Hunger Crunch app

March 30, 2015;Greenville News (Greenville, SC)

Facebook isn’t all selfies and cyberstalking. South Carolina-based nonprofit Rice Bowls won Facebook’s Social Good App of the Year for their app Hunger Crunch, which has raised money to feed over 1,700 children in 54 orphanages around the world.

The free video game app was recently honored at Facebook’s annual F8 Facebook Developer Conference in San Francisco, which brings together the developers of products the social media juggernaut uses on its website for discussion of the evolving world of app technology.

Fighting hunger in both the fantasy world and the real world, the game follows Beasty, a mythical creature who will “stomp, smash, and crunch Hunger.” The game itself is free, but any purchases made within the game go toward helping children worldwide.

The affiliated nonprofit Rice Bowls, which donates bowls and money to communities to bolster their food budgets, is established in a handful of places around the world—in Africa and Central America, as well as India and the Philippines. While the nonprofit’s website doesn’t seem to include any references to the app or its success, utilizing app technology platform to fundraise is a unique way to engage donors, particularly those among the younger generation who are not traditional givers.

On its website, the app proclaims it is more than just a game. Indeed, while players are on a “whimsical ride” with Beasty, they exit the game with the knowledge that there is some tangible change happening.

This is, of course, not the tech industry’s first or only foray into the world of philanthropy, but it spotlights the growing movement to digitize charity. The booming enterprise of charity apps has tapped into the digitized, hands-off world of online giving that has been slowly permeating the sector. We are in a pivotal moment in the nonprofit environment, but luckily, it seems like this development is a productive one for fundraising charities.

Capitalizing on convenience, other social good apps have cropped up over the past several years, such as Charity Miles, which allows users to run their own personal marathons each time they work out, with each mile accumulating donations for their selected charity. Why sign up for a marathon when you can fundraise on your treadmill at home? NPQ writer Jeanne Allen previously discussed the phenomenon of “contactless charity” in the UK, allowing donors to simply tap their credit cards to donate. It’s not just personalized donor appeals and thank-you letters. Tech philanthropy is here, and it may be in nonprofits’ interest to take Beasty’s path to navigate donors to their social causes.—Shafaq Hasan