Like paying bills, charitable donations used to be a process--one where you had to actually pick up a phone or mail a letter. Then came Internet and cell phone giving, both of which have made the donation process significantly easier. One Today, a new Android app from Google, is aiming to streamline the giving process even more by making it practically mindless.
Think of the app as an educational tool with a "donate" button: every day, Google Today features a new nonprofit and gives users the opportunity to donate $1 per project per day. If participants want to give more, they can challenge friends to donate and match their contributions. Sample projects include the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy’s home for rhinos; Teach for Health, which runs a microgrant program in Nicaragua for rural villages; and Trees for the Future, which operates a reforestation program in Kenya.
Google isn’t getting anything from this--the nonprofits get all of the donations outside of a payment processing fee. And it’s free for nonprofits to sign up (though they do have to be members of Google for Nonprofits).
There’s just one hitch: you don’t automatically get charged for donating. That’s because the donations are more like pledges, according to Google. Every so often, the app adds up the unpaid account balance and requests that donors pay via credit card through Google Wallet. If you’re already a Google Wallet user, this is still a one-step process. Otherwise, it only takes a few minutes to set up.
One Today is still in pilot mode; request an invite here.