Charities miss out on donations because of Apple's app ban, new report says

The technology giant bans the use of apps that allow direct donations to charities

Apple doesn't allow apps that donate to charities directly
Apple doesn't allow apps that donate to charities directly

Apple’s ban on apps that allow direct donations to charity is causing charities to miss out on donations, a report warns.

More Than Shaking An Online Tin, published by the Big Society Network, says charities are missing out on donations through apps because of the "much-maligned policy".

"When considering the potential of giving powered by apps, the Apple App Store’s policy was highlighted repeatedly as a barrier to significant uptake," says the report, which was produced by Spring Giving, a Big Society Network initiative that explores the use of technology.

Andy Hamflett, programme director for Spring Giving and one of the report’s authors, said a number of charities had contacted Apple directly to raise the issue but had not received positive responses.

The technology giant’s App Store is the best way of publicising any app and charities were being excluded from the "best link to donors", he said.

Nick Aldridge, chief executive of MissionFish UK, the charitable arm of the auction website eBay, contributed to the report.

His organisation fell foul of Apple’s policy after it worked with PayPal, the online payment system, to add a donations function to its app, which was later removed at Apple’s insistence.

"Apple blocks and bans any donations to charity made through the app payment system, and makes it impossible to build in a way of donating," said Aldridge.

It allows users to donate via text or by opening an internet browser, but Aldridge pointed out this was clunky and made it impossible to give "without a bad user experience".

The charity sector had been debating what to do about the issue and whether to do more to lobby Apple, Aldridge said.

Pressure has been put on Apple before and nothing has changed. Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, met Apple representatives last year to discuss in-app donations, and more than 41,000 people signed an online petition calling on Apple to change its position.

But Aldridge said he did not see Apple changing its policy any time soon.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

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