The New Trend: Techno Charity

Companies and non-profit organizations are taking notice of the growing role smartphones and wireless technology play in everyday life, modifying their fundraising efforts to fit the digital era.

Text-to-donate campaigns are a staple for companies interested in supporting relief efforts, especially those responding to emergency or disaster situations. Following the Colorado wildfire in June the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and Verizon Wireless teamed up to collect donations from wireless customers. One of the most successful text-to-donate campaigns was in 2010 after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti. According to an article by CNN Money, the campaign by the American Red Cross garnered more than $7 million for relief efforts.

Televised concerts such as “Stand Up to Cancer” and the recent “Healing in the Heartland: Relief Benefit Concert” secured most of their funds to support their respective causes from ticket sales, calls and text messages that pledge an automatic $10 minimum donation. Healing in the Heartland reportedly made more than $6 million in donations.

Companies such as Johnson & Johnson incorporate smartphone apps into their charitable efforts. Johnson & Johnson created the Donate a Photo app, which asks users to select a social cause, upload a related photo and share over social networks. For every picture submitted through the app, the company donates $1 toward a cause the user selects from a list of options. Causes support everything from education and environmental rebuilding to infant healthcare.

For those who prefer to make a difference by volunteering their time and talents, the Volunteer Match app allows users to search for volunteer opportunities based on location, age or cause. It also provides virtual volunteering opportunities for those who can’t make it on site.

And, when it comes time to volunteer for a fundraising walk or run, the Charity Miles app simplifies fundraising by tracking the distance walked or biked, then calculating donations per mile. The money is then donated to a cause each user selects. To learn more about these or other charitable efforts, check out this Huffington Post article for information on 10 apps to help someone in need.