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How To Create a Donation App: Benefits, Steps, Examples

If your nonprofit wants to remain competitive in today’s smartphone-driven world, your organization should consider investing in a mobile app. Developing your own fundraising app allows you to effectively communicate your objectives and purpose to your target audience, accelerating the fundraising process and enabling you to assist more people by collecting donations digitally. The app offers extensive functionality for receiving and managing donations, simplifying the process. The blog will shed light on why it’s essential for charitable organizations to create their own mobile apps and offer insights into effective app development, supported by diverse case studies.

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What Are the Benefits Of Charity Apps?

Charities today have access to a wide range of apps designed to facilitate various aspects of their operations. For example, there are apps that monitor fundraising initiatives, purchases, and even mentions on Twitter. For instance, in the UK, charities use a free Twitter monitoring service provided by PoliMonitor, a social media monitoring app created by a UK-based lobbying firm. This allows charities to receive alerts when mentioned by MPs or charity peers on Twitter.

This pertains to external applications that facilitate the integration of charities into contemporary society. However, there are numerous clear benefits to creating your own charity app.

  • Data Collection: Nonprofits must meticulously record donor information and stay in touch with them regarding events and updates. However, managing everything manually is time-consuming and labor-intensive. A digital mobile application automates this process, ensuring precise and error-free data.
  • Research and Visibility: Being featured on app stores such as Google Play and Apple Store increases the exposure of a nonprofit app, making it accessible to a wider audience. Potential users can also access reviews about the organization, aiding them in making informed decisions.
  • Fundraising and Donations: Nonprofit organizations depend on regular fundraising to sustain their operations. Rather than relying on third-party payment services, a nonprofit app provides a seamless and efficient payment system while overcoming the limitations often faced in traditional fundraising facilities. Furthermore, the app offers a secure platform for handling contributors’ data and accepting online donations.
  • Training and Capacity Building: Nonprofit mobile apps aid in managing social fundraising events by notifying members about upcoming events and their specific responsibilities. This fosters effective communication with the members and eliminates the need to hire external professionals, thus reducing administrative costs.
  • Educational Resources: Modern mobile apps can be utilized to provide coaching, training, and access to study materials, consequently promoting education and skill development among members.
  • Community Building: A nonprofit mobile app serves as a platform for fostering community engagement, allowing donors and members to participate in decision-making processes and share their suggestions. The app’s features enable easy communication and enhance member involvement in various events.
  • Promotion of Products and Services: Nonprofits can showcase and promote various products and services through their mobile apps to generate revenue for their social causes.
  • Attracting a Younger Audience: Utilizing mobile apps for charitable giving can attract a younger demographic, as evidenced by a survey indicating that 72% of 18 to 25 year-olds would donate to charity via a mobile app if given the option.

Check out how much does it cost to develop a mobile app? Cart-Power can create an online shopping app for iOS and Android. We are running a project from development to publication and technical support.

How Does a Donation App Work?

There are two primary operational models for a donation app.

  1. Firstly, it can represent a specific organization, such as a fundraiser, a private nonprofit entity, a government institution, or a church.
  2. Alternatively, it can function as an aggregator, permitting accredited organizations to raise funds or enabling individuals in need to collect money, for instance, for emergencies or to fulfill their aspirations.

Regardless of the app’s approach, the fundamental principle remains consistent: users can conveniently send any amount of money, even as little as $1, from their bank accounts or via payment systems such as Payoneer or PayPal. The paramount concern of any donation app lies in its security and dependability: users must have confidence that their transactions are secure and will reach the intended recipients.

Types of Donation Apps

Numerous methods exist for structuring a donation app. In the preceding section, we discussed that your app could be classified as either an aggregator or a specialized solution for a single organization. Here we will explore additional types of donation apps to provide clarity on your specific requirements.

Crowdfunding Apps

These are donation apps that enable users to launch campaigns and seek donations from their circles of friends or other contributors. Essentially, any user has the ability to create an appeal outlining their cause, the required funding amount, and can attach all relevant documentation.

It is the responsibility of other users to determine to whom they will donate and whether to place their trust in a specific fundraiser. Simultaneously, the platform must guarantee secure money transfers and thoroughly scrutinize all campaigns to prevent fraudulent activities. For instance, an app may require identity verification and financial documentation from the fundraiser.

Single-Cause Donation Apps

These apps concentrate on fundraising for a particular cause or charity. They are tailored to a single organization and typically feature supplementary resources related to the nonprofit entity, including comprehensive details about the organization, reports on past charity initiatives, and exclusive in-app content.

