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Venmo Involuntarily Turned Into A Charity App

Venmo Involuntarily Turned Into A Charity App
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The nonprofit Water is Life "hacked" the payment platform and turned it into a source for donations

Jiwon Kim
  • 21 july 2016

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On the fourth of July the charity Water is Life successfully defeated Venmo’s business model of keeping advertisements off of its platform. Water is Life is a charity dedicated to providing clean water; it aims to achieve this by partnering with communities to integrate safe water practices across the globe. Like most nonprofits, it relies heavily on personal donations to sustain itself. However, the nonprofit decided to forgo traditional methods and take advantage of the most popular social payment app, Venmo.

The micro-hack started with the monitoring of the Venmo global feed. Then, one cent payments were sent to those whose transactions were public. These payments contained long, creative messages. For example, “one cent can’t pay someone back for pizza but it can buy someone clean water for a day.” All these payments ended with a message to donate money to Water is Life via Venmo.

Only $10 was spent on on this creative marketing campaign (1 cent for 1,000 messages equates to ten dollars). Thus far, the numbers have proved that this is a successful way at getting millennials to donate to an important cause.

Water is Life | Venmo 

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