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Published on April 4th, 2016 | by Emma Rosser


5 Startups That Give To Charity In Innovative Ways

Emma Rosser is a Staff Writer at Publicize, which is a startup aiming to change the way companies approach PR. Publicize has worked with a dozen+ Y Combinator startups and leading brands such as Hallmark Cards.


Charitable giving is a $335 billion industry, but in today’s startup ecosystem where businesses have to fight for market space and VC support, social responsibility is often just an afterthought.

While established companies may have greater resources that help them to satisfy the philanthropic urge, this doesn’t mean it is impossible for startups to contribute.

Many tech startups are using innovative new ways to donate to charity; pioneering business models and technologies that involve making donations from their own pockets, and also helping individuals and business to give to charity.

Omaze, one of the few startups hoping to improve business giving with crowdsourced solutions, reports that just 6% of U.S. individual charitable giving takes place online.

The founders describe the company as “charity-giving meets Kickstarter.” Any person can bid just $10 for the chance to win a one-of-a-kind experience – past prices include the opportunity to cameo in Star Wars: Episode 7 and dine with retired Laker’s icon Magic Johnson. Omaze are using new technology to connect givers with those in need, representing a new wave of startups that are helping to raise social awareness and giving back.

Here are five more startups using innovative ways that are changing the face of charitable giving.

  1. Doofl: Bringing Fun To Fundraising

Doofl is a mobile fundraising app in which users make fun “dares” or challenges with social network contacts to raise money for their favorite charity.

By adding the element of a dare, the founders say that the action of donating becomes more exciting – everyone can get involved. The whole process takes just five simple steps, and in less than three minutes you can select your charity, create your own dare-bared fundraiser and let the countdown begin.

People who accept the challenges film themselves on their smartphones and then share it with the Dooft community to prove they completed the dare, releasing the money which is then processed and sent to their selected charity.

  1. Kout: Changing The Face Of Ecommerce Gamification

Kout provides gamification technology that lets any online shopper turn an Amazon product into a potential prize through downloading a simple Chrome plug-in.

Kout launched in 2015 with a mission to change the way that people view gamification in ecommerce. The founders say this industry has been tainted by the bidder auction sites that let users auction non-refundable payments for heavily discounted goods. This short-lived fad left a bitter taste with consumers, as businesses favored large margins over customer experiences.

Kout seeks to change this. As a part of their mission to do social good, they donate a proportion of their profits to charity.

  1. GoodWorld: #Donate Instantly Though Smart Integrations

GoodWorld is a new D.C. startup that makes donating to nonprofit groups even faster. Tweeting or posting on Facebook with the hashtag #donate followed by the selected @charity automatically sends the charity the specified amount.

First-time users simply register their details through GoodWorld’s easy sign-up, and are then ready to start donating to the site’s partner charities, using their social media accounts

GoodWorld leverages the social aspect of giving, seen in the viral campaigns such as the ALS ice bucket challenge, which raised a staggering $115 million. The technology makes it even easier for the connected world to take part in viral campaigns such as this, without ever having to leave the platform.

Of course, GoodWorld’s users don’t need to pour buckets of iced water over their heads. The idea here is that through sharing these posts users motivate others to give, and to share, driving a cycle of social giving that is possible in just a few seconds.

  1. Make Some Change: Users Earn Donations By Watching Ads

In today’s fast-paced, connected world, any type of video advert is usually seen as a major intrusion, an irritation, or at best, a bore. Australian startup Make Some Change is actually making people sit through these ads, all for charity of course.

Instead of watching the online ads as they appear, users can visit the site and each time they watch an advert earn a change coin to donate to their favorite fundraising project. Make Some Change offers users the chance to provide a week of school for an African child, fund a year of health for a family, provide a day’s food for a malnourished infant, and much more.

The community works together, accumulating donations that bring each project closer to its final completion. To date, players have given over $300k to Make Some Change fundraising projects.

  1. Startups Give Back: Community Volunteer Projects For Startup Teams

San Francisco-based Startups Give Back helps new businesses to get out of the office and connect with their local communities. The company promotes the importance of social awareness at networking events, while also bringing media attention to entrepreneurs and businesses.

This month Startups Give Back hosted its 3rd annual City Skyline Challenge, inviting Bay Area entrepreneurs, CEOs and leaders to rappel down a building in front of a huge cheering audience, raising funds for educational youth programs.

Startups Give Back believe philanthropy should be a priority, instead of an afterthought – and they have already helped employees from LinkedIn, Tune, Glassdoor and many more businesses to raise funds and awareness around this mission.

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