Man using his phone with laptop in the background

How smartphones are changing the world, one nonprofit app at a time.

I might leave home without my keys or my purse, but what I always have with me is my cell phone. If you look around at restaurants, when you’re driving, or just walking on the beach, you’ll likely see the majority of people on their phones. Let’s face it – we’ve become a generation of “noses in our phones.” Clearly, there is a time and place to be on your phone (driving isn’t one of them), but why not use your phone to help others?

Did you know that every time you walk your dog, you could donate money to an animal shelter of your choosing? Or, if you aren’t using your phone, you can be giving clean water to children in need? Nonprofits are building mobile apps and responsive static webpages that integrate your daily activities and helping those in need. While not many nonprofits have jumped on the bandwagon of investing in their own apps due to expenses, the ones that have, have success stories to share:

Take Your Walk for a Dog:
You give your dog treats, so why not give the local shelter a treat, too? This smartphone app donates money every time you walk your dog to an animal shelter or rescue village of your choosing. It’s not only an app that promotes healthy interaction between dogs and their owners, but raises money every day.

The UNICEF Tap Project:
UNICEF is challenging you to give up access to something far less vital than water: your cell phone. (Why not do this while you’re driving?) This is a nationwide campaign that provides clean water and adequate sanitation to children around the world. All you have to do is download the Tap Project app and stop using your phone – and challenge others! The longer you go without touching your smartphone, the more clean water will be unlocked – instead of posting 6000+ million Facebook photos.

Monterey Bay Aquarium:
Instead of creating an app that explores its facilities, Monterey Bay created an app that explores sustainable seafood and recommends seafood and sushi restaurants that serve sustainable seafood. This is helping people make an everyday difference while they enjoy delicious seafood.

These nonprofits have teamed up with third party app developers and have created specific apps to support their mission, fundraise and create an impact. The top apps include:

Charity Miles:
This app tracks mileage when you bike, run or walk, and unlocks up to $1 million in the sponsorship pool (the app allows a user to raise up to $1 million in sponsorship/fundraising from an individual organization). Organizations like use this app for their endurance fundraisers.

Donate a Photo:
For every photo you share through Donate a Photo, Johnson & Johnson gives $1 to a cause you want to help. Their website shows the active causes you can help including safe drinking water, healthcare, low-income families and schools.

Google’s One Today:
This app enables an organization to create a project or campaign to fund. It also allows individuals to contribute $1 a day to projects or organizations they choose.

This is just a snapshot; there are many charity fundraising apps to choose from, but be sure to pick the app that matches your charity’s goals. Think about what a world would look like if you could go about your daily activities and donate money every step of the way.