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CauseWorld app adds bar codes to drive charity donations

March 4, 2010

Cause World is sponsored by brands such as Kraft and Citi

Cause World is sponsored by brands such as Kraft and Citi

CauseWorld, the first mobile application to let consumers do good just by walking into a store and “checking in” via their handset, has added new bar code scanning technology.

The CauseWorld application, powered by shopkick, now also offers its popular “karma” points to consumers who physically pick up products in retail stores and scan their bar codes using the application. Earn enough “karmas” using CauseWorld, and consumers can donate them to plant a tree, feed a family or help rebuild Chile, with the donations themselves coming thanks to sponsor brands like Citi and Kraft Foods, which provided an initial donation pool of $500,000. 

Mobile Commerce Daily’s Dan Butcher interviewed Cyriac Roeding, CEO of shopkick, Palo Alto, CA. Here is what he had to say:

What is the strategy behind the launch of CauseWorld application and the partnership between CauseWorld, Citi, Kraft and Kleiner Perkins?
I come out of the world of mobile, and recently spent a year in-house at Kleiner Perkins trying to find ways to join together the online and offline parts of our lives.

Collaboratively we struck on shopping, and subsequently developed shopkick, which is now backed by KP’s iFund, a partnership with Apple.

At shopkick, we’re developing ways to use the power of cell phones to create opportunities at the intersection of mobile and retail.

And that’s where CauseWorld comes in—shopkick’s first iPhone application, it lets consumers change the world simply by walking into a store.

Consumers earn “karma points” just by walking into retail locations and “checking in” on the application.

Once they collect enough “karmas,” users select one of our 12 causes, and put the karmas toward doing good – that could mean planting a rainforest tree, donating to Haiti reconstruction or helping an injured animal.

The cash for these contributions come thanks to corporate sponsors like Citi and Kraft who have already provided $500,000 in charity money.

For which handsets/operating systems is the application available?
The CauseWorld application is currently available on the iPhone, iPod touch and Android.

How is Citi and Kraft branding integrated into the application? Are there any ads, promotions or other calls-to-action?
The marketing opportunity for these sponsors is tremendous.  They’re doing good while reaping huge marketing rewards through philanthropy.

This is the first platform that transforms marketing dollars directly and 100 percent into charity money.

The CPM rate is less than $8 and to give you a sense of the consumer penetration, CauseWorld gives you the option to update your Facebook status every time you check in – that means the sponsor brands are showing up on status updates all over social media platforms with lines like: “Jerry has just provided clean drinking water to a child in Sudan made possible by Kraft.” 

For marketers and retailers, the choice between this level of deep engagement with consumers across mobile and social platforms – along with the ability to help people in, say, Haiti – goes a lot farther than, say, a billboard.

Overall, these brands are benefiting from the fact that consumers simply love the application – there’s clearly something that’s resonating about the fact that you can feed a family in America just by walking into McDonald’s or help an injured animal by the time you’ve ordered your latte at Starbucks.

Kraft also has a selection of its recipes in the application – so when you enter the grocery store and you’re checking in to earn karmas, you can also check out what to cook for dinner.

Which retail stores and restaurants are featured in the application? Is there a store locator or links to their mobile Web/WAP sites?
Consumers can earn karmas and check in to nearly every retail location and restaurant in the country.

No store locators yet, but you are really close to the stores already when you see them on CauseWorld, as the list is location-based. But more detail information is to come soon!

How is each charity integrated into the application?
CauseWorld currently features twelve charities which are prominently featured within the application.

Once you’ve earned enough karmas, donating is as simple as selecting the charity icon of your choice.

The donations are then transferred to the charities in the backend.

The consumer doesn’t have to do anything, except maybe let their friends know about the trees they have planted, or the fresh water they have given to someone in Sudan, via their Facebook feed, to entice them to join CauseWorld as well.

How are Citi, Kraft and CauseWorld getting the word out about this application? Will there be ads to promote the applications across the mobile Web or within other applications?
Apple and Android have both promoted CauseWorld within weeks after launch, but the application has also seen tremendous organic growth. And most importantly, once consumers start using it, they tend to love it and keep using it.

To be honest, even we were taken aback by how quickly this caught on and the numbers have surprised us. Word of mouth has been huge for us and for our sponsor brands.

That is really wonderful – people go shopping, and when they come home, they have changed the world. Mobile makes that possible.

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Dan Butcher is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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