Causeworld: Using location-based apps to raise money for charity

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Image by jcolman via Flickr

Location-based apps and social media tools? If you haven’t heard of them you soon will. They use the GPS functionality of the iPhone - and the sharper developers have made them platform agnostic; compatible on Android, Palm and Blackberry.

The user registers on the site then “checks-in” with their geographic location to let their friends know where they are. The idea is if you can see your friends are in the vicinity of your current location you can arrange to meet up. You can also see interesting places others are visiting. There are other neat ideas like if you have visited a location more than anyone else you are named the “Mayor” of that location or retailers nearby by your current checked-in location can offer you rewards to visit them.

We’ve written before about how we think 2010 is the year of location-based social media tools. Foursquare it appears will be the defacto as it increases its prominence over others such as Gowalla and loopt as the location aware app of choice. Foursquare is even being spoken about in some circles as the new Twitter.

One of the more interesting applications of this type in my opinion is Causeworld. This app combines the gaming interest of the location aware app along with a feel good factor of donating to a cause simply by visiting certain shops or restaurants or scanning a particular product barcode.

Causeworld has initially been sponsored by some big names such as Kraft, P&G and Citi. The user earns “karma” points based upon visiting certain locations. Users can then donate the karmas to a choice of not-for-profits who in turn can convert the karmas to real money.

Over 300,000 have downloaded the app since December and hundreds of thousands of Dollars are given away to good causes each month.

As far as I understand it is only being used in the US right now but would expect it over here very shortly. In my mind doing my bit for a good cause by visiting a shop or a restaurant beats a 10K run anyday.

Like anything first mover advantage is everything so I look forward to the first charity in the UK becoming part of this.

  • Gowalla battles Foursquare (guardian.co.uk)
  • CauseWorld: Checking in for Charity (readwriteweb.com)
  • CauseWorld Helps Nonprofits Through Social Networking (life.firelace.com)
  • Location-awareness takes SXSW by storm (lostremote.com)
  • The History of Location Technology [INFOGRAPHIC] (mashable.com)
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