Available from: iPhone app store, Blackberry app store and Nokia
Suitable from: adult
Initial Reaction: Do Some Good is an iPhone app developed by Orange (although you don’t have to be on the Orange network to use the app). It allows users to ‘volunteer’ for charities via their phone, contributing information or knowledge in various ways. Some charities have created surveys that are suitable for all users, others have taken advantage of the iPhone’s GPS capability to collect location data. It seems like an innovative way for charities to connect with the public and hopefully gain useful information or resources.
Theoretically users can earn music rewards if they complete sufficient tasks, but I didn’t really get to grips with this. The scheme is called Orange RockCorps and it seems to cover real-life volunteering as well as via the app. Perhaps if you were already signed up for this then the app would make a good addition, but for me, I thought it was unnecessary: I think people are more likely to be motivated by doing a charitable deed for its own sake than for some unspecified music download.
Pros: The Do Some Good app is straightforward to use. You can scroll through a list of possible ‘actions’ and pick the ones you’re interested in. I completed some surveys and mostly they worked fine (one was a little glitchy but still usable). I also submitted a photograph to the charity image library, straight from my phone (although I was disappointed to realise that my image could be sold to non-charities – my fault for not checking the terms and conditions properly first, but I wouldn’t have done it if I’d realised that).
Cons: There aren’t enough charities involved in the app at the moment. Once you’ve completed the three surveys, there’s not a lot else you can do. Not every action on there will be suitable for everyone.
Most activities take five minutes, so you’d have to do 48 activities to get one ‘music reward’. Given that there are only 12 possible activities on there, I think most people will struggle to earn any rewards.
Value for money? The app is free to download.
Overall Reaction: I think this app’s heart is in the right place. As someone who likes to support good causes and live ethically, I was really interested. However, there’s not enough to sustain interest. The idea is that if you find yourself with a spare five minutes, you could log onto the app and ‘do some good’. But on my iPhone, my ‘five minute’ priorities go: email, Twitter, Guardian, Instagram, Angry Birds… I could go on. There are thousands of engaging iPhone apps out there and I think that this one will struggle to compete for mainstream users. It’s a good idea, but I think it will appeal to a worthy few.