Be Well, Do Good

I admitted to you a few weeks ago that I’m not the most tech savvy person on the planet.  I’m kind of slow on the uptake regarding smart phone apps, but as more and more people ask me for recommendations about them, I try to educate myself.  There’s certainly no shortage of fitness and wellness options out there.  From tracking what you eat to how many calories you expend while doing various exercises, it can all be right at your fingertips.  Many of these nutrition and fitness apps vary quite little in their capabilities—it’s more the interface and the prepopulated databases of foods and activities that make people prefer one to another.

A few weeks ago, I learned about a fitness app that really got my attention: Charity Miles.  It was developed right here in my beloved Austin, Texas, and it combines two things that I love about my fair city—fitness and a generous spirit.  The premise is simple: you carry your phone with you while you walk, run, or cycle, and the GPS feature of the app calculates your distance.   Then, based on your distance, money is donated to one of a select group of charities that you designate.  Here’s the amazing part: it’s not the exerciser doing the donating; it’s one of the backers the Charity Miles app.

The app developers are smart—they have figured out that the way to ensure the corporations footing the bill for your exercise is to require the users to share their interaction with the app (via a social media outlet like Facebook or Twitter) in order for the workout to be logged and the funds to be donated.  In doing so, the users spread the word of the app and the donors are credited.  Brilliant!

Even more impressive is that the first one million dollars to donate is being put up by the app developers themselves along with some private investors.  The success of Charity Miles will be in attracting corporations to donate to the purse and receive the positive social media attention built into the app.

With the explosion in charity races and organizations like Team in Training that combine a fitness goal with fundraising, it’s no surprise that Charity Miles was developed.  People are motivated by feeling part of a larger cause, and this app allows people to participate in philanthropy even when their financial means are limited.  I would have *loved* Charity Miles when I was a poor grad student training for my first marathon!

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve used Charity Miles.   If you haven’t, are you likely to download it and give it a try?


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