About InstantEncore

InstantEncore is the leading provider of mobile solutions to performing arts organizations around the globe. Our partners use the InstantEncore platform to power their mobile apps, enhance live experiences and create deeper relationships with their audiences. InstantEncore partners include Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Curtis Institute of Music and Dallas Summer Musicals. With Tessitura™ Network, Inc., our partners include the New York Philharmonic, The Shaw Festival and Santa Fe Opera.

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Best Practices for Encouraging Donations from Your App Subscribers

If your arts organization is a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit, then you know the importance that donations play in funding. Your mobile app can be an incredibly powerful tool to help collect donations, but there are also some restrictions you need to work around.

Apple and Google both have policies against collecting donations within your app. To accommodate this, we actually need to take some special steps when linking to a Donations page. Simply linking to a URL isn’t enough, because by default this opens in what we call the “In-App Browser.” This browser lets the user view any webpage they are linked to, but it is still technically running in the app. Correspondingly, Apple and Google won’t allow the app to collect donations in this manner.

So, lets take a look at a few best practices for linking out to your donation processing system:

1. Avoid using the “Custom URL Tab” feature to add a basic link to your donation page. Yes, this is the simplest and fastest way to create this link, but this tool will only open pages using the In-App Browser, which isn’t allowed.

Bach Collegium San Diego’s app clearly
articulates how mobile donations will
benefit their organization’s work.

2. Use “Custom HTML Tabs” instead. In a Custom HTML Tab, you can add extra information to encourage patrons to make a donation.

  • This is a perfect place to list the different donation or membership levels and what benefits or rewards might come with them. Letting users know that even the smallest donation level carries with it some extra perk can convince those, who think they can’t afford to make a large donation, to at least contribute something. Every dollar helps!
  • Write a paragraph explaining how the donations benefit your organization. Tell users what programs they will help fund, or which artists you will be able to hire from their gift. Don’t let people think they are just tossing money into a black hole; make them feel special
  • Finish off with an exciting call-to-action. By now they’ve read how their donation will benefit themselves and your organization, now you need to get them to click that link to actually go make the donation. A simple “Click Here” is pretty un-engaging. Get creative with a sentence or graphic.

3. This is the most important part. When creating the link in the Custom HTML Tab, you need to set a special target to make sure that the link opens in the device’s default browser app instead of the In-App Browser.  Follow these instructions depending on whether you prefer working in Design or HTML mode.

    • Design Mode:
      • Highlight any text or content you wish to turn in to a link
      • Click on the “Create Link” icon. (It looks like a little globe with a chain-link in front of it.) 
      • Paste the link to your donation page in the URL field.
      • In the drop-down box next to where it says “Target,” select “Custom Target.”
      • In the text box that appears, type _system
      • Click OK.



  • HTML Mode: Working in HTML mode, just add target=”_system” attribute to the donation link code.

Once you are done, save the changes you’ve made to the tab and your mobile app will now be compatible with both Apple and Google’s donation policies!

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