From helping the physically disabled to pairing volunteers with nonprofit work, mobile apps today are about so much more than just sending your friend a silly photo of yourself and getting some fleeting feedback that you look good.
Below are some of the most interesting apps with a bit of purpose that I’ve stumbled upon as a mobile user and thought might be useful to share: (With some of these you might need something to
( With some of these videos you might need something for your tears, viewer discretion is advised ;) )
The newly launched URIJI social networking app thrives on passion and encourages inspiration. It is a place for users to share their dreams and stories, but what’s unique about the app is that it integrates finance (e-commerce features) to help users potentially actualize their dreams. This social network emphasizes a focus on the future, so that users’ posts are garnered towards talking about and fulfilling their dreams and projects, rather than towards simply collecting “likes” without gaining any future benefit from interacting on the network.
2. Be My Eyes
Be My Eyes is a video messaging app that allows blind people to submit a video of a challenge they face, which could be anything from discerning the expiration date on a pack of cheese to finding their way around a new area. They can request assistance, and a volunteer who is connected through the app via live video receives the request video and can answer any inquiries the other user has and help them through the challenge.
3. Red Cross
The Red Cross provides people that are accident-prone or have accident-prone friends a number of apps designed to make their day safer. There’s an official First Aid app that gives information on how to handle day-to-day situations requiring first aid, a Hero Care app which connects veterans or parents of children in the military to necessary resources, a Blood app to manage blood donation, and even a Pet First Aid app that gives advice for arising veterinary emergencies.
This app unites foodies, photographers and humanitarians. Feedie is a socially-conscious app for the urbanite who loves dining at cool new restaurants and snapping photos of their yummy food to show off to their friends. It’s more than that though — when someone takes a picture of their food at a participating restaurant (only in New York at the minute), a meal is then donated to a charity that feeds children in South Africa. Foodies with good hearts across the country are hoping the app will soon expand, but for now, New York foodies are eating well while ensuring others do too.
For exercise enthusiasts, RunGo can be a useful tour guide through previously uncharted jogging routes. The app both tracks your journey and helps you navigate, showing you new trails to run and keeping you away from less safe areas. You can create your own route or download one beforehand, and with a premium account you can even receive “tours” through scenic places that provide you with fun facts about the respective areas as you run.
Originating from Israel, Glide is another video messaging app that does something unique in that it provides an outlet for deaf people to express themselves over media in a medium that’s natural to them. Sign language is the first language of many people in the deaf community, which means that texting regularly can be a less comfortable means of communication for them. Glide’s video messaging in real time gives people the freedom to communicate in sign language, which also means that people with deaf friends or family can leave them a message; whereas before, leaving them regular voicemails was problematic for obvious reasons.
Started in upstate New York, GiveGab is a platform geared towards nonprofits and volunteers. It includes tools like fundraising, CRM for donors, marketing, volunteer management and more for nonprofits to build the followings they need and raise money for their causes. GiveGab also offers a list of volunteer opportunities based on users’ interests, and even has a social newsfeed for volunteers to share insights and photos of their experiences.
While being entertained on your bathroom break with your daily dose of Candy Crush has its merits, not every mobile app created has to be amusing to make an impact. Like the ones mentioned above, there are many more altruistic and meaningful applications available to us; all we have to do is find them!
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.