Selective Crowdfunding Donation Apps

These apps partner with reputable nonprofit organizations to provide them with an additional avenue for fundraising. With each institution being thoroughly vetted and endorsed by the app, users can donate with confidence, assured of the charity’s reliability and the transparency of the process.

These donation apps have the ability to bring together a variety of charities based on their location, primary cause, field of interest, size, and other factors. For instance, you could create an environmental charity app that brings together eco-initiatives from various countries or a platform that advocates for organizations striving for equal educational opportunities in a specific region.

Charity Fundraising Events App

This category of app enables users to sign up for charity gatherings, such as concerts or races. Organizations can post notifications for forthcoming charity events, categorized by location or online.

Any user can discover events aligning with their interests and participate in person or virtually. These apps offer additional features, including an integrated streaming player for hosting charity events directly within the app.

6 Steps To Create An Mobile App For Charity

1. Establish the Target Audience and Objectives of the App

Establish the Target Audience and Objectives of the App

The primary step in creating an app for your nonprofit organization is to clearly outline your app’s objectives and understand your target audience. It’s crucial to ensure that the app caters to both the organization’s needs and the requirements of the intended users. Consider the specific functionalities you envision for the app, such as donation processing, event registration, QR code check-ins, and volunteer sign-ups. Additionally, it’s important to identify the primary users of the app, whether they are donors looking to contribute funds, volunteers seeking involvement opportunities, or program beneficiaries in search of resources.

Understanding your audience is essential for designing an app that is intuitive and meets their individual needs. For example, if the objective is to promote safety and awareness through rich media content and informative materials, it is vital to develop features that align with this specific goal.

2. Determine Your Essential Features

Determine Your Essential Features

The next step in creating a donation mobile app involves defining a set of requirements that outline the necessary features for the application. These may include functionalities such as:

  • Accepting donations from users through various payment methods.
  • Managing user accounts.
  • Providing donation reports.
  • Displaying information about supported charities and projects.
  • Enabling digital receipts for tax purposes.
  • Ensuring secure storage of donated funds.

Read more about essential features of charity mobile app.

Identifying the essential features that align with your needs and cater to the most important functionalities of your app is critical. Start by creating a list of all the features you intend for your app, such as online donation processing, event registration, volunteer sign-up, or program resources. Determine which features are indispensable and which ones are optional, while also considering necessary integrations, such as social media, payment gateways, or email marketing platforms. Additionally, tracking and managing relationships with donors or volunteers is crucial, where the implementation of a nonprofit CRM software like Virtuous can be highly beneficial. Utilizing such a solution not only aids in managing donor and volunteer data but also enables customized fundraising and marketing strategies, leading to enhanced efficiency and more successful outcomes for your non-profit organization.

It’s essential to consider how the application will adhere to legal regulations related to donor data protection laws and encryption protocols. Once these details have been addressed through comprehensive research on applicable laws and regulations, you can proceed to the next phase, which involves the development of the UI/UX design of your application.

It’s important to keep in mind that the more features your app includes, the longer it may take to develop and the more expensive it can become. Therefore, prioritize the features that will assist your organization in achieving its goals and meeting the needs of its users. By placing the right features and functions at the forefront of your non-profit app’s priorities, you can create a distinct user experience that encourages volunteers and donors to actively participate in supporting your cause.

3. Select the App Development Platform

Select the App Development Platform

Once you have identified the required features and functionalities for your nonprofit app, the next step is to select a platform or framework for its development. There are various options available, such as native app development, hybrid app development, and web app development.

  • Native app development involves building apps specifically for iOS or Android platforms, offering superior performance but requiring a significant investment in time and resources.
  • Hybrid apps combine elements of native and web apps, enabling faster development times but may not provide as seamless a user experience as native apps.

In our work, we create and refine mobile applications using cross-platform (hybrid) development on the React Native framework.

Once you have identified the required features and functionalities for your nonprofit app, the next step is to select a platform or framework for its development. There are various options available, such as native app development, hybrid app development, and web app development. Native app development involves building apps specifically for iOS or Android platforms, offering superior performance but requiring a significant investment in time and resources. Hybrid apps combine elements of native and web apps, enabling faster development times but may not provide as seamless a user experience as native apps. In our work, we create and refine mobile applications using cross-platform (hybrid) development on the React Native framework.

React Native allows you to create secure applications with a native look, high performance, and fast loading.

When choosing the development approach, it’s important to consider the needs and budget of your organization to create the most effective non-profit application. Once the platform or framework is selected, the development team writes code based on the initial requirements determined in the earlier stages, effectively initiating the programming phase.

