Last month I made a prediction that we might see fundraisers with Foursquare or some other location-based mobile social network with gaming element. Looks like my observation of fundraising 2.0 trends of 2009 and my 2010 predictions are on track. TechCrunch just wrote about a new mobile application called CauseWorld.
Here’s how it works:
CauseWorld app users earn “karma points” when they walk into stores and check in with their cell phone. No purchase is required at any store, and karma points can be redeemed nine predefined good causes. Big brands like Kraft Foods and Citi (both are on board) then turn the karmas into real dollar donations to those causes. Food for poor families, water in Sudan, trees in the Amazon, etc. are examples of the causes.
Like foursquare and gowalla, you open the application on your phone and see local businesses (instead of showing everything around you, CauseWorld only shows businesses that you can check into for karmas). Enter the store, check in, and get the karma points offered to you. Once you’ve collected enough karmas you can donate them to a variety of causes. And, of course, you get badges for various activities.
The causes that are supported are listed on CauseWorld — it’s a good mix of wildlife conservation, hunger and others.
This idea is really cool for a couple of reasons. The user doesn’t have to donate, but they’re leveraging a corporate donation. Sort of like embedded giving that Lucy Bernholz talks about, I think. The application is fun and well designed.
It doesn’t have a social element where you can see how many karma points your friends have within the app itself, although it uses Facebook Connect and you could opt to have your good deeds streamed on your wall. It might get more motivated if it had the leaderboard design that Foursquare has. Continue reading