Two 20-year-old college students are trying to make a difference in Indianapolis with a new mobile app called 'Cause.it.' The app connects volunteers with area nonprofits and businesses that offer rewards and some advertisement online.
"Volunteers are critical to Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. We have 30,000 plus volunteers a year," said Teresa Rhodes, a Keep Indianapolis Beautiful employee.
Indy is the pilot city for the founders, a junior at IUPUI and a junior at Purdue University.
"You can post advocacy events if you want to bring awareness to a petition or if you want to bring awareness about an event you're having, and people can share them online on Facebook and Twitter," said Gagan Dhillon, a Cause.it founder.
On their iPhones or iPads, volunteers can easily connect with the causes that mean the most to them and to the businesses that support those causes.
"It does a tremendous amount of word-of-mouth marketing for any small business," said Cara Dafforn, owner of U-Relish Farm, which operates out of City Market.
Dafforn said she has no problem offering free products to active volunteers. The app has virtual points that are redeemable with participating businesses.
"Give it 30 to 60 days. Let us build our user base in Indianapolis, and you'll start seeing the results," said Dhillon.
City officials are convinced there will be results so much so that they created a public-private partnership. Cause.it will run the city's 'Engage Indy' program online.
"Actually trying to harness that energy, connecting it with all of our not-for-profit organizations, matching people up with what interests them, is really a great way to take that built up energy we have in this city, and put it to good use," said Marc Lotter, spokesperson for Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard.
"We couldn't do the things we want without the volunteers so having Cause.it integrate with our work is really going to be beneficial," said Rhodes.
Dhillon said they will soon make the app available to all smart phone users.
He and his co-founder are also in the process of marketing the app to other cities hoping to go national.
Mobile app to increase volunteerism, improve businesses
Two college students are responsible for a new mobile app that helps connect Indianapolis non-profits with people who want to volunteer or advocate their cause.