Nonprofit embraces mobile in effort to save lives

In what initially comes across as a counterproductive move, a new smartphone app has been designed to encourage users to not interact with their devices as much. 

The United Nations Children's Fund created an app that actually measures the time a smartphone owner abstains from using his or her device. For every 10 minutes the phone remains idle or unused, a donation is made by major fragrance company Giorgio Armani, among other generous donors, Business Insider reported.

UNICEF's Tap Project is directed at providing those who need a vital resource: clean water. According to UNICEF statistics, an estimated 768 million people worldwide live without access to a healthy supply of clean water. Additional research provided by the Water Footprint Network found that nearly 40 percent of the global population - or 2.7 billion people - are affected by water scarcity. One billion of those individuals face daily shortages.

The app also acts as a form of donation software, as UNICEF accepts gifts from those who have downloaded Tap Project. A $5 donation can help give clean water to someone for 200 days, Business Insider added. All users have to do is download the app or visit tap.unicefusa.org and set their phone down for ten minutes.

More than 2,900 people are currently partaking, according to UNICEF's Tap Project homepage.

Various nonprofits adopt mobile
Online donation services are the talk of the industry, but mobile donations are developing a firm foothold in the nonprofit marketplace as well. A recent study from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project found that 1 in 10 U.S. adults have made a donation using their mobile phones. While this figure doesn't seem that high, consider this: Pew also found that an estimated $43 million was raised via text messaging donation services in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. 

The power of mobile donations has already been noticed by a handful of nonprofits and tech companies, and they're taking full advantage of its capabilities. For example, Google has developed an app called One Today which lets its users donate $1 a day to their favorite nonprofits. Another application called Charity Miles encourages the user to get active. For each mile they run, bike or walk, money is earned for charity. 

Real-time giving is a unique form of charity auction software and tech-savvy companies are starting to take note by offering mobile apps as online fundraising tools for nonprofits people care about.

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