Small Change: An App Where Little Donations Can Make a Big Difference

imageTwo weekends ago, Giveffect was part of Battle Hack, PayPal’s global hackathon, which brings together developers around the world and tasks them with developing a mobile app for social good that incorporates the PayPal application programming interface. PayPal’s inaugural Canada region Battle Hack took place in Toronto.

Given the theme of this hackathon, the team saw a perfect alignment with our mission as a tech company that builds social-good software solutions for charities and corporations. We came in second place against 300 competitors from across Canada and even snatched up an additional “Most Progress Award” for developing an outstanding product under the time crunch.

So what exactly did we build? Small Change, a micro-crowdfunding mobile application that connects elementary-school-kids with local charitable causes.

The inspiration behind the app came from how young kids were using Giveffect’s crowdfunding platform to give back. The way it works is parents download the app for their kids and purchase credits in the form of balloons, where one balloon is the equivalent of $1. Once the app is pre-loaded with balloons, kids can begin to discover and browse projects on their mobile devices.

If kids decide to fund a project, they can give it a balloon. Once the project accumulates enough balloons, it will “Take Off.” The Small Change app wants kids to understand that a dollar isn’t just a dollar. Small change from a collective community of people can make the impossible, possible.

Projects are uploaded onto the app via a back-end charity log-in. Charities can begin to enter projects as specific line items under one of five categories: Health, Education, Hunger, Community and Animal Welfare. Furthermore, all projects must be tangible in nature and cannot exceed a funding goal of $100 (remember, it’s micro-crowdfunding). Now if you’re worried about the over-generous child, you should know that the Small Change app has a parental setting whereby you can limit a child’s funding to one balloon per day.

Nonprofits often express the challenge in engaging with what they consider to be the future of philanthropy: young kids. Not only is micro-crowdfunding most suited to tap into this demographic, the social gamification features of the Small Change app makes it fun and engaging as well. The idea is to get kids hooked on the habit of giving back to charitable causes daily rather than random donations. Imagine if every child gave a dollar a day? That’s some serious change we’re talking about.

“We hope that Small Change will facilitate open dialogue between parents and children with regards to why they chose to fund specific projects and what inspires them to give back,” says Kevin Shin, cofounder of Giveffect.