Giving charity is so important, yet often put on the backburner. Looking to use an app to start donating regularly, but aren't sure which one is right for you?
Between fighting rush-hour traffic, arranging dinner plans, making time to workout, and everything else that consumes our days, life can be busy. So busy in fact, that giving charity, which is so important, is unfortunately the last thing on our minds and is often forgotten altogether.
If you want to step up your charity game but feel you need a convenient and simple way to do so, turn to charity apps. They’re extremely popular and not only make you feel good about giving, but make it easy to get your friends involved, and can even help you get in shape!
A Gamified Experience
A popular trend among apps for charitable giving, is gamifying the experience. This means making giving charity fun, or turning it into a competition with friends. One popular app that’s known for gamifying the giving experience, is Budge. It’s a free iOS app that turns friendly bets among friends into charitable giving opportunities. It’s really simple to use. To get started, you’ll need to create a “budge,” and challenge your friends to do something. You can challenge them to anything – lose weight, volunteer for a day, give up smoking, run a 10k. If you win, they have to give a micro-donation to charity, and if they win, you have to give a donation. The charity is pre-selected, so you know exactly where the money is going to. The app is great because you can turn any activity you would normally do with friends into a charitable act, and it makes anyone using it feel good.
Charity Miles is another app that makes giving charity fun and beneficial for everyone. It was one of the first apps in the charity category, and has raised $2.5 million for charities around the world. You run, walk your dog, get a coffee, bike in the neighborhood, and money gets donated to charity for each mile you complete. Sponsors make the donations, so you don’t have to, and you can choose from over 30 world-class charities.
Just a Little Everyday
There is also a trend among charitable apps to make giving not only simple, but easy on the wallet. No longer do you need to shell out a few hundred dollars to a charity to make an impact. Several apps allow you to give charity in increments of $0.50 or $1. You may think that’s too little an amount to make an impact, but a dollar a day over 365 days isn’t too bad!
ShareTheMeal is a crowdfunding app aimed at fighting global hunger through the United Nations World Food Programme. The app is available for iOS and Android, and lets you make 50 cent donations to feed one child for one day. All you need to do is open the app, and press the donate button. ShareTheMeal has shared over 20,005,628 meals, and won the Google Play award for best social impact. Imagine all the time you spend waiting for your meal at a restaurant and using this app to feed hundreds of thousands of undernourished people.
Two other apps that make giving easy, even with little budget, are One Today and Instead.
One Today is a Google product, which is why it’s so simple to use and nice to look at. Its goal is to allow people to “Give a little. Change a lot,” by enabling them to give $1 to different organizations, frequently. It takes away a big fear many people have of not knowing where the money will go or what it will be used for, by vetting the charities. The app also has a social component to encourage your friends to donate. You can set up a donation and encourage friends to match it, and share it on social networks. Some of the best parts about the app are that there are no transaction fees, all donations are tax-deductible, and every donation is anonymous.
Instead takes a clever approach by showing users the everyday luxuries that they can live without. For example, the app will pose a challenge like “instead of buying a coffee, you can spend $3 to donate a pair of socks to the homeless.” It encourages small donations of $3 or $5, which seem like petty cash to many, yet can be incredibly helpful to the less fortunate. If you accept the challenge, each time you hold back from buying a coffee and log it in the app, it will donate a few dollars to the cause. The app Tinbox has a similar structure where you give a small amount of $1 a day, donated by a sponsor, by logging into the app.
You Don’t Need Money to Donate
By far the best thing about many charitable apps today is that you don’t actually need to give any money to donate. You read that right. You can donate to charities and causes without even opening your wallet. Take Donate a Photo for example, which is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson. The app lets you send your personal photos to the Johnson & Johnson website, and the company donates $1 to a charity of your choice. You can choose from a list of various charities that the site has curated. The only downside with the app is that you are limited to one photo a day. If you’re a picture lover and can’t hold yourself back from snapping pictures of your food at restaurants, try the Feedie app. The app is available for iOS and Android, and makes your endless foodie pictures count. It lets restaurants exchange social media posts and positive reviews for donations. So if you share a picture of your food to your social network through Feedie, the participating restaurants will donate to The Lunchbox Fund, an NGO that helps feed children in Africa.
If you’re happy to post to social media and review companies in exchange for them donating to causes, you’ll love Check in for Good and Give 2 Charity. Check in for Good is a lot like the app Foursquare, in that you need to “check-in” when you visit a certain restaurant or store. If you do, the business will donate to a cause, and you receive a coupon to the store in return. This app is a win-win. Give 2 Charity isn’t for everyone, as it tracks your phone’s location and data usage, but if you’re ok with it, you can exchange your information for points that can be turned into donations. The app works with charities like the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army.
Get Ready to Give
No matter how little time you have, giving charity through charitable apps is so easy there’s almost no excuse. Whether you choose an app that gamifies the experience, one that lets you compete with friends, or one that puts your photography skills to good use, you’ll feel better than ever knowing you're helping others.