Charitable mobile apps for tech-savvy givers

by Grace Villanueva

Technology enhances your life, so why not use it to help those in need? As the holiday season approaches, smartphone apps are making it easier than ever to donate to the charity of your choice. From fitness apps that donate as you sweat to GPS systems that trigger a charitable gift when you enter your favorite store, there are creative, thoughtful and secure ways to support those in need that take just the swipe of a finger.

Charity Miles (Free)

Stay in shape while giving back with this untraditional charitable app. Download Charity Miles on your iOS or Android smartphone and select from a number of charities to support, including Habitat for Humanity, Feeding America and Autism Speaks. As you run or bike, Charity Miles will donate $0.25 for every mile you run or $0.10 for every mile you walk. The harder you push your body, the more support that goes to the charity of your choice.

According to Mashable, Charity Miles is funding the initial $1 million in donations with the hope that businesses will realize the unique opportunity to connect with consumers and help those in need.

Lace up your running shoes and do some good for your health and worthy causes.

Donation Connect (Free)

For some, the worry of entering a credit card number online is enough to deter them from donating online. With Donation Connect, you can support a wide array of charities from a unified platform, and the donation is simply added to your phone bill. Eliminate the risk of online charity scams and donate with peace of mind. If you insist on donating cash, protecting your identity during an ATM transaction is something you need to consider.

Catalista: Volunteer Locally! (Free)

Maybe you've had that inkling to get off the couch and lend a hand, but you don't know where to start. If you have a smartphone, Catalista can connect you with local opportunities to volunteer. Access information on local non-profits, maps to volunteering projects and an automated system to communicate with community organizers.

American Red Cross

Red Cross makes it easy to donate. If you text REDCROSS to 90999, you will donate $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. It helps people affected by disasters such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires and tornadoes. The $10 is added to your mobile phone bill, so you don't have to worry about sending cash or using a debit card. They also have developed a series of first aid and disaster preparedness apps for iOS and Android devices.

mGive (Free)

Combining a number of helpful tools, mGive aggregates local information, easy donation capabilities, and volunteer opportunities in one platform. Learn about an organization, find out how you can get involved and give money to help it succeed. mGive puts each branch of philanthropy on your smartphone. Whether you're interested in feeding the hungry or curing disease, mGive will connect you with organizations that make a difference.