Google's charity arm is encouraging daily donations to worthy causes through a new Android app called One Today that invites you to give a dollar daily to a selection of nonprofits.
Access to the app is currently limited by invitation (which anyone can request), but Google says it will soon be available for iPhone, BlackBerry, and Windows phone users as well.
One Today highlights one charity every day, to which you can donate $1 through the app. Several projects are listed already, ranging from rhino protection in Africa to education projects in Laos, microgrant initiatives in Nicaragua, and trees for farmers in Kenya. Nonprofits can register with Google, asking to promote their projects in the app.
Unlike traditional donation methods, Google's One Today limits donations to $1 per project on any given day, and the only way to donate more is to challenge your friends to match your donation through the app. This social component to the app also lets you cap how much money you will match if your friends donate to the same cause, so you don't get any expensive surprises.
You aren't billed for each individual donation; instead, Google will group donations or pledges and take the payments through Google Wallet. No refunds will be made on donations, and if you don't pay your balance due, some features of the app will be turned off until you settle up, according to the One Today FAQ. The donations are tax deductible.
The money is collected through Network for Good, and nonprofits will get the entire sum donated, minus the credit card processing fee of 1.9 percent--so for every $10 donated, the charity receives $9.81.
Another Google innovation
Google's One Today app is interesting for several reasons. For one, the app makes it simple for you to search and screen for worthy causes to which to donate. Google lets charities submit details about their projects, and so far, the app appears populated only with nonprofits that already have a relationship with Google.org, the search giant's charity division. Once you've used the app for awhile, the software learns which sort of projects draw your dollars, so it can recommend new worthy causes based on your previous history, to keep the daily donations coming.
It's also interesting how Google One Today can amplify your donation. By sharing the word of your choices with your friends and challenging them to match your donation, you can help raise more money as well as awareness for the nonprofit's activities.
A buck a day doesn't seem like much, but since the funds are plucked from your Google Wallet account at intervals, the actual withdrawal occurs in larger chunks. That strategy might be a bit more daunting for some donors. But Google may have other clever tactics to keep donors engaged in the long run.