SEATTLE — Chances are, you’ve seen people walking around playing Pokémon Go at some point this past week or have even been playing it yourself. It has become the largest mobile game in United States history and has even surpassed Twitter in its daily users. The game has been praised for useful side effects such as getting people to exercise, but what about using Pokémon Go for charity?
The designers of one app called Charity Miles has been taking advantage of the recent gaming craze by designing a Pokémon Go challenge, which can be viewed here. The way the app works is that users open the app and then go walking, running, or biking, and Charity Miles then donates to charity based on the distance the user travels. Each mile someone bikes, the app nets 10 cents and each mile covered by foot nets 25 cents. Additionally, users can pick the charity to which they want the app to donate.
All the challenge calls for is that people leave the Charity Miles app open in the background while playing Pokémon Go. Even though 10-25 to cents per mile does not seem like much, taking into account the 20 million or so users in the U.S. puts the potential amount of money that could be raised into perspective.
Charity generally has a hard time getting people to actually participate in it. Contributing to charity often takes a back seat in most people’s busy lives. Charity Miles allows people to benefit charities while playing Pokémon Go, which they would likely be playing anyway considering the popularity of the game.
Of course, actively working towards charitable causes for their own sake is desirable. Other organizations besides Charity Miles have found ways to harness Pokémon Go for their own purposes. For example, Muncie Animal Shelter is getting volunteers to walk their dogs while playing Pokémon Go.
Essentially, it’s possible to get people to do good in the world by appealing to their desire to play Pokémon Go. A community fundraising walking event could potentially draw more attention by making it Pokémon Go for Charity themed. The possibilities are endless; this innovative app can serve as a model for a plethora of other potential fundraising opportunities.
– Edmond Kim