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Goodwill app update boosts engagement, donations via mobile GPS

Goodwill Industries International is making it easier for shoppers and donors to find a local Goodwill location and stay connected to the organization’s mission with a redesigned mobile application.

The updated app uses native GPS features on smartphones to provide turn-by-turn directions and enhanced search filtering to let users manage their interests in thrift shopping and other categories. The new app, which also integrates a donation impact calculator, reflects nonprofit organizations’ growing understanding of the importance of connecting with mobile donors on the go.

“We believe that some users prefer mobile browsers to access content, while others love their apps,” said Beth Perell, vice president of communications and information management for Goodwill, Rockville, MD. “The release of this app provides greater parity in the user experience between browsing, responsively built on a mini browser, and using the app to connect with us.

“Prior to this update, our app was essentially a locator,” she said. “Now, the app taps into the native smartphone features and allows users to easily find and favorite their local Goodwill and much more.”

Seeing videos
The new app, an update of the Goodwill Locator app launched two years ago, lets users see videos illustrating the stories of individuals whose lives have been changed through the items donated by individuals in their community.

Calculating the impact of giving.

They can also make a difference with a financial gift via the app.

The update also integrates video and offers the ability to read up-to-date information on thrift shopping, success stories and advocacy opportunities.

Users who like the frequently updated content can create an account within the app to receive automated updates on interests of their choosing.

Upon opening the app, the user first will see a tool for locating a Goodwill. He or she can read information on Goodwill’s donation business and its job training and placement mission experiences.

To find a local Goodwill, the user first taps the “Find Your Goodwill” option. The app will automatically locate the nearest Goodwill based on current location.

The user can swipe between locations, refine the type of Goodwill outlet he or she is looking for and find a preferred Goodwill in the Favorites screen.

On the locator, users can also access the “Donation Impact Calculator” and use the sliders to vary the amount of donated and how much good it generates in terms of mission impact.

For example, one pair of shoes equals six minutes of resume preparation, and one working computer equals 8.1 hours of on-the-job training.

In addition to making the process of getting turn-by-turn directions to a local Goodwill easier by using a smartphone’s native GPS features and enhanced search filtering, the update also lets users manage their interests in thrift shopping and other categories.

If a user opts-in for these updates, she or he will receive weekly updates on thrift shopping topics and do-it-yourself projects using items found at their local Goodwill.

Driving store visits is crucial for Goodwill, which seeks to enhance the quality of life of individuals and families by helping people reach their full potential through education, skills training and work.

Local Goodwill agencies provide a variety of workforce development offerings including programs for youth, seniors and veterans, as well as for people with disabilities, criminal backgrounds, and other specialized needs.

Goodwill helps people train for careers in industries such as banking, IT and health care and provides the support services they need to be successful, including English-language training, additional education, and access to transportation and child care.

Goodwill data shows that donors are often looking for Goodwills on the go – that is, during the weekend on their mobile device.

Saving time
Donors, shoppers and program participants are increasingly turning to mobile devices to save time, and because it is convenient.

App promo.

“We are making it even easier for donors, shoppers and program participants to engage with Goodwill and support our mission of job training,” Ms. Perell said.

“As users increasingly rely upon their mobile devices to stay connected, receive updates on news and weather, shop and share what’s going on in their life, brands need to continually challenge to make their mobile experience simple and effective.”

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York