What if you could feed a monkey, donate a meal to the homeless, plant a tree or deliver a life-saving vaccination to people just by adding an app to your smartphone? CauseWorld was designed for that. Owners of iPhones an

d Androids open the app, go to nearby stores (indicated by GPS) and earn "karma points," which they can donate to the charity or the cause of their choice -- even if they don't buy a thing at the store. Since the app's December launch, companies like P&G, City Bank and Kraft have donated more than 400,000 dollars for causes, which is huge.

Some skeptics will say that this is just another way for multinationals in need of good publicity to make themselves look good. We can’t say the skeptics are wrong, but still.

This simple application is unique. It is the only one to add a charity dimension to geolocalization and shopping apps by using virtual money. Causeworld converts its currency, "karmas," into real dollars with real impact. So why use Foursquare, Gowala or brightkite to communicate your location and find stores if you can do the same, and much more, with this app?

Causeworld has a very simple business model. Its monetization is based on a background in the retail industry: companies are ready to pay a little to have clients entering their shop.
The app seems to be quite a success, as in two months more than 300,000 people have downloaded it. It is one way  to do something good while you shop and for the retail companies to convert individuals into customers. But what's important at the end is more than the click on your phone, it's that you helped.

By Marie-Axelle Pernot