Social media has made a lot of things easier for us when it comes to connecting with people on the other side of the world and being informed. Unfortunately, it’s also made it easier for us to pretend like we’re doing more than we say we are, particularly when it comes to how much time, money, and effort we spend helping other people. It’s easy to like a Facebook page or sign a petition and think the cause has been won, all from the comfort of your couch.
Brisbane engineering student Samuel Eden is hoping to get the so-called ‘slacktivists’ up and out into the world through his app ThankBank, which rewards people who donate blood with discounts and freebies from partner brands.
“People are aware of good causes like blood donation, but ThankBank bridges the gap between awareness and action and encourages Australians to donate and save lives rather than just Like the cause on Facebook,” Eden said.
“We provide public recognition as well as rewards and discounts from brands, which are given the opportunity to connect and thank their customers.”
The app works by having a user check into the system after donating. They will be greeted with a list of possible rewards from various brands; they can choose three of these rewards to store in their ThankBank, which can later be accessed and claimed.
Users can also choose to share their check in on Facebook for the chance to select more rewards – as well as get some public recognition, of course.
For their part, rewards partners will purchase prepaid connection credits, with one connection credit equating to each time they are selected as a reward by a customer.
“This way, they only pay when they know customers are choosing their brand as the one that thanks them for contributing to the social cause. The Red Cross simply benefits by having more donors at their door, all without them having to do any marketing or create any partnerships,” Eden said.
Eden is launching a crowdfunding campaign on Letsact to fund the development of the app and the securing of rewards partners.
“By crowdfunding, we’re proving that hopefully thousands of our ‘customer investors’ want our service on their devices. This will also help get more brands on board as we expand our outreach,” Eden said.
The money raised through the crowdfunding campaign will be put towards developing the app, with Eden also looking for investors to help speed up the process. The app is scheduled to launch in Brisbane in August before going Australia wide.
It’s clear ThankBank is an interesting idea with potential: it’s been selected to take part in Brisbane’s Impact Academy Accelerator and has been named a ChangeMaker for Brisbane’s Random Hacks of Kindness.
While the idea that people need incentives in order to donate blood may make some despair, a 2013 study found that offering rewards does get the number of donations up. With Australia often having to import blood to meet demand, ThankBank could just be the app to streamline the donation/reward process and get young slacktivists off Facebook and rolling up their sleeves.
If ThankBank proves effective in increasing blood donations, Eden hopes to expand the service to provide rewards for other socially positive deeds.