How to Create a Donation App Based on Lunar App: 5 Essential Steps

A donation app is a secure, trustworthy, and convenient mediator between the user and an organization raising funds. Let’s explore how to build one-click donation apps that can help your institution receive more attention and make it easier to fight for a cause.

a year ago   •   12 min read

By Mariia Yuskevych

Going good shouldn’t be a challenge, do you agree? Luckily, these days anyone can make a donation to a preferred charitable organization or send some help to the ones in need online. One way to do so is through a dedicated donation app.

A donation app is a secure, trustworthy, and convenient mediator between the user and an organization raising funds. Let’s explore how to build one-click donation apps that can help your institution receive more attention and make it easier to fight for a cause.

A donation app design by DroitLab

How does a Donation App Work?

There are two ways a donation app can function.

  • It can be a donation app belonging to a particular organization, like a fundraiser, a private non-profit company, a government institution, or a church
  • Alternatively, a donation app can be an aggregator that allows accredited organizations to raise funds or allow individuals in need to collect money, for example, for an emergency situation or to make their dream come true

No matter which path an application follows, the main principle remains the same: users can send any amount of money, even 1$, from their bank accounts or through payment systems like Payoneer or PayPal. The most critical aspect of any donation app is security and reliability: users know that their transfer is safe and will end up in the right hands.

A donation app design by Talkin Studio

Types of Donation Apps

There are several ways to organize a donation app. In the previous chapter, we mentioned that your app could be either an aggregator-type or a dedicated solution for one organization. Let’s take a look at some more donation app types, so you can understand where your request falls.

Crowdfunding Apps

These are donation apps that allow users to create campaigns and solicit donations from their networks of friends or other donors. Basically, any user can place an ad describing their cause, and the sum of money they need as well as attach all the appropriate documents.

It is up to other users to decide who to send their donations and whether to trust a particular fundraiser or not. At the same time, a platform should ensure a safe money transfer and double-check all the campaigns to avoid scammers. For example, an application can request identity verification and financial reports from the fundraiser.

Single-Cause Donation Apps

These apps focus on raising money for a specific cause or charity. Such applications are dedicated to one organization and usually contain some additional resources connected to the non-profit institution, such as detailed information about the organization, reports on previous charity campaigns, and exclusive in-app materials.

Selective Crowdfunding Donation Apps

These apps collaborated with trustworthy non-profit organizations to give them an additional platform for raising funds. As each of the institutions is carefully selected and checked by the app, users can be confident that they are donating to a reliable charity and that the process is transparent.

Such donation applications can unite a selection of charities based on their locations, main cause, field of interest, size, and so on. For example, you can come up with an ecological charity app that unites eco-initiatives from different countries or a platform that represents organizations fighting for equal educational opportunities in a particular region.

Charity Fundraising Events App

This type of app allows users to register for charity events, like concerts or runs. Organizations can place announcements for upcoming charity events based on location or online.

Any user can find events that match their interests and join them either offline or virtually. The extended functionality of such applications includes a built-in streaming player for hosting charity events right in the app.

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Similarly to crowdfunding applications, charity event apps usually allow users to create their own events after a certain verification process to avoid any fraud.

Must-Have Features for Donation App

A donation app design by 10am Studio

Depending on the donation app type, the list of must-have features can vary. Still, there is some basic functionality that most such solutions cover. Let’s see how to make a donation app and which feature to include.

User profile

A user profile is necessary for any donation application. It is an easy way for users to manage their donations and review their history. A user profile should include contact information, social media links, transaction history, and a user’s in-app wallet.

Secure payment gateway

To ensure that all donations made through the app are safely processed and no personal financial information is exposed, it's important that a secure payment gateway is integrated into the app. This can be done through dedicated payment APIs, for example, PayPal or Stripe API.

Making it easy for users to quickly find and browse charities in need of funds is essential when creating a donation app. A search feature should be implemented so users can easily find what they’re looking for based on keyword searches such as location and type of cause.

Organization profile

Once a user found an organization, they should be able to view detailed information about it to have enough knowledge before making any decisions on donating money. This could include descriptions of the organization’s mission, activities, the results of previous campaigns, contact details, and so on. This will help build trust between potential donors and the organizations.

