Solving the Mobile Giving Puzzle
Also note that developing apps is getting ever easier with development frameworks such as PhoneGap.com and Rhomobile.com, as well as publishing tools like MobileCause's App2Give or AppMakr.com.
A close corollary to the method of app sales is to transact sales from within your mobile phone application. For-profits often use in-app transactions to sell digital goods, such as a new barn for your virtual farm acres or a shiny new sword for your favorite pirate game. Services like UrbanAirship.com make cakewalk out of setting up in-app purchases (assuming you already have an app).
This category is frothy and highly intriguing. Over the past year, a series of for-profit/nonprofit partnerships have developed apps that promote businesses in exchange for donations. CauseWorld leads the pack with its tight design and plethora of relationships.
The concept is simple: You walk into a participating business (or locate a product from a participating sponsor), earn personal rewards and a nonprofit receives a donation (from the sponsor). If you're one of these sponsored nonprofits, apps like CauseWorld can bring you the benefits of mobile fundraising with very little effort.
Other apps in this category are Bliss (for BlackBerry), Phospho and Pet Earth (both for iPhone).
What's smart about many of these apps is that they combine a low barrier to entry (just walk in a store) with personal rewards and prizes. Even better, nonprofits don't need to know much about mobile phone technology to take advantage of this revenue stream.
There you have it: seven ways to use mobile phones to rake in cash for your nonprofit.
I'll be the first to admit that that descriptor might suffer from hyperbole. None of these methods is as easy as yard work. They all require a concerted effort, smart folks and some financial investment. Moreover, it's advisable to consider each of these opportunities in the context of your broader strategic plan.