Introducing VolunCharity

Doug Sandlin
Jun 16 · 6 min read

What We’re Building, Why It Matters, And How You Can Help

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Image Credit: Copyright VolunCharity 2020

tl;dr

The name VolunCharity is derived from Volunteering and Charity. We’re building a mobile and web app which will have social sharing features and game-like rewards and incentives, making giving and volunteering fun, motivating and habit-forming. The VolunCharity app will also offer tracking of volunteer hours, activities, authorizations and donations for nonprofits and other organizations, along with in-app donation features.

The VolunCharity Story

The Idea

Just under a year ago, Brad Lord was on a long drive by himself, and he got to thinking about what he wanted to do with his life, and how he could have a beneficial impact.

As is the case for many of us, Brad’s initial thoughts were doing things centered around “making the world a better place” and “doing good in the world.”

Many people stop there, but Brad kept going.

He started thinking about what he knew, specifically, that could potentially add value to the ways that charity currently happens. What are charities’ biggest problems? What simple app-based solutions might help to solve those problems?

Being involved in technical project management for years, and being aware that a lot of charity work is conducted in a very “low tech” way, Brad went deeper, and started thinking about how charity might be improved overall, and even extended, via a new kind of software platform, and leading with a fun, easy to use mobile and web-based app.

The Team

Brad knew he would need help to actually build his vision, and he made a short list of the people he’d like to have on his “A-Team”.

People who had big hearts, who were smart, who had tech and management experience, and who would be happy to put in a lot of upfront effort without initially being paid.

The six other people Brad contacted were not only willing, but downright inspired. And thus, the initial VolunCharity team was born.

The Conversations

The next step was finding out if anyone thought that this new app idea was actually a good idea. So the VolunCharity team started talking to family, friends, people who work for non-profits, business acquaintances and more.

No one thought it was a bad idea, and the people who thought it was a good idea often described why they felt that way.

People who find it difficult to both discover and schedule ways to volunteer, with organizations they feel truly motivated to support.

Nonprofits that have half or less of registered volunteers show up for events.

Law enforcement officers who are frustrated with having to track volunteers with pen and paper.

Donors who feel that online donation options are hard or confusing to use.

In short, in talking with people such as these over time, the entire VolunCharity team is becoming more motivated to build this app, with each conversation.

The Nonprofit Organization

VolunCharity, Inc. sounds a lot like a tech startup, mostly because, at essence, that’s what we are.

But we also chose to incorporate as a non-profit, and to become a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.

Why? Because for-profit startups have no choice but to make it about the money — but that’s not why we’re here.

VolunCharity exists to help enhance and increase total charitable activities, via creative use of gamification, combined with simple yet powerful management tools for nonprofits.

What VolunCharity Is Building

The initial VolunCharity app will be an open source mobile and web app:

1. Connecting volunteers/donors and nonprofits with each other with fun, motivational features. This approach is known as “gamification”, which just means “making non-game apps more like games, thereby making them fun and habit-forming”.

People will like volunteering and donating even more if they get points and other rewards for doing so. They will therefore volunteer and donate more, and these activities will become habits.

As more and more people do this over time, the total amount of charity (volunteering, donating and other giving) will increase.

That’s how Duolingo went from being just another language app to teaching foreign language to more students than the entire U.S. school system.

It’s why, for the last ten years, the video game industry has earned more than Hollywood and the music industry — combined.

2. Providing an interface for volunteer hours and effort, to be scheduled, tracked, approved and managed, which can also be exported for official purposes. Example: a person on probation has to show their probation officer proof that they completed a required number of volunteer hours. The VolunCharity app will enable simple, verified reports that include volunteer supervisor approval, and a rating of the volunteer’s performance. Volunteers will also be able to socially share their volunteer experiences via existing social media channels.

3. Offering the immediacy of in-app donation will inspire motivated donors to give right then and there. Nonprofits will be able to offer inspirational content in their profile or campaign details that will motivate donors to take action at that moment. An in-app donation system will also make it easier for donors who don’t want to leave the VolunCharity app and go to a separate app or website, just to give a donation to the nonprofit that is inspiring them right now.

What We Need (How You Can Help)

VolunCharity is ready to start building the app described above. And, as described above, the entire VolunCharity team is becoming more motivated to build this app with each conversation we have with future users.

We enthusiastic about the possibility that countless people will benefit from the VolunCharity app, along with the more extensive set of features and benefits we have planned over time.

If VolunCharity sounds interesting to you, we could really use your help with any or all of the following:

  • Programming
  • UI and other aspects of app development
  • Social media promotion
  • Community building

If you’d like to volunteer in any of the above areas with VolunCharity, or if you have any other creative ideas that might help our mission, please email info@voluncharity.org with details on what you’d like to help us with, and a bit about your related skills.

You can offer a one time or recurring donation on the VolunCharity website. We also accept cryptocurrency donations.

If you are interested in potentially donating and funding VolunCharity at a larger level, please contact Doug Sandlin, Chief Development Officer, at doug@voluncharity.org to set up a time to talk.

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And, as always, any and all of the above are deeply appreciated.

VolunCharity — together, we’re making the world a better place!

Conclusion

We hope you’ve enjoyed this initial overview of VolunCharity and what we’re building. Please stay tuned (and follow us on Medium) to see our upcoming posts, which will go into a lot more detail on what we have planned, and on our progress. Thanks for reading, and have an amazing day!

If you would like to receive VolunCharity’s updates directly, please click here to subscribe.

About VolunCharity

VolunCharity, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation with offices in San Antonio, Texas and Allentown, Pennsylvania. VolunCharity is creating a uniquely empowered technical infrastructure, including mobile apps, connecting volunteers and donors with nonprofits, NGOs, and other socially beneficial projects, more easily and seamlessly than ever before.

All donations are tax deductible in the U.S., and any support is deeply appreciated.

And you can now support VolunCharity with your Amazon purchases at no cost to you, via smile.amazon.com — just select VolunCharity as your charity of choice, and Amazon will contribute a small percentage of every purchase you make.

VolunCharity

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