Campaign page and management

While some users want to donate to a particular organization, others might want to engage in separate campaigns that match their values. It’s important that your platform makes creating campaigns by organizations an easy process by providing templates that cover all elements needed, like the campaign’s name, description, summary, target amounts, etc.

Usually, dotation apps implement reporting tools that allow organizations to track progress on reaching fundraising goals in real time.

Charity verification

No one wants fake charities taking advantage of people’s generosity therefore you must have rigorous verification processes in place ensuring only legitimate ones with accurate information can access your platform. You can ask organizations and individuals to provide their identification data, supporting documentation, campaign proof and financial reporting, and so on.

News feed

News feeds can be used to provide updates about the current project or campaign. It’s also a great way to keep supporters engaged and show how their contributions are making a difference.

Donation feature

Of course, one of the most important features is the actual donation feature itself, allowing donors to easily submit payments with just a few clicks and see real-time updates on their donations as they happen.

Users should be able to select an amount they are willing to give away as well as the payment method. The interface should also allow users to save payment information so they don’t need to re-enter it each time they make donations.

In-app wallet

An in-app wallet allows donors to store money securely within the application when making donations. This creates an extra layer of security for both donors and recipients by keeping all transactions within the application itself rather than relying on external services that may not always be secure. Users can link their bank accounts, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and other digital financial services like Revolut or Payoneer to make transactions in the application.

Reporting system

Unfortunately, even the best of us can fall for scamming incidents. That’s why a donation application needs to feature a reporting system so that users can complain about any suspicious campaigns and accounts.

Messaging system

Allowing supporters and organizations to communicate creates an additional level of engagement. Users can send messages to get clarifications about the campaign, sign up for volunteering in the organization, or offer any additional help to those in need.

Social media integration

Social media integration is becoming increasingly important in today's digital world – integrating social media when creating a charity donation app will allow supporters and volunteers more opportunities for quick online networking across multiple platforms, helping increase overall visibility about campaigns or initiatives taking place in your app. Users can share their donations on their social media profiles and, in such a way, attract more attention to the campaign.

How to Develop a Donation App: 5 Essential Steps

A donation app design by Pelorous

Now that you know which features to include in your future application, let’s review the essential 5 steps of creating a successful donation app.

Come up with the app’s idea and requirements

The first step in creating a donation mobile app is to come up with a set of requirements that define what features must be included in your application. This might involve functionalities such as

  • accepting donations from users via credit cards or other payment methods
  • managing users accounts
  • providing reporting about donations
  • displaying information about charities and projects supported by them
  • enabling digital receipts for tax purposes
  • ensuring that donated funds are safely stored by your company

It’s also important to consider how your application will comply with legal regulations related to donor data protection laws as well as security protocols such as encryption protocols. Once you have worked out all these details through comprehensive research on applicable laws and regulations, you can move on to step two of how to create an app for charity donation: developing the UI/UX design of your application.

It’s not a problem if you don’t have exact requirements on top of your head and don’t know all the legal nuances of the digital donation process. Your mobile app development partner, for example, Perpetio, will provide technical and business development consulting to ensure that the new app is exactly what you need.

Create the app’s UI/UX design

In order to create an engaging user experience for your donation mobile app, you need to pay special attention when designing both its look (UI) and functionality (UX). You and your design team will think carefully about how users will interact with the app, what the navigation process looks like, and which UI elements each screen should include.

Finally, you are to decide which colors or fonts best represent your company’s values and goals while maintaining accessibility standards according to customer needs (e.g., color contrasts). Of course, you will have an experienced UI/UX designer on your side who will complete the job from A to Z while taking into account all of your preferences. Once this phase is completed satisfactorily according to all established criteria you can start building up the app’s code.

Develop the app for appropriate platforms

To develop a donation app, software engineers write code based on those initial requirements set at step one so now is when actual programming begins! Depending on which programming language(s) were chosen at the planning stage together with other software development tools planned earlier too (like APIs and frameworks), now starts turning ideas into reality.

There are two main approaches to mobile app development.

  • Native app development is when an app is made using native programming languages specifically designed for a certain platform (Kotlin and Java for Android, Swift for iOS).
  • Cross-platform app development is when a dedicated framework, for example, Flutter application development services, is used to create a mobile app that can run on both Android and iOS devices with a single code.

