect meningitis, a quiz and information on how to get support. Meningitis can strike quickly and without warning, so urgent medical attention is essential. This app has been designed to keep the signs and symptoms of this deadly disease at your fingertips.

So those are my top five charity apps this year. I’m sure many more noteworthy apps will start to emerge over the next few years as the importance of apps in the third sector becomes ever more apparent.

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