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Students propose donating used apps to charity

Students propose donating used apps to charity

How do you donate content? That issue is going to become more of a problem for charities that rely on donations of items such as books and music CDs which are being produced as items.

And what about apps on mobile phones? They have a value and a lifespan, so after a while you end up with apps that you just don't need or use. And the value is immense: currently people are spending $4.3 billion in Apple iOS apps a year.

Students at the Miami Ad School addressed that question in a project and came up with the Apple Donation box. The video above is a proof of concept: it is not a genuine service and does not have the backing of Apple or The Salvation Army.

As you'll see the 'advert' suggests a short campaign in which iPhone users are encouraged to donate their unwanted apps. For each app donated (and presumably deleted), the students propose that Apple would donate the value of that app to The Salvation Army.

It's an intriguing idea, although it does have one weakness. Why would Apple pay the full price, including its original share of the app purchase price? Does 'donating' an app help Apple commercially? It doesn't seem to, so it becomes a less attractive CSR proposition.

Is there an alternative in which people could donate their unwanted apps to a friend, who has to make a donation in order to acquire it? Again, that might not work due to the various digital rights elements of apps, especially now it becomes clear that none of us have the right to transfer the music we've bought in our Apple iTunes library to anyone else, even after our death.

Still, the Miami Ad School students have made a good start in working out how charities can try to benefit from the used app market.

Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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