Charity apps are a creative way of engaging with services users, whilst also providing vital support to those who need it
In the face of the unforeseen pressures of COVID-19, many charities have had to quickly pivot to online service delivery in order to continue to provide their vital services. Now that we are beginning to emerge from the pandemic, and approach an as yet undefined ‘new normal’, charity leaders will begin examining how they can develop their online services for the future.
An app can be a great way to connect with your charity’s service users, build communities and make your services more readily available. They can even act as part of online charity campaigns, driving engagement and growth. An app can provide detailed insights into the key needs of your beneficiaries and create an online service that responds to them directly.
That is not to suggest that an app is a ‘quick fix’ solution to the needs of your service users. A considerable amount of time, planning and research is needed if you want to create a service option that is truly useful and impactful.
The most successful charity apps are those that identify a need and build around this in a way that is convenient and engaging for their service users. These apps often answer more than simply the primary need. They provide a space where users can gain information, connect with the organisation and feel they have gained personal value from the interaction.
When speaking to your service users, finding out what they need and how they want to receive it is key to developing a successful charity app. You want your service users to feel that this virtual service is enriching, empowering and, most of all, helpful and easy to use.
It is important to never lose sight of who your targeted users are. If you are targeting young people, you want your app interface to reflect the expectations of the tech-savvy Generation Z. Conversely, if your service users are among the digitally excluded, it’s important to factor accessibility and functionality into the design. Ensuring that your app meets the accessibility standards of your users is crucial, as is taking into account factors such as data poverty and the level of digital literacy of your usersbase.
Here are four examples of charities who have created great apps for their service users:
BrainWalk was originally created as part of a World Encephalitis Day campaign. The app aims to create a community of people who have suffered or are still suffering from Encephalitis, a life-threatening brain condition. It encourages users to complete brain-stimulating games and activities on the app, go for step-counted walks monitored by the app and connect with one another via a social media-style newsfeed.
The Mix has created a range of apps for its young service users. Stressheads aims to help young people deal with feelings of stress and anxiety by turning their worries into a personalised, interactive game on their phone. The app also interweaves vital advice and help about dealing with stress and anxiety throughout.
The British Red Cross app allows users to access first aid advice quickly and easily, wherever they are. The app also has interactive quizzes, videos and guides all aimed at educating users on different first aid scenarios.
The Becca app helps users who are recovering from breast cancer treatment and aims to empower those who may be struggling to adjust to life after breast cancer. The app offers instant support, online resources and key tips to help users. A variety of online information and support is provided to the app’s users on a daily basis to help them move forward and feel supported while doing so.