Mobile Commerce Daily is now Retail Dive: Mobile Commerce! Click here to learn more!

Feeding America simplifies mobile donations via LevelUp program

Feeding America is among the nonprofits making it easy for mobile shoppers to donate by directing their retail savings when using mobile app LevelUp to the nonprofit of their choice.

Users of the LevelUp app can now take a percentage of the savings they earn from merchants and have it automatically donated to the nonprofits they select. When users save money by paying with LevelUp, their email receipt will show an amount equal to the selected percentage of their savings has been donated to their cause.

“People are on their phones all the time, so nonprofits are all about finding ways people can donate through their phones,” said Seth Priebatsch, founder of LevelUp and mobile retail gaming app SCVNGR, Boston, MA.

“We found out that one in ten adults have already made a donation to a charity through texting, so there’s no doubt that mobile is a popular way for people to give,” he said.

“Since so many people are open to paying with their phone, we realized it makes sense to link the two, so we’re providing a way for people buy and give on their phones at the same time.”

Linking mobile payments, giving
LevelUp lets users pay for their purchases using a smartphone at more than 3,000 merchants. Users can unlock savings with merchants such as loyalty credits or an amount off a purchase when they spend a certain amount.

With the new LevelUp Causes feature, users can see a list of the causes currently on LevelUp by visiting the “Donate” section under “Settings.”

By picking their favorite nonprofit and the percentage of savings that they would like to donate, the app will automatically direct the money to the nonprofit when LevelUp is used as a form of payment at a participating merchant.

For example, users who have set up their LevelUp account to donate 50 percent of their savings and unlock $10 of loyalty credit at a local business will see $5 go to the charity of their choice and save the other $5.

There is no need to enter in credit card information again.

Users choosing to donate their savings can pay at any business accepting LevelUp as a form of payment just as they usually do.

Donations made easy
The nonprofits participating in the program at launch include Feeding America, Jumpstart and the Massachusetts Democratic Party. The Causes feature is currently in beta.

“We’re providing a way for causes to get donations from our users – who spend over $3 million on LevelUp each month – on a regular basis,” Mr. Priebatsch said.

“LevelUp Causes makes donating incredibly easy,” he said. “You just choose what percentage of your savings on LevelUp you want to donate to the cause of your choice, and that’s it!

“From then on, every time you save on LevelUp, the same percentage of the savings will be donated to the cause.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York