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Marriott marries mobile and location to increase charity donations

The effort is being used at the Marriott at Research Triangle Park in Durham, NC. Marriott has partnered with the app Check-in For Good on this initiative.

“Where most new technologies are disruptive, Check-in For Good actually takes the disruption out of fundraising and allows you to actively support your cause by doing what you would normally do — go out to dinner, the grocery store, the dry cleaner or hundreds of other businesses a user visits every day,” said Rob Katz, cofounder of Check-in For Good.

“In short, Check-in For Good is the first mobile, location-based transactional platform that bridges the gap in the physical world between causes and businesses in a way that is meaningful to both,” he said.

How it works?
To participate in the check-in initiative, consumers must first download the Check-in For Good app, which is available for both iPhone and Android devices.

From there, consumers can search for causes that they are interested in supporting. A list of businesses that support the cause then pops up.

The app uses a device’s built-in GPS to find nearby stores and can share their check-in via social media.

The Marriott at Research Triangle Park is using the app to encourage consumers to check-in at the hotel-owned Newton’s Restaurant.

For each check-in, the company will donate $2 to the Durham Rescue Mission.

The check-in is also tied to an offer for a free appetizer or dessert at Newton’s Restaurant that consumers can redeem after checking in.

The campaign runs through Oct. 31.

Per Mr. Katz, the Marriott at Research Triangle Park also uses the app to support fundraising for local youth sports leagues, Children’s Miracle Network hospitals and USA Football.

Give on mobile?
As consumers increasingly become more confident using their devices for commerce, fundraising and donation efforts are increasingly being formatted for smartphones and tablets.

Additionally, mobile check-ins help marketers streamline their fundraising efforts by using programs that give users an incentive for checking in from their mobile devices.

By using check-ins as a way to get consumers involved with a cause, Marriott is able to promote the holiday food drive, which could lead to consumers donating more out of their pockets.

According to Mr. Katz, Americans gave more than $290 billion to causes in 2010, and corporate giving accounted for $15.29 billion in 2010.

“Check-in For Good was founded on the guiding principle that we believe in doing good and empowering others to do so,” Mr. Katz said.

“With that, we see the space becoming increasingly important,” he said. “Cause marketing and how businesses behave as good social partners is impacting buying decisions.

Couple that with the fact that we believe that we have only begun to realize the opportunity for location-based services for businesses and as new technology like NFC becomes more prevalent, the ability of businesses to interact with customers in more meaningful ways will only increase.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York