Cross-platform app development is more cost-effective and speedy for those business owners who are looking to reach two markets simultaneously. This approach is perfect for MVP (minimum viable product) development of a donation app.

Test the application

Once satisfied with the app’s overall performance, comes the quality assurance testing stage. QA specialists utilize dedicated automated tools and manually check different scenarios following predetermined test plans originally specified beforehand during early project stages.

Their task is to make sure that the app performs as expected, is bug-free, and will satisfy users in terms of its functionality and appearance. QA specialists are reporting any inconsistencies and bugs found throughout so developers know exactly what needs fixing prior to bug-free version release.

Prepare for the release

The last step of donation mobile app creating before officially unveiling our freshly designed donation mobile app consists in selecting an appropriate launch date and setting up the distribution channels. Your app development partner will likely assist in making everything ready for the release and consulting you on the marketing strategy, so make sure to choose a company you can trust.

How to Create a Donation App Based on Lunar App: Real Example

We at the Perpetio team got a chance to make an impact and assist with creating a donation app too. The Lunar application came to us with an unusual idea: making a social advertising app with the purpose of charity. Users can tag the selected brands on their photos on social media and, as a sign of gratitude, brands will donate $1 for each mention online. It’s peculiar that users themselves choose which charity cause the brand should donate to. Perpetio made this idea possible by developing the app’s UI and backend and providing quality assurance service.

Donation App vs Donation Website

A donation app vs donation website are both tools used to collect donations from donors. The main difference between them is that a donation app is designed for mobile devices, while a donation website is designed for desktop or laptop computers.

If you decide to create a donation app like Lunar, you are giving donors the convenience of being able to donate from anywhere at any time, as long as they have their mobile devices with them. This makes it easy for donors to contribute quickly and without having to be physically present at the site of the charity or organization requesting donations. Donation apps also make it easier for organizations to keep track of donations made by their supporters and thank them accordingly.

Additionally, for many users, it is more convenient to set up their digital wallets in the app as compared to donation websites. Many already have their Apple Pay or Google Pay accounts all setup and need just one click to add their payment options to the app.

How much does it Cost to Create a Donation App?

A donation app design by Piqo Design

Want to create a donation app based on the Lunar app? Let’s now answer the main question: how much does it cost to create a donation app? The answer largely depends on the features and complexity of the app itself, as well as the platform that it is being built for.

For example, as we have mentioned above, a cross-platform app that can run on both iOS and Android platform is more cost-effective than two native applications. Additionally, using standard design components takes way less time for UI/UX designers than coming up with custom ones, which will also change your final budget. And, of course, the more complex feature set you desire, like AI, the more time developers will spend implementing those.

Typically speaking most MVP apps built on iOS or Android will cost between $20 000 -$50 000 depending on their complexity and the design elements required.

Wrapping Up

A donation app design by Emir Abiyyu

Helping make the world a better place should be easy and accessible for those willing to contribute. A decision to make a donation app like Lunar can turn you into a convenient and effective mediator between users who have an opportunity to make a donation but need a reliable platform for that and organizations that need more exposure.

The donation app development process can be complex, but with the right partner, it doesn't have to be. Perpetio can provide a holistic approach, undertaking each stage of the app creation process and offering consulting services to meet your needs. We are dedicated to helping you build a charity donation app that will make a positive impact in the world. If you're looking to develop an app for donations, let's work together and make it happen!


What are the key features of a donation mobile app?

Key features of a donation mobile app include a user profile, organization search, organization profile, donation feature, in-app wallet, social media integration, and more.

What are the steps to create a donation app?

Creating a donation app includes 5 main steps: coming up with the app requirements and specifications, UI/UX design, app development, quality assurance, and release preparation.

Is it better to develop a donation app than a website?

With a mobile app, you are giving donors the convenience of being able to donate from anywhere at any time, as long as they have their mobile devices with them. Donation apps also make it easier for organizations to keep track of donations made by their supporters and thank them accordingly.

How much does it cost to create a donation app?

Typically speaking most MVP apps built on iOS or Android will cost between $20 000 -$50 000 depending on their complexity and the design elements required.

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