With the new year comes exciting new challenges and opportunities. Many of us will choose to tackle those possibilities by making a resolution (or two, or three…) as we ring in 2014. Some of the more popular resolutions you might make this year include getting fit, changing jobs, being fearless or perhaps traveling to a new place. But why stop there? This year, consider adding a twist to that resolution and include a way to do more good and give back as part of your commitment!
It’s easier than you might think. In fact, for those who choose to get fit in the new year, there’s already an app to help you do good and get fit: Charity Miles. With this free app, anyone can become a sponsored athlete and help earn funding for popular nonprofit organizations, which is why I’m a big fan. It’s pretty simple too… If you can run, walk or bike, you can help a cause you care about.
How do you get started? Simply turn on the app, choose a charity, and press start. As you complete the activity, they’ll track your distance and the money earned. Bikers earn 10¢ a mile, and walkers and runners earn 25¢ a mile, up to the organization’s initial $1,000,000 sponsorship pool. So you don’t spend a dime. When you’re finished, accept your sponsorship, spread the word, and they’ll send you a note confirming your good work. It’s that quick and easy.
To learn more about Charity Miles I asked Gene Gurkoff, Founder and CEO of the company to share insights into his growing community and what makes this concept work.
How did you come up with the idea for Charity Miles?
In the past 11 years, I’ve run 39 marathons and six Ironman triathlons to raise money and awareness for Parkinson’s research, in honor of my grandfather. I’m fortunate to have friends and family who support me. But, by myself, I could never attract corporate sponsors. So, I thought of Charity Miles as a way to harness to collective passion of people like me and give us a platform to attract corporate sponsors.
How many people are participating in this community you’ve created and what do you hope it will achieve? How do partners like Timex play a role in the social change you’re facilitating?
We launched in June of 2012 with nine great charities—and 30 people using the app. We have since grown to 25 charities (adding our 26th next week) and more than 300,000 active members who have walked, run and biked enough Charity Miles to go from earth to the moon… and back… six times!
Our primary goal is to harness this collective energy to repurpose the mobile advertising market for social good. Companies want to spend their advertising budgets on social good, but they also need to drive a scalable and measurable return on investment. We enable them to do that far more efficiently (and authentically) than traditional ad networks. And thanks to our early sponsors like Timex Sports and Lifeway Foods, we have the numbers to prove it. Now, we have several major sponsors on deck for 2014—all of which are repurposing parts of their advertising budgets for Charity Miles.
Breaking the barriers between online engagement and real world action (or vice versa) is a big challenge for many organizations? How is Charity Miles tackling this issue?
Charity Miles is all about real world action. Our members actually walk, run or bike for a cause. Then they often share what they’ve done on social media. This raises awareness for their cause amongst their friends, some of which may also decide to take action—either through Charity Miles or something else.
We have a “Be Fearless” mantra here at the Case Foundation and encourage individuals and organizations to take risks, be bold, and fail forward. Can you share a moment during the development of Charity Miles when you made a choice to Be Fearless?
When we launched, we didn’t have any sponsors because we didn’t yet have any members. So my partner and I decided to sponsor the app ourselves in order to grow the member base to a size that would begin attracting corporate sponsors. It was a major gamble—with my entire life savings—but it worked. It allowed us to grow organically, win amazing awards like the SXSW People’s Choice Award, and now attract the corporate sponsors we need to take it to the next level.
Want to support Charity Miles and the great work they are doing? The Case Foundation is featuring Charity Miles as a partner in The 5 Giving Tuesdays campaign—the Foundation’s celebration of giving this holiday season! Enter today!