Givesource is an open-source fundraising platform created by Firespring that aims to route money directly to charities, rather than to third-party administrative platforms. The platform is available to download for free on GitHub and is specifically aimed at charities raising money with. John Jones, a vice president at social change incubator the Case Foundation, went as far as to label it “the first really well done open-source fundraising tool we have seen.”
Small Token is a web application that makes it possible to give a gift to a friend or family member in the form of a US-based charity donation. Alongside the donation, gifters can also create personalized cards notifying the recipient of the donation. The personalized messages can be scheduled so that gifters can buy Small Tokens in advance of a birthday or celebration.
SwearJar takes the traditional curse deterrent and gives it a digital twist. Rather than adding a dollar to a jar, this Slackbot helps your organization donate to worthy causes through your Slack channel. Installed in minutes, the app runs in the background and only responds when it detects buzzwords or colorful language. Once triggered, SwearJar will automatically donate $1 to a pre-chosen charity of your choice. SwearJar helps to make small regular donations a habit, and because organizations have the ability to set a monthly maximum donation, there’s no danger of donating more than you need to.
Spotlight is an anti-human trafficking software developed by Ashton Kutcher’s digital nonprofit Thorn. Offered free of charge to law enforcement agencies throughout the country, Spotlight is, in essence, an analytics platform that filters through millions of escort ads to identify suspicious behavior. As a result, it increases the efficiency of sex trafficking investigations and leads to more victims being identified.
Track It Forward
Track It forward is a SaaS platform that helps volunteers track their hours and keep themselves accountable. Created by two tech-savvy volunteers to scratch their own itch, the web and mobile apps are now used by massive organizations, including Johns Hopkins University and World Relief, and considered one of the best volunteer management systems available.
If nonprofits and charities want to find volunteers, they turn to VolunteerMatch. The platform matches talented volunteers to worthwhile organizations across the globe. The numbers so far: More than 14 million volunteers have made connections with more than 120,000 nonprofits. The platform doesn’t just connect nonprofits with volunteers, either. It is also a nonprofit itself, relying on donations to continue to make a difference.
Launched with seed funding from Google, Stanford University, and the Walton Family Foundation, TalkingPoints is a language-translation platform that facilitates stronger communication among students, teachers, and parents. Whether through a web app or mobile app, teachers can send messages in their own language. These messages are then translated (automatically and manually) and delivered to students and parents in their native languages.
Run 4 Tiger
Run 4 Tiger was designed for the World Wildlife Federation in Russia. The platform is designed to raise awareness for WWF’s Save The Tiger campaign by syncing your choice of running app to pit you against a tiger. Fail to travel further than the tiger each day (it averages 20 kilometers per day), and you donate $5 to the WWF. It’s a fantastic platform that doesn’t just raise awareness for a worthy cause but helps to get users on the move, too.
Khan Academy’s mission is to provide a free, world-class education in any subject to anyone anywhere via a platform complete with practical exercises, online videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that allows learners to study at their own pace. The platform is free forever, thanks to donations. Khan Academy has even partnered with organizations like NASA and The Museum of Modern Art to create specialized online content.
Universal Giving combines crowdfunding with charitable causes to help people give time and money to charitable projects across the world. Built by a nonprofit for nonprofits, the web application relies solely on donations to remain active. Every penny of each contribution goes to the chosen charities. The platform has been a Webby Award nominee and has been honored with a Jefferson Award for public service.
Crisis Text Line
Crisis Text Line offers free 24/7 support to any American in a crisis. When someone texts the hotline, their message is automatically transferred to a trained volunteer using a real-time messenger built with node.js. The volunteer can then communicate with the texter to listen and plan a resolution.
Mifos X is a free, open-source platform that helps bring financial services to the poorest people in the world. Through their core product, a community web and mobile application built using AngularJS, Mifos X empowers new and small financial institutions to start providing services in every corner of the world. The platform is designed for ease of use and can be used out of the box thanks to built-in compatibility with the world’s most popular financial-inclusion models.
When humanitarian professionals and aid workers need tools for field-data collection, they turn to KoBoToolbox. This suite of free, open-source software helps aid workers quickly collect data during a humanitarian crisis. This can be critical in saving lives. The platform, which is available to download on GitHub, is part of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.
Change.org has connected more than 200 million people with worthy causes that they care about. That has translated to almost 30,000 social victories in 196 countries. Chage.org is a certified B Corporation that relies heavily on investment from philanthropists, including Bill and Melinda Gates, Reid Hoffman, Arianna Huffington, Ashton Kutcher, and Jeff Weiner.
GetCalFresh is a web and mobile platform that helps Californians get access to food stamps. Built by the nonprofit Code for America, the platform has transformed the application process by providing a way to apply and upload documents using a smartphone. The platform also provides online chat, SMS and email reports, and a text and email-based reminder system to make sure applicants get enrolled.
Ushahidi, which means “testimony” in Swahili, is an African nonprofit tech leader. The software was originally developed to map reports of violence in Kenya following the 2008 election. Today, the organization’s crowdsourcing tools are used to gather data from thousands of volunteers, which is then used by human rights volunteers and crisis response teams. The product is open source and available on GitHub for anyone to download and customize.
For many high school students, quality career advice can be hard to come by. That’s why CareerVillage works with educators in low-income areas to gather questions from students and automatically email those questions to relevant professionals, who can use the same platform to answer these questions on any device. So far, the platform has helped 2.5 million students solicit advice from more than 10,000 volunteers.
Ecosia is an ad-supported search tool that you can access via a browser extension. The company, a certified B Corporation, makes money when users click on its ads. Then, it takes at least 80 percent of its profits to fund the planting of trees around the world. To date, more than 38 million trees have been planted thanks to Ecosia users.
Helpfreely is a Google Chrome extension designed to help other nonprofits and charities increase donations through affiliate link purchases. Users simply have to install and activate the plugin on their browsers and then shop online as normal. A percentage of user purchases at partner stores is automatically funneled to the causes those users have chosen to support.
UPchieve gives underprivileged high school kids a helping hand with homework, test prep and college applications. Through their web and mobile apps, UPchieve provides students with free online and on-demand tutoring, delivered in real time by a network of volunteers. Even in the middle of the night, students can find a volunteer who will help them with chemistry homework, SAT prep or any other academic questions they might have.
If you’ve been inspired by these amazing apps and think you might want to join the tech-for-good movement, check out Fullstack Academy, where you can first build the skills you’ll need to one day build the technology we all need.