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Promoting Social Good: Spotlight on Social Change Apps

September 26th, 2012. Filed under Social Good

If you’re passionate about social change, you can’t help but be excited by all of the opportunities to make an impact using the latest technology. Social change apps have been around for a while now, but there are new ones being developed constantly, becoming more user-friendly and offering greater rewards in exchange for your participation.

New apps come out all the time; many of them are informational or educational resources, for example. Then there are the apps that you can use to log volunteer hours or ask others for help raising money for a cause. In addition, you’ve probably seen the apps and programs that allow you to choose a particular charity to support while you’re shopping online. There’s something for everyone, so check them out.

Here are just a few examples of the latest social change apps.

  • The American Red Cross First Aid App aims to educate and prepare you by providing step-by-step instructions for dealing with medical emergencies. You can look up conditions alphabetically and even watch short videos on treating injuries. The Red Cross also plans to release more apps related to natural disasters and emergency preparedness.
  • With the Charity Miles app, you can run, walk, or bike to raise funds and then donate the proceeds to the charity of your choice. You earn 25 cents per mile for running or walking, and 10 cents per mile for biking. You can raise the money yourself or get sponsors, and then share your results on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Gamification-based apps are popular, too. Check out some of these apps for finding local volunteer opportunities that also reward you:
  • Called the “Foursquare for altruism” by Mashable, Cause.it encourages you to donate your time to an organization or cause, such as a shelter or food pantry. Your time earns you points, and you use those points to receive discounts or other special offers from local merchants.
  • Dailyfeats.com lets you earn rewards by caring for your well-being, or that of your family, neighbors, or even the whole planet. The points you receive can be used for discounts for you or partner donations to your favorite 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations.
  • Reward Volunteers is based on a simple concept similar to Daily Feats: Track your volunteer time to earn rewards, and post your activity to Facebook. The program benefits both the volunteers and the organizations they serve by awarding cash and other prizes.
  • With FavorTree, accepting preregistration as of this writing, you can grow your virtual tree and add fruit by doing favors for others. In turn, you can ask for favors, such as borrowing a friend’s tools or a book. FavorTree’s creators say that the advantage of their app is that it builds social capital by you getting to know and trust your neighbors.
  • AOK stands for Acts & Observations of Kindness. You can perform and report acts of kindness in exchange for “cause currency” points that can be used toward prizes or for charitable donations. In this “social game for good,” the acts are recorded on your mobile app or submitted to the website directly.
  • Sparked.com, originally called the Extraordinaries app, creates opportunities for people to “micro-volunteer.” Whether online or off, you can volunteer for small chunks of time, to complete missions for causes of your choosing. In your spare time, for example, you could critique a non-profit’s website design or provide feedback on its newsletter. Sparked.com matches your skills, interests, and availability to their needs.

Don’t forget that there are a number of ways to raise money for causes simply by shopping. You can donate money directly or earn rewards points, which can then be used as charitable donations. Along those lines, instead for the iPhone is a “micro-donation” app, encouraging you to give a set amount of money to a charity today, instead of buying that daily coffee.

Tell us – how are you using the latest apps for social good?

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