Being avid charity cycling event riders, we saw a whole in the fund raising efforts and decided to do something about it. Raising money happened naturally before the event and wrapped after the ride, but there was a missed opportunity, the day of the ride itself. What we developed is a way for riders to raise funds during the day of the event. By linking into a riders social media network, we were able to put out a plea to help support the rider as well as the cause during key parts of a ride. Using existing APIs we were able to set up a virtual telethon effort. We selected the most challenging part of the ride, geotagged it and when a rider hit those points, the App pushed out to the riders social network that he or she was hitting the hardest part of the ride and they could use a little extra support. The riders “friends” could then donate to the rider’s cause, simultaneously supporting both the beneficiary of the ride as well as the rider. When the post went up to their Facebook page, the riders phone would then chime with a cowbell to let the rider know that people were supporting him and to give him an extra boost during the ride.
Additionally, we created a community where supporters could throw up their positive thoughts to the rider and he could respond after the event to fill people in on his progress and if it’s going to be a multi-day event, let them know what to expect the following days.
The result was very positive. We chose to test it out during the Courage Classic, a three-day charity ride that benefits the Children’s Hospital, with some success. The riders that activated their social networks were able to raise an additional 20% in pledges on the day of the event. If even a fraction of the riders were using such an app the outcome would be significant.
On many days, we can say that we aren’t saving lives, but in this case we just might be.