April 30, 2019

7 apps that make it easy to do good

Looking for small ways to help people? Simply hit download.

Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images

You already know the importance of giving back. And even doing small things can provide a huge amount of help. Each of these seven apps will help you help others in different ways. All apps are free to download for both iOS and Android operating systems.

1. Share your food with those in need

You’ve heard of ridesharing and home sharing, but what about food sharing? The Olio app facilitates food sharing between individuals and local shops in the same area. Food sharing serve three purposes: It provides food to those who need, reduces food waste, and helps neighbors connect to each other and build stronger community bonds. Households and businesses can snap photos of food they have available and someone can come by and pick it up. And if you need some food, simply browse what’s available and message to arrange a pickup.

2. Help blind people see

The Be My Eyes app has 2 million people volunteering their eyes to those with sight loss. The app lets people who have low vision or blindness ask questions and make requests through a video call. The volunteers help with everyday tasks like reading mail and distinguishing colors as well as assist with bigger things like navigating new surroundings. The app is available in over 150 countries and 180 languages, making app users part of a global volunteer network.

3. Run for a reason

Even if you haven’t signed up for a charity 5k, you can still give back by hitting the pavement. The Charity Miles app tracks your movement and for every mile logged, a dollar is given to one of 40 charities of your choice. Corporate sponsors make the monetary donations possible. Running isn’t your thing? Lower impact exercises count, too, like walking and biking. The point is to get moving and to raise funds for a worthy cause.

4. Sleep your way to a cure 

The Dream Lab app lets you donate something to a good cause: Your smartphone’s computing power. Scientists need massive amounts of this computing power to crunch data in order to solve the really big problems. Dream Lab focuses on research for cancer cures. The app lets you choose a specific type of cancer research you want to support and how much data Dream Lab can use. Plug in and connect your phone while you’re sleeping.

5. Reach out and fight loneliness

The Wakie app is billed as a safe space to talk about what you want and make friends. It might seem like that’s available on any social network, but by facilitating actual voice-based conversations, Wakie helps forge genuine connections between people. Building human connections like these are important for combating loneliness and improving mental health. While some people have specific conversation goals in mind—practicing a foreign language, feedback on a creative project—the result is always a mood-boosting encounter and the chance to help others and make friends.

6. Donate some spare change

If you’re looking for an easy way to donate more money to good causes, try the RoundupApp. The app creates spare change in a cashless world by rounding up your debit and credit card purchases, then the rounded up change is donated at the end of the month. There is a some leg work before you get started. Users must select a nonprofit in advance, or if the one they want to donate to isn’t listed, they can suggest a nonprofit to add to the list. The App also requires users to securely link their bank accounts and credit cards. But once established, the app makes giving back a breeze.

7. Figure out the best place for you to keep giving back

Want to start volunteering but not sure where to actually get started? Golden Volunteer Opportunities is an app that lets you search for organizations to volunteer with, customized by time, location, friends, interests, and skills. When you’ve found the right fit, press the “Down to volunteer” button and get started. Nonprofits can also use the app to find the best volunteers for their organization and keep track of their activity.

Caitlin Fairchild

Caitlin Fairchild is the deputy editor of The Renewal Project.
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