April 2, 2013

Mobile apps to get stuff done on the go


Smarten up your smartphone with Voxer, EDict & more

Carla SchlemmingerWant to learn about new mobile apps that got our attention? Sign up for our email newsletter. Twice a month we feature an app that has been personally tested and meets the bar of smart: The app streamlines a task, intelligently delivers information to you or surfaces new insights or it simply helps you create better content faster. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.

Now, have a look below. Have you used any of these apps on your iPhone or Android? Have a different favorite instead? Please share! Continue reading

March 26, 2013

Get your organization on board with mobile

Photo by Johan Larsson (Creative Commons)

A Mobile 101 with tips on integrating mobile technology into your nonprofit or library

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, librarians, mobile operators, educators, journalists, general public.

Guest post by Kevin Lo
TechSoup Global

kevinloWith an expanding range of new devices available, the landscape of mobile computing can be confusing. Smartphones now offer us new, powerful ways to connect with and engage with our communities.

Here’s a look at the new breed of smartphones and what to consider when using them at your nonprofit or library. Continue reading

February 8, 2012

What Facebook Timeline apps are really all about

Image by Milica Sekulic

The focus is on small actions that are perfect for thumb-friendly mobile devices

Target audience: Nonprofits, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, cause organizations, brands, businesses, mobile app developers, Web publishers, educators, journalists, general public.

John HaydonLast month Facebook announced the release of more than 60 new Timeline apps that allow Facebook users to automatically share application actions on their Timeline. You may have first became aware of Timeline apps when all your friends were telling you what songs they were listening to on Spotify.

How do Timeline apps work?

Once you authorize an app, which only needs to be done once, a live connection is established with your Timeline. This means that as soon as you take an action with an app, like finishing a run with the RunKeeper app, the app automatically posts that action on your Timeline, as shown below.

What is frictionless sharing?

Frictionless sharing is Facebook’s new model for more digestible social sharing, both psychologically and technologically. In other words, Facebook has redefined sharing.

There are two components to frictionless sharing:

  1. Gestures that make sense – Facebook is now allowing app developers to use gestures other than “like” for news feed stories. In the example above, it says that I just “completed” a run with RunKeeper. (By the way, I can run further than .27 miles.) “Completed” works better because although I definitely completed the run, I may have not “liked” it.
  2. Permission hurdles removed – Timeline apps ask permission only once to access and share a user’s data. As shown below in the RunKeeper app, it’s easier for me to understand what the app needs to work. The app authorization also lists activities that will appear and allows me to choose who can see my activities.

Continue reading

December 5, 2011

Building mobile applications for social good

kiwanjaIf you were thinking of designing or building a website, you’d be in luck. If you were thinking of writing a suite of financial management tools, you’d be in luck. If you were even thinking of creating the next big video game, you’d be in luck. Visit any good bookstore and the selection of self-help books and “how-to” guides leave you spoiled for choice.

Unlike the plethora of self-help guides on the more established topics, if you were looking to do something with mobile phones, you’d likely have mixed results. There are plenty of books available extolling the virtues of Java, Python, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, C++, Symbian, Android and just about any other development environment or platform out there. Combine that with the growing field of mobile UI (user interface) design and you’d think that pretty much everything was covered. But there is one thing missing, although you’d probably only notice if you’re one of a growing number of developers turning their attention to the developing world.

I’m talking about a guide on “Building Mobile Applications for Social Good.” Although just a start, this article – written for The Testing Planet – in part aims to fill that gap. At conferences and seminars I often talk about our experiences developing FrontlineSMS, and the thinking and field work behind it, but until now much of this wasn’t particularly well captured in written form in a single place. Continue reading

September 20, 2011

Mobile: The next frontier of nonprofit fundraising


Tie your mobile efforts to your email & social media outreach

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, NGOs, mobile advocacy groups, fundraising professionals, social media managers.

This is Part 7 of our series on social fundraising. See below for other articles in this series.

Guest post by Bob Jones
CEO, CharityCall

bob_jonesThere is little argument that email and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are fast becoming mandatory tools for supporter outreach. These communication channels provide nonprofit organizations with an immediate and effective way to solicit, cultivate and engage donor support.

From a pure fundraising standpoint, email and social media channels are only effective when the recipient is able to respond immediately to a call to action. At best, your call to action message is going to be read once, so if that message is compelling enough to cause the recipients to donate, then they must be able to do so immediately.

If your message is compelling enough to cause the recipients to donate, then they must be able to do so immediately.

Today, when your targeted recipient reads your online call to action from their PC, the “donate” link to your website’s donation portal allows them to respond immediately with a gift. So the process of reaching out via email and social media to gain donations is fruitful – as long as the recipient is using a PC.

What happens if your target recipients are reading email and social media updates from their smartphone? Unfortunately, this is where your call to action for donations can hit a dead end, because the “donate” page linked from your current email or social media message may be inconvenient and nearly impossible to navigate and use from a mobile device. Expecting a smartphone user to enter full name, address and credit card number can be a non-starter.

So what can you do? Continue reading

May 25, 2011

Apps for Change: Top mobile ideas from around the world


JD LasicaOver the past few weeks, Nokia held the first Apps for Change contest, inviting people from around the world to suggest a mobile application to benefit society — which Nokia has agreed to develop. The winners also get to steer a $10,000 contribution to a nonprofit organization.

Some 302 submissions were fielded from people in 53 countries. I was one of the judges in the contest (along with Jussi Hinkkanen, Peter Hirshberg, John M. Jordan and Juliette Powell), and we’re now announcing the winners.

The winning entry was Red Heart, submitted by Sana Refai and Kamel Seghaeir of Tunisia. The entry put it this way:

This application will help you to generate your blood donor’s networks. In case of emergency, you (or someone else) activates the search of your nearest person in your blood donor’s connection (GPS Localization) and contacts him to come give you help. By installing the application, you precise your blood group. When you add a new entry, the application decides whether your connection can be a donor or not according to her/his blood group. The application can be extends from a private network to a public community by creating a website gathering all blood donors worldwide …

We liked the idea of a mobile app being at the center of a process that brings together hospital or emergency workers and volunteers in the community in a way that benefits accident victims through the use of geolocation services. Such an app could allow a wide range of individuals in desperate need of a blood transfusion to find compatible donors in their geographical area. While Kamel and Sana’s app could be useful in developed countries, perhaps its greatest value could be found in developing economies, where mobile phones are ubiquitous – but advanced blood transfusion services are not.

Honorable mentions: Using the crowd to carpool — & more

The judges also singled out three other entries for special recognition:

• Seamus Maguire from Ireland submitted an idea for an app designed to increase the use of carpools, and thereby reduce an individual’s carbon footprint. Using such a mobile app, the user could view other nearby users in need of a ride. Continue reading