Find time to share your skills and expertise for social good with these apps.
by Portia Ladrido
The internet has always been a double-edged sword. On one hand, it has enabled people to anonymously harm one another online, but on the other, it has also propelled humans to take action on issues they care about. As any innovation, particularly technological advances, there are side effects that cannot be avoided. However, the many good things that technology has allowed people to do cannot be dismissed.
Technology has supported positive progress in various sectors, one of which is in the realm of volunteering. When you’re feeling disempowered by all the dread that’s happening in the world, shake this helplessness off for a little while through joining volunteer groups with just a couple of swipes on your phone.
Here’s a list of apps that can help you identify volunteering opportunities that you can help in and also learn from.
A charity project by Google, this app allows the user to simply give money directly to organisations that could change people’s lives. The app features a new organisation or nonprofit every day and encourages the user to make tax-deductible donations.
Through GiveGab, the user is connected with over 400,000 nonprofits based on the person’s profile and interests. It pretty much works like a social networking app as you can also post photos of when you’re volunteering and share it to the network. If you’re tired of always wastefully going up and down your Facebook feed, maybe it’s time to spend some time on this instead.
The GoodSAM app enables two kinds of people who can help — the one that can provide expertise (Responder) and the one who is witness to a situation where help is needed (Alerter). The Responders are off duty doctors, first-aiders, or other assistive citizens that can serve medical situations or emergencies around them. The Alerters are the ones who may be present in an emergency situation but cannot necessarily perform the help needed, so he or she uses the app to alert the responder.
The Involver calls itself a ‘nonprofit hub’. Much like GiveGab, it allows the user to customise which volunteering groups he or she can get involved with by picking causes or areas of interest. The app is intuitive and makes it simple for any would-be volunteer to sift through the volumes of organisations available.
Once the Be My Eyes app is installed and is running on your phone, the user will receive a video call from a low vision or completely blind user who needs assistance. The assistance needed can range from simply identifying a colour of a thread to helping someone get out of the door. Once the user has assisted a person, points are added as rewards. In 2016, there have already been 24.2k registered blind users, but some volunteers may also not receive a call as there are more volunteers at the moment than blind users.
The app is a product of the American Red Cross’ efforts to widen and strengthen their community reach. It is tailored for volunteers who are already working within the American Red Cross space, so if you’re keen to be part of one of the biggest humanitarian aid agencies in the world, this may be the app for you. In the app, users can register for shifts, submit volunteering hours, and essentially cuts out the middlemen usually necessary for volunteering processes in the Red Cross.
If you’re the type of social media user who spends an ample amount of time capturing that perfect Instagrammable food, then Feedie could make this hobby of yours even more purposeful. If you eat at restaurants who participate in this app, all you have t o do is take a photo of your plated food, upload it on your social sites, and the app donates $1 to The Lunchbox Fund, a nonprofit that helps children in South Africa.
Portia Ladrido is a multimedia journalist specialising in social justice, culture, and the arts. She is a human rights journalism fellow at the Philippine Human Rights Information Center and the Metro Manila hub coordinator of the Solutions Journalism Network. She currently writes speeches for the Philippines’ first female socialist senator. Previously, she worked as an editor and writer at CNN Philippines.