Phone Philanthropy: Using Your Smartphone to Give Back

When disaster strikes, Americans are quick to band together to help with relief efforts in any way they can. Last month’s Oso landslide in Washington and the 2013 Colorado floods are just two recent examples.

But even when your help is needed thousands of miles away, there’s an immediate way to get involved. And it fits right in the palm of your hand.

Mobile phones are the driving force of today’s “techno charity” trends. In fact, smartphones are quickly joining credit cards and checks as popular methods of making donations, according to a 2013 study by the mGive Foundation. The study found that text donors value the convenience of mobile gifts – and they’re willing to give substantial contributions through mobile donations.

The American Red Cross has used phone donations successfully to boost its disaster aid resources, and some providers are working to make the process even more convenient for donors. When you text REDCROSS to 90999 and give $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief, Verizon waives the text messaging fee. Your donations help those affected by hurricanes, floods, wildfires and other disasters.

There are also a number of apps available that bring charitable giving to your fingertips.

The Quingo app “gamifies” charitable giving by combining trivia and bingo to allow you to support your favorite cause just by playing. You can earn points by answering trivia questions correctly, and those points are converted into a donation for your chosen charity.

If you’d rather help by donating your time to a cause, the VolunteerMatch app is a great resource to connect with local charities looking for volunteers. Simply enter your location to see a list of local volunteer opportunities from a database of nearly 100,000 nonprofit organizations across the U.S.

Every day, countless nonprofit organizations are doing their part to help those in need, and it’s important to remember that no matter how you choose to contribute, even a little can go a long way.