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Charitable App Lets Users Challenge Friends and Donate to Non-Profits

 The Budge application asks users to challenge friends to activities and the loser will be prompted to donate.
The Budge application asks users to challenge friends to activities and the loser will be prompted to donate.
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Friends of Firefighters

RED HOOK — Do the dishes. It’s for a good cause.

Friends of Firefighters is teaming up with Budge, an app that lets users challenge friends to activities and prompts the loser to donate to a charity, including the Red Hook non-profit.

Users with the iPhone app can choose a friend and create any challenge, from taking out the trash to eating a fiery chili meal. The user also chooses a charity and a donation amount of $1, $5 or $10.

“It’s an interactive way to donate to a charity,” said Meghan Zichelli, operations manager of Friends of Firefighters, a community-based group that began after Sept. 11, 2001.

Created to engage Generation Y, the app serves as a platform to encourage people to give and “you still get to have a bit of fun with a friend,” said Budge CEO and Co-Founder Hillan Klein, who launched the app four months ago.

The organization has partnered with 22 charities in the United States and Australia, including the United Nations World Food Programme, Breastcancer.org and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Klein said that they approached Friends of Firefighters because of their charitable work, along with their involvement in Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

“We think they’re relevant to the demographic we’re targeting,” said Klein. “Our goal is to raise more money for our partners.”

The challenge’s loser can opt out of the payment, but Klein said about 65 percent of users have given donations to several charities.

While Zichelli doesn’t expect that the app will overtake their traditional forms of fundraising, through donors and grants, Friends of Firefighters will be spreading the word and encouraging people to participate in this unusual way of giving.

“It’s unique and it’s different,” said Zichelli.