Thankfully, there are also apps out there that are helping individuals to change the world for the better. We’ve talked about apps that you can use to reduce your carbon footprint, but what about apps that help you actively contribute to other kinds of social change?
Here are a few of our favorite apps that empower you to make an impact through your smart phone:
Apps That Expose Abuse & Corruption
The ACLU recently released an app that allows users to record video from their phones that will be sent directly to the ACLU for review. The app is intended to give users the ability to record ‘overzealous’ police activity discreetly. Once you pull up the app and start recording, it disappears from your screen so it’s not obvious, and the recording stops when you shake your device. Video taken with the app is automatically sent to the ACLU, in case your phone is apprehended in the middle of a recording. The app also provides information about citizens’ rights surrounding recording police officers, so you can stay informed about what you can and cannot do legally in your state.
To date, the app has been launched in California, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Oregon, with more states planning to roll it out in the coming months. It is especially relevant as increased reports of police brutality come to light. Just a few weeks ago, Freddie Gray was taken into custody in Baltimore, where he died as a result of a fatal spinal injury. As in many of these cases, the decision to try and/or convict the police may depend on video evidence from bystanders. This app aims to make it easier for citizens to record abuse and increase accountability on the part of the police force.
Greenhouse, an app developed by 16-year-old Nick Rubin, aims to expose donation-based corruption in Congress. Greenhouse is not an app, but a browser plug-in that allows users to learn more about Congress members while reading an article where their name is mentioned. When they click through, they’ll have access to a breakdown of that individual’s campaign contributions, including amount and industry.
The goal of the app is to increase transparency and accountability in politics, shedding light on the reasons our political leaders may be making the decisions they’re making, thereby better informing voters for election time.
Download the plug-in here.
Apps for Giving Through Your Daily Routine
Most of us take photos on our smart phones and share them on various online platforms every single day. The Donate a Photo app, developed by Johnson & Johnson, allows you to channel that practice for good.
Here’s how it works: Each day, you can upload one new photo to the app, which you’ll share on your social media feeds. Every time you share a photo through the app, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 to a cause that you’ve selected from their curated list of trusted causes. Through this process, both Johnson & Johnson’s giving program and the cause you’ve selected gain visibility.
Are you into running, walking, or biking? If so, you have to download the Charity Miles app, which gives to causes that you’re passionate about for every mile that you move.
All you have to do is download the app, select the charity that you want to contribute to, and get moving. Then, Charity Miles will donate 10 cents to the charity of your choice for every mile that you bike, and 25 cents for every mile that you run or walk. After you’re done with your run, walk, or ride, you just have to share with your friends.
Many smart phone users have grown accustomed to “checking in” at various locations on their social networks. With some networks, this process is gamified so you are rewarded the more you check in, and with others, it’s simply a way to let others know where you are. But what if checking in at your favorite spots allowed you to do some good? Enter the Check-in for Good app.
With this app, participating businesses agree to donate $1 to the charity of their choice every time a customer checks in with their GPS location. The app allows users to browse participating businesses in their area, so they can select those that support causes they are passionate about. In turn, it gives these businesses additional visibility amongst the platform’s audience.
Apps That Make Us Better Consumers
If you’re like the WhyWhisper team, food is one of the main things that you share photos of on your social networks. We love a photo of a delicious meal, and think it’s an excellent way to spread the word about amazing restaurant finds to our friends.
For every photo that you share on social media through Feedie, they will make a donation equal to one meal to The Lunchbox Fund, a non-profit that provides meals to orphaned and vulnerable children in rural South African villages. As with many of the other apps we’ve mentioned, Feedie requires users to share images of their food with their social networks through the app. For every share, a child in need will get a full meal.
While the TangoTab app also donates meals to those in need, the concept is different than Feedie’s. Rather than encouraging users to share photos of their meals, TangoTab encourages people to dine out at participating restaurants in exchange for donations.
With TangoTab, all you have to do is enter your location to find local deals, such as 20% off an entrée or a free drink at participating restaurants. Then, redeem the deal of your choice at that restaurant. Every time that you use a deal, TangoTab will donate a meal to someone who needs it from its list of trusted charities in the area. TangoTab is currently active in Dallas, Fort Worth, New York, Hoboken, Chicago, Oklahoma City, and Los Angeles, with hopes of expansion.
Selected by the Global Fund for Women as the winner of their 2014 International Girls Hackathon, this app has been described as a “Feminist Yelp.” Developed by a group of young Brazilian women, the idea is that the app will allow users to make note of establishments that they’ve been to where they have experienced physical or verbal harassment from either other patrons or employees. Then, other users can log in to the app before they go out somewhere, and avoid places where harassment has happened or seems to be a recurring issue.
The app is currently in development with a goal of going live for major cities within the next six months. Stay on the lookout for its release!
These are just a few of the many apps out there that we can use for social good. Do you know of others? Share with us, and we’ll spread the word! Here’s how: