Smartphone Apps That Make Charitable Giving More Fun

Almost all of us have a smartphone. So lots of people have been working on integrating our phones with our love for supporting good causes. As a result, apps for charitable giving have increased and are easy to find. 

Here are several of my favorites. I picked these for ease-of-use, transparency, and dependability. Pick one or more and try them out. Make charitable giving an everyday affair.

One Today

Onetoday projects available on our smartphones.
Screenshot by JFritz

One Today comes from Google and is as slick and beautiful as you would expect. It can be used with Apple products as well as Android.

Give $1 or more per day to your choice of pre-selected charities with this app. Google vets the charities so you can be sure your money is in good hands. You can even set up a matching gift and urge your friends to donate. Sharing your charitable act with your social networks is easy.

What’s to like: Charities receive all of the money donated because Google covers the transaction fee. You can set up daily alerts so you will remember to give. You can get a receipt for tax purposes at the end of the year. Your name is never shared with the charities you choose.

ShareTheMeal

Screenshot from ShareTheMeal showing number of meals served so far.

 ShareTheMeal Screenshot

ShareTheMeal fights global hunger through the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). The concept is simple. Tap the app on your phone and give 50 cents. That will feed one child for one day.

Why not use the app whenever you sit down to a meal? Help feed the hundreds of thousands of hungry people in the world.

What’s to like: It’s simple, and grants and partner companies cover the costs. 

Donate a Photo

Photos in the Donate a Pholo Gallery
Screenshot by JFritz

This app is a keeper for sure.  What do we do with our phones? Take photos and more photos. Here’s a way to turn them into charitable do-gooding.  And it costs nothing. That's because Johnson & Johnson sponsors this app.

For every photo you send to J&J’s website with this app, the company donates $1 to a good cause.  And those causes are many.  You pick the cause you want to help from the curated list J&J has assembled. The only hard part is that you can donate only one photo per day.

Your photo ends up in an online gallery, but it’s safe there.  You can also share what you’re doing with friends and family so they can share their photos too. Browse through the gallery of photos for a shot of good feelings.

What’s to like:  Everything! Free, easy to do, fits right into our lifestyles.

Charity Miles

Charity Miles is a smartphone app for charitable giving
Screenshot by JFritz

Charity Miles was one of the first charity apps, and it has proven to be quite popular. You run, walk, bike, whatever, and a small amount of money gets donated to a charity for each mile. Run in a group or belong to a running club? Charity Miles makes a great addition to the experience.
You don’t donate yourself. Corporations do that. So easy, peasy. You can choose the charity you wish to support from those preselected by Charity Miles. 

What’s to like: No money! No credit cards! Just move around, and contributions happen.

GiveTide

Screenshot of GiveTide website
 GiveTide

Giving to charity can be as easy as rounding up a purchase and donating that amount to a charity of your choice.

That’s what this clever app does for you. Just download the app, connect a credit or debit card, and start shopping. Each purchase will be rounded up to the nearest dollar, and the change donated.

GiveTide rides the wave of interest in managing our money the mobile way. The organization prides itself on ease of use, small processing fees, and complete transparency along the way. You also have a lot of control. You can arrange an auto roundup at the end of the week, or adjust the number of times a roundup occurs during the week. You can make the app work for your budget.

There is no cost to donors when you give via this app. There is a fee for charities that comes off the top of the donation. That is true for most donations made through any third-party provider.

However, GiveTide fees are low. You can read all about the fees and the process in the FAQ section on the GiveTide website.

What's to like: It's easy, satisfies that money management urge, and supports great causes.

Beam

Screen grab of Beam, a smartphone app.

 Screenshot of Beam Website

Beam, a relatively new social impact app for your smartphone, makes giving while shopping easy.

Beam partners with retail brands such as IKEA, Think Coffee and Dig Inn that have social as well as commercial purposes. You can link a credit card to Beam, and then when you shop at a partner brand, you'll be pinged and offered several nonprofit causes from which to choose. Then one percent of your purchase price goes to that nonprofit. It doesn't cost you anything or the cause you choose.

Beam picks nonprofit causes with their retail partners. Those causes have been vetted by third-party raters, such as Charity Navigator. If you want one of your favorite charities added, you can ask Beam to consider it.

What's to like: It's easy, once you set it up, and turns everyday shopping and eating into charitable acts.