Gamification is well-known to boost players’ engagement and interest. Players are rewarded through badges or leader boards. Health, education, and even charitable sectors are using gamification as a method to increase awareness of social issues as well as encourage donations to causes. Here are several examples of successful charity apps:
1. Charity Miles: Once you sign up, the app will track each mile you run, walk, or cycle. For each mile you achieve, Charity Miles donates money to one of nine reputable charities–ten cents per mile biked and twenty-five cents per mile ran. All you have to do is post your workout on social media. This app encourages you to exercise and be more charitable. A pretty healthy combination, and the app is free!
2. Tap Project by Unicef: You can give an underprivileged child drinking water for a day with this free app. It rewards you for not using your phone. The longer you go without using your phone, the more money is donated. For each ten minutes you don’t use your phone, a sponsor will donate a day’s worth of clean water.
3. My Life as a Refugee: This app lets you walk in the shoes of a refugee. You must make some of the same life-changing decisions that refugees make every day, sometimes with very little time to consider what the ramifications might be. The purpose of this app is to raise awareness of what Unicef does for refugees from war-torn nations.
4. Feedie: Taking photos of food is all the rage. Now, your photos can benefit schoolchildren in South Africa. Each time you take a pic of your food and posts it to a social media site, participating restaurants donate to the Lunchbox Fund. The nonprofit organization provides lunches to South African children. The app is free at the iTunes store.
5. Budge: This app allows you to compete with friends and give to charities all at once. Challenge your friends to virtually any game (chess, volleyball, running a marathon, etc.), and the loser makes a donation to a charity of their choice.
6. iHobo: In 2010, Depaul UK launched this tamagotchi-style app, which allowed you to care for a homeless youth for 3 days in real-time. Push notifications would remind you to secure food and shelter for the youth living on the street. You could either ignore the notifications and watch his life spiral out of control as well as lose points, or you could take care of the homeless youth and earn points. The iHobo campaign had 600,000 downloads raising awareness of homeless youth and earned over 3.8 million dollars.
According to certain etimates, 4.55 billion people worldwide will use smartphones in 2014. These charitable mobile apps have the potential to raise awareness of situations and people that need help. These types of apps increase fundraising for their prospective organizations. Furthermore, the charities can keep app users apprised of the latest news and developments. Once again, a win for gamification.