4. Create a User-Friendly Interface that is Intuitive and Reflects Your Brand

Create a User-Friendly Interface that is Intuitive and Reflects Your Brand

When developing an app for your non-profit organization, it’s crucial to ensure that the user interface (UI) is intuitive and easy to navigate. An intuitive UI enables users to effortlessly navigate the app, facilitating quick access to the desired features without confusion. Additionally, integrating your organization’s branding elements, such as color schemes or logos, can contribute to a cohesive and recognizable user experience.

Collaborating with an experienced UI/UX designer will streamline the entire process, ensuring that all your preferences are incorporated. Upon successful completion of this phase, and in adherence to all established criteria, you can proceed to the app’s code development.

5. Conduct Testing on Your App to Enhance Performance and Rectify Any Issues


After designing and developing your non-profit organization’s app, thorough testing is essential before its release to the public. All aspects of the app, including functionality, user experience, and compatibility across various devices, should be rigorously tested.

QA specialists utilize automated tools and manual testing to verify the app’s functionality and appearance, ensuring it meets the predetermined test plans outlined during the project’s early stages. Their role involves identifying and reporting any inconsistencies or bugs, equipping developers with specific guidance for necessary refinements before the bug-free version is released.

6. Prepare For the Release

Prepare For the Release

To prepare your mobile app for release on the App Store and Google Play Store, first, set up developer accounts for both platforms and ensure the app meets submission guidelines and requirements, including preparing app assets and information. Conduct thorough testing and quality assurance to address any bugs or issues, implement App Store Optimization (ASO) techniques, ensure privacy policy and legal compliance, and plan a marketing strategy for the release. Finally, follow the submission and review process for each platform, addressing any feedback or required changes for a successful release on both app stores.

A Good Examples Of Charity Apps

Direct Aid


Direct Aid is a non-profit organization in Kuwait that raises funds for social projects. For example, drilling a well in areas with a shortage of fresh water, building a university, raising funds for healthcare needs. All donations are accepted online through the website or mobile application.

We have been working with Direct Aid for 8 years now and we are regularly improving their website and mobile app. It feels great to be part of a project that makes the world a better place. Read about this case in detail. The client already had a mobile application, but it was not tied to CS-Cart and required some improvements. We have extended the CS-Cart API so that the service can interact with native IOS and Android applications so that people can donate via mobile devices.




One prominent example of a fundraising-supportive application is Team NSPCC, designed specifically to assist individuals participating in the London marathon. In addition to its tracking capabilities, the app emphasizes offering comprehensive support and guidance. Users have the opportunity to explore fundraising concepts for both online and offline platforms and connect with other runners to share valuable tips and knowledge.



A compelling example of this is the JustGiving app, which empowers users to enhance their fundraising efforts while being mobile. According to the charity, users are projected to raise an extra 6% in funds by sharing updates on their page. The app simplifies this procedure, offering a compelling reason for people to download and make use of it. Additionally, it allows users to connect with friends on social media, discover various charitable organizations, and make direct donations through the app.

Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator is the most widely used charity assessment tool in the United States. This application assists in making informed philanthropic decisions by rating almost 7,800 charities according to their financial stability, accountability, and transparency. Users can also access fundamental details about the remaining 1.4 million nonprofit organizations in the United States.

Charity Navigator

American Red Cross Blood Donor

American Red Cross Blood Donor

The American Red Cross Blood Donor App empowers individuals to save lives conveniently. Donating blood and platelets has become more accessible than ever before. Users can locate nearby Red Cross blood drives, book appointments, receive rewards from leading retailers, track the journey of their blood from donation to delivery, when feasible, and form or join a life-saving team while monitoring its impact on a national leaderboard.



Crowdfundr is an app that facilitates the process of raising funds for various projects, initiatives, or ventures by collecting small contributions from a large number of people, typically via the internet. These funds are often used to support creative ideas, entrepreneurial ventures, charitable causes, or business development. Crowdfundr app allow individuals or organizations to present their projects to a broad audience and invite interested parties to contribute funds in support of those projects.



Charitiez is an application that aims to raise funds for people in need, and provide various types of categories to donate with easily.

Enhancing your nonprofit’s brand visibility and credibility, a mobile app can establish an interconnected community of engaged users. Empowering your current members and donors to interact with your organization through a mobile web app can enhance their overall experience. The mobile app also aids in acquiring new supporters and mobilizing existing ones, simplifying campaign promotion and data collection from users in a more efficient and cost-effective manner.

If you are considering creating a mobile app for your nonprofit organization, Cart-Power can bring your idea to life. Our professional team of mobile app developers can assist in transforming your concept into a robust and adaptable solution. We specialize in developing mobile apps for iOS and Android.

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Ksenia Cheburova , Cart-Power Editor
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