When I was growing up, volunteer work was just a part of my life. I started volunteering as a swim aide at age 11, and eventually spawned that into a college career as a swim instructor and head lifeguard. I enjoyed all of it so much, regardless of where it semi-professionally took me, I never even wanted to be rewarded for or brag about my volunteer work. I simply enjoyed it for what it was.
So when I first read on Mashable about an app that rewards you for volunteer work, I had to negotiate with my gag reflex as to not damage my computer. Once I gathered myself, I read up a little more on Cause.it, which is described as “A gamification-based mobile app that rewards volunteers’ hard work with discounts or other deals at local businesses.” Co-founders Gagan Dhillon and Andrew Blejde hadn’t quite convinced me yet of their program’s value, so I read on and was taken in my Dhillon’s words as reported by Mashable: “I always had an interest in mobile,” says Dhillon. “And we started thinking about how we could make something that was engaging and rewarding for volunteers. We came up with this platform where users can connect to new causes and earn points.”
Dhillon elaborated, “If I’m going to local cafe every day, and I care about animals, then my local cafe can start targeting its activity toward animals,” says Dhillon. “It’s not a revolutionary idea, but I haven’t seen many companies providing that data. There are chains that we’ve talked to that care about a cause, and [Cause.it] is a great way to let people know about that.”
So, I’m starting to truly see the value at this point. Social media has taken over so much of how people live out their lives. Who am I to judge a company that is encouraging volunteerism? It would be wonderful if everyone did it out of the kindness of his or her heart. However, if this promotes altruism, even if users are receiving a small discount at their favorite café or other hot spot, I’m all for it.
After all, by receiving a discount at your favorite place shows that they also support what you’re doing, because they do have to pay for being a part of Cause.it. It really does entice you more to continue spending money in the establishment because you know it appreciates the causes you do. Win-win-win. Done.