The holiday season rightly makes people think about how they can give to others. Charitable organizations are emulating the ease at which you can shop from your phone by offering their donation services right from their mobile apps. So you really have no excuse not to help people who need it.
But navigating the world of charity can sometimes feel uncertain, as you want to make sure that your money is going to a reputable cause and not a fraudulent scheme. If you’re unsure of where to start, here are five solid apps that go to worthwhile charities. They’re strong at offering transparency about their causes and offering you ways other than money to give of yourself.
If you want a good place to start, go with ShareTheMeal. The app supports the United Nations World Food Program, which not only provides meals in challenging places throughout the globe but also tries to support communities in producing their own food sources.
The app does more than just serve as a digital collection plate. There’s some gamification involved, as you unlock achievements through regular contributions and can create a team of friends to challenge one another to support particular causes. ShareTheMeal also also tracks the regions where your contributions are making an impact so you see a tangible result to what you’ve been doing.
One Today by Google
Google has gotten in on the giving act as well. The One Today by Google app is designed to help you make an impulse buy, but this time for a good cause. You can select particular types of charitable work you like to support, such as animals, education, the environment, poverty, science, or other causes.
The app will then ping you daily with a new initiative that may pique your interest. You can make a donation or try to rally a bunch of your friends and family members to join in. One Today is well-designed and contains a lot of educational material that can school you in the types of needs that are out there.
Money isn’t the only way to help others out. Blood donation is often in high demand during the holiday season as hospitals meet the needs of patients who have encountered some type of unforeseen accident. It also gives you a way to tangibly impact the community that you live in.
The Blood Donor app from the American Red Cross can reduce the intimidation that may come with arranging a time to get stuck with a needle. It helps you find locations to schedule an appointment that are near you. If you want to learn more about the process of where your blood goes, there’s a “blood journey” section of the app that traces it from the donation through to distribution (the app cautions not all clinics support this feature).
Companies can also use the app to create a team challenge to rally co-workers to the cause. Another side benefit of blood donation: most clinics offer excellent snacks to help you recover after you part with your pint.
Charity Miles Walk & Run Tracker
This app wants to make you healthier and more generous. When you are about to go out for a run, bike, or another activity, the statistics you generate is translated into a donation for the several causes supported inside of Charity Miles.
The app offers you a chance to support a large number of partners like the ASPCA, Stand Up To Cancer, and the American Diabetes Organization. Once you choose a charity, your successive workouts earn money as long as you keep sweating it out.
Donate a Photo
You’ve probably got plenty of photos sitting there on your smartphone. Donate a Photo lets you do some actual good with them. When you submit a photo through the app, which is run by Johnson & Johnson, it translates into a donation for any number of local or international causes. Recent examples include assisting the Tennessee wildfire victims and providing funding for AIDS medication.
Johnson & Johnson says the photos you donate are used solely to promote charitable causes and won’t be part of the company’s commercial efforts. They’re more for window dressing the causes that all of the app’s users can support. If you don’t want to share selfies or other personal pictures, try out some some landscapes or other scenic pictures you don’t mind others seeing.
If nothing else, this little exercise demonstrates that finding the right cause doesn’t have to be too difficult. You can donate to a reputable cause with ease, and it may not even cost you any money to do so. Just grab your smartphone and get ready to do some good.