When it comes to our consumer spending habits, it is increasingly the case that we base our decisions on how that spending functions as a reflection of our personal values and beliefs. With more and more consumers making value-based spending decisions, companies that take social entrepreneurship seriously stand to gain quite a bit. According to recent data provided by Nielsen, 56 percent of buyers preferred to patronize companies committed to social entrepreneurship, even if it cost more to do so.
According to Adrian Rubin and others who have closely observed the ongoing shift toward social entrepreneurship, technology — and mobile apps in particular — has played an important role in the changing preferences of consumers. While quite a few apps have contributed to taking social entrepreneurship to the next level, Adrian Rubin highlighted four mobile apps that are having the greatest impact on pushing the social entrepreneurship movement forward.
It is all too common that, despite a sincere desire to contribute to a charitable cause, our own spending habits and expenses undermine our ability to do so. Instead is designed to change that, as the app provides financial advice at the moment we need it most: As we make the day-to-day consumer spending decisions that at the time seem so inconsequential, Instead will suggest making a “micro-donation” to one of your preferred charities as an alternative.
Instead is customizable, which allows you to set a dollar range you feel comfortable with and select the charities you’d like to support when you first sign up for the app. Since the app also keeps track of your total donations, you can see for yourself how even the smallest donations can add up over time.
The running community has long been associated with charitable and philanthropic efforts, with runners committing to raise money and awareness for a cause as they train for and compete in all kinds of challenging running events. Atlas Run is an app designed to further leverage the longstanding relationship between the running and philanthropic communities, as it enables companies to challenge runners using the app to complete a specific goal, with a charitable donation representing the reward for completing the challenge.
When users of the app achieve the goal set by one of these socially conscious organizations, the company’s donation is awarded to the charity specified in the challenge. Atlas Run therefore serves as an additional motivational tool for runners that also connects them with companies seeking to bolster their own social entrepreneurship credentials.
Peer pressure is a powerful thing, and despite the negative connotation it carries, Budge is proving that peer pressure can also be used to accomplish a great deal of good. Users of the app can challenge their friends and family members to do something difficult, embarrassing, or downright impossible. Winners get bragging rights, and the loser must donate a previously agreed-upon dollar amount to the charity of the winner’s choice. The challenges are not usually high-stakes affairs, with most donations falling in between $1 and $5, so the app is also a great way to demonstrate how quickly even the smallest donations add up over time.
It happens quite frequently: We have an item that we no longer want or need, but, despite the fact that it still retains some clear value, we cannot find someone willing to take it off our hands. So instead of letting these items end up on the curb, Forward created an app that connects those looking to get rid of something they no longer need with someone in the area who’ll benefit from the item. Users who want the item can submit a bid through the app, and the winning bidders payment goes to the charity selected by the user who donated their unwanted item.
The preference among consumers for companies engaged in social entrepreneurship yields a multitude of benefits for everyone involved, with consumers, companies, and communities all reaping substantial rewards as a result. With the advent of mobile apps such as Forward, Budge, Atlas Run, and Instead, it’s clear that mobile technology is taking social entrepreneurship to a whole new level, ensuring consumer spending decisions continue to be based on each individual consumer’s personal value system.