App-etite: Canadian Red Cross solicits donations to go

The aid relief agency is hoping that peer-to-peer pressure will spur people to donate.

Peer pressure is often portrayed as a bad thing, but it’s not always so. In an effort to reach socially connected Canadians more effectively, the Canadian Red Cross has launched a new app that targets people’s propensity to donate more generously when solicited by friends.

Here, Almin Surani, CIO, Canadian Red Cross, tells MiC about why the organization developed the app and what it means for the organization’s fundraising efforts.

MiC: Tell us about your app: Why did you develop it and what does it do?

AS: What the app does is give people the ability to conduct peer-to-peer fundraising. They download the app, and it can connect with their contact list on their iPhone, or their FB friends or Twitter followers, and they can spread the word to raise funds for Red Cross through those channels.

MiC: Why did you develop it?

AS: For two reasons. Generally when people ask their friends to give money for a cause, we see a higher per-person donation than if we just put out a general e-blast or request. [We found] in Haiti that unsolicited donations were lower than if they were generated via a peer-to-peer request. Peer-to-peer requests were usually 20% to 30% higher.

We developed the app because, with the increase in mobile devices, it just made sense. When there’s a disaster, the first hours and days are critical. By having that mobile ability, it’s very quick for people to make a donation.

MiC: How do you see this app evolving, going forward?

AS: I see us moving it to other platforms like BlackBerry and Android and supplementing it with a text-to-donate campaign so it’s the full mobile platform.

App-etite is an ongoing MiC series dedicated to covering branded mobile applications. For a bird’s eye view of branded apps in Canada, just type ‘App-etite’ into the website search.