Feeling Socially Conscious? Build Social Causes Apps to Do It for You.
Itching to satiate the good Samaritan inside of you, but not sure where to start? Looking for corporates to back your cause, but you are not exactly a celebrity either, right? Take a cue from a fresh batch of millennials who have realized the power of crowdfunding to support a myriad of causes by developing social causes apps that exist to make more than just profits.
A recent surge in social causes apps is not only working toward creating an environment of charity and social responsibility but is also doing a great service to those looking to sort through a tsunami of relief organizations and community-led efforts in order to systematically and safely make reliable donations. But before you get working on the next big idea, it is best to weigh-in your options and do your own bit of digging around on the issues and the kind of people that you wish to target in order for your app to become the next big thing!
Social causes apps raise money for charitable causes by zeroing in on people’s everyday activities. Hence, design social causes apps that engage users actively. But make sure your app does not empty their wallets at the same time. A successful social app looks to fuel regular routines into causes that its users care about.
Read further through the post to get inspired by some of the best social causes apps that are an epitome of confluences observed between mobile application development technology and the changing social mores.
Charity Miles (Free)
This one is for those users for whom donating money to big charities goes a little (read a lot) over the budget. Charity Miles, a brainchild of Gene Gurkoff, may just be the perfect app for a majority of people. When Gene was studying law at Harvard, he started running marathons to support Parkinson’s disease, which his grandfather was also diagnosed with at the time. This inspired him to put the concept right into our phones through an app that immediately got a clout of subscribers as sponsors for these “charity runs” that not just happen annually but for as many times as they wanted them to happen through the year.
Basically, you get to decide when to run and for what cause.
Charity Miles works by donating to a charity of the user’s choice through every mile run, walked, or biked through. Brilliant stuff, eh?
The phone’s GPS helps track speed; runners and walkers stand to earn twice as much, 25 cents per mile, as compared to cyclers. The app partners with over 30 of the world’s top charities for this purpose and generates its own capital through corporate advertisement. The charities that partner basically stand to gain through crowdfunding; Members have already raised over US $2 million for charities.
If Charity Miles was about spending calories to support a cause, this one works just the opposite. Users need to “eat to be able to give.”
With Feedie, you will no longer feel guilty about sharing that picture of a waffle with mountains of ice cream on it that you ate last Sunday, because, what if you could feed a needy child with that post of yours?
Feedie is simple, smart, and driven by charity. All one needs to do is, choose to dine at a restaurant that’s signed up, post a picture of your meal, tag the restaurant, and voila! The photograph ends up as a meal for a child somewhere in South Africa. Restaurants that decide to team up, are required to pay $500 a year (tax-deductible donation) to join the scheme that also helps them gain publicity.
Topaz Page-Green, a South African model-turned-philanthropist, the spark behind this app, is encouraging a legion of foodies to leverage their love for food into a great social cause. Besides, cashing in on the eating-out business seems like a good idea today, as the world reportedly spends as much as US $1.7 billion each day on eating out.
Top-flight restaurants in New York have already signed up with the app that is also being backed by Hollywood stars, like Casey Affleck, Liv Tyler, and Maggie Gyllenhaal.
Okay, this may have sounded like an aberration, considering the “celebrity factor” involved, but hey, it nevertheless makes for a kickass idea to get some inspiration from!
Volunteer Match (Free; $39/month for premium users)
Volunteer Match is a force to reckon with in the world of social causes apps.
The app and its sister website encourage community engagement for people and organizations that are looking to contribute to social causes. The idea was conceived by Charlie Mulligan and Aaron Godert in 2010 after reading a report that stated that volunteering gives as much happiness as one would get if their salary was doubled. Hence, VolunteerMatch operates under the slogan, “More, Happy Volunteers.”
Their story too started from a garage in Pennsylvania, following in the footsteps of the likes of Steve Jobs.
Today, more than 400,000 nonprofit partners work with this initiative that has grown from operating on the web to operating through mobile apps.
The founders’ objective is to provide listing platforms, like LinkedIn or Twitter, etc., to increase volunteering worldwide by developing software and a social network that will help nonprofits, communities, and volunteers manage and promote their efforts.
Volunteers and nonprofits can sign up for free, but the app charges a monthly $39 for the analytics services that it offers to nonprofits, businesses, and schools. The founders hope to raise $4 to $6 million in the near future.
One Today (Free)
The app is an initiative taken by Google as an extension of its nonprofit arm. The aim is to get people to donate $1 to nonprofits (that will be tax-deductible) while offering a transparency on how their donations are going to be used upfront—a path-breaking feature in a sea of social causes apps. It is generally observed that a lack of accountability associated with the effective usage of donations usually serves as a major block for people looking to make monetary contributions.
The nonprofits associated with the app are only those that “Google for Nonprofits” is currently associated with, which means that the donations you make will only go to those nonprofits that have been screened for authenticity. One Today reiterates the very fact that one does not have to be Bill Gates or Richard Branson to be able to give.
The app notifies to its users about a different project every day that can range from “donating for cancer patients” to “conserving Panda habitats.” There is an emphasis on keeping track of your giving history with the “impact tracker,” which shows how much you have given and what you have helped accomplish.
The app provides to its users the opportunity to increase their social impact by giving them the chance to donate more than $1 for a cause, or by matching up to the donations of other users for the same cause.
With over 100,000 installs, the app looks to add more causes and users to its already growing enterprise.
The app gives you a chance to donate an equivalent of what you choose not to spend on, for instance, donating $4 “instead” of grabbing that morning cuppa coffee. Instead encourages an atmosphere of giving, micro- or macro-donating in nature. The money that you choose to donate goes to a range of nonprofits of which only 5% goes to those running the app. While this app won’t make donations all by itself, it does serve as a good reminder to give a little bit once in a while.
Soon after you set up a new account with the app, you can tap the “Give” button, and choose a monetary value as well as what you will be giving up for donation. Besides, a great variety of charities are listed with this app; you are guaranteed to find a cause of your choice.
An app that helps people attain small attainable goals, vPledge, brings a fresh take on volunteering for a good cause. With tasks as easy as “Planting 10 Trees” to graduating to something more challenging as “Using Public Transport for 30 days” or “donating meals to the poor,” the app ultimately teaches us to not take things for granted. On completing a task successfully, you get to post it on social media and challenge three of your friends to perform the same task by tagging them. This helps you earn points that can be redeemed later, and ultimately works toward building a sense of social consciousness.
vPledge was developed by two of the youngest Android developers in the world, 12-year-old Prateek Mahesh and 13-year-old Priyal Jain from India, at an online technology education startup, AcadGild, based out of Bangalore, India, and California, USA.
Acadgild has been rated as one of the top 10 technology bootcamps in the world that provides to its learners intensive hands-on learning experience and an ecosystem of innovation where learners get to interact with industry’s best technology experts. The courses have been designed to equip learners with the right skills to succeed in a world increasingly moving toward digital supremacy.
Sign up today for Acadgild’s mentor-driven Android Development certification, and start creating empowering social causes apps that people care most about.
Get your hands dirty and start coding! After all, generosity can be contagious.
Keep visiting www.acadgild.com for more updates on the courses.