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Saturday Small Business Spotlight: Budge App Encourages Charitable Giving

Jan. 11, 2013
Small Business
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For the first in our small business spotlight series, NerdWallet sat down with Hillan Klein, CEO of Budge, an app that allows users to issue challenges and bets to their friends and make small charitable donations depending on the results of the challenge.  The innovative app incentivizes sticking to your goals and New Year’s resolutions through peer influence and charitable donations.  By encouraging charitable giving through a social mobile game, Budge puts the fun in fundraising.

Hillan Klein shares with us the idea behind Budge, his social mission and where he plans to go in the future.

NerdWallet will be featuring a new innovative business every Saturday.  Check back next week!

NerdWallet (NW): What does Budge do?

Hillan Klein (HK): “Budge allows people to stick to their New Year’s resolutions or any other goal by making it a game of giving – whether it’s challenging your friend to a pushup contest, game of cards, or making sure they don’t break plans, the loser sends a micro-donation to charity ($1, $2 or $5).

Budge’s creators believe that by making charitable giving fun and encouraging people to get their friends involved, people will donate more often. More important than the donation size (which can be off-putting to someone without much disposable income) is getting more people to donate.

All Budges are posted in the app’s newsfeed too, so your social circle can get in on the action.  Simply, we allow people to challenge their friends to do anything on behalf of a meaningful cause.”

NW: What is your mission? What inspired you to create Budge?

HK: “At Budge we make giving to charity fun! We believe the way people give to charity is old, boring and outdated—it’s time for real change. We are creating a new culture in charitable giving by merging social behavior and micro-donations – disrupting traditional methods.

Budge’s concept overcomes the traditional roadblocks to philanthropy by encouraging people to use their regular daily activities and interactions with friends as a fun way to donate to charity.”

NW: Tell me a bit about yourself and how you ended up with this idea.

HK: “Marc Lipsitz (Co-Founder and Director of Innovation and Design) and I highly believe that by making giving to charity fun through an interactive mobile platform with low dollar amounts, then Gen Y will be continuously active in donating and raising awareness to charities. For that reason, we created Budge – the only social, mobile, micro-donation app currently available.

The initial idea came as a result for frustration for traditional fundraising models, and a need to engage our generation in a seamless and enjoyable way. We believe that strong partnerships with worthwhile charity organizations and a seamless, enjoyable and simple user interface will help to revive an stagnant fundraising market.”

NW: Where do you see Budge in five years?

HK: “In five years, I would love to see “Budge” trending in everyday conversation just as much as “Tweet” or “Liked.”  Additionally, I would love to see millions of charitable donations being made yearly through our mobile apps.

We are really trying to disrupt a stagnant market and our dream is to reenergize Gen Y to give to causes that are meaningful to them. We believe the Budge platform will do this, and we will continue to innovative in philanthropy as we evolve.”

NW: Do you plan on creating more apps that encourage charitable donations?

HK: “We truly believe that Budge’s model will create a new and fun way of raising money for charity and while we will expand our application across platforms, we are really focused on raising awareness of our platform, and raising needed funds for our charity partners.

Budge is all about having fun with your friends, and feeling good about it.”