Mini created a Treasure Hunt app to launch the new Mini Cooper in Europe

Mini created a Treasure Hunt app to launch the new Mini Cooper in Europe

It’s easy for an organisation to say “I want to build a mobile app”. It’s another thing entirely to build an app that has a purpose and that supporters actually want to use.

This is an issue that we find a lot in the digital marketing and fundraising space. We saw it first with Social Media. Organisations were excited to jump on the bandwagon and start building social communities, but many did not invest the time, resource or money into the channel to manage it properly and create content that gave the supporter a reason to get involved (outside of the passive Like & Follow).

And this is happening with mobile apps too now. But to a lesser degree but it has a higher technology and investment required up front that it’s kept those with a short attention span at bay. There is a bunch of data that shows that after an app has been downloaded, 25% of mobile apps are opened only once. So while we all want to achieve the holy grail, conceive and create an app that people want to use every day, most of us would be stoked to develop an app for a specific event or campaign that is used as it was planned.

Using mobile apps for marketing

Apart from the content or game or purpose that the mobile app has for the consumer, there are lots of added functionality that marketers and brands can enable.

One that I wanted to focus on for this article was using a geo-fence or beacon.

A geo-fence allows you to create a GPS location based circumference that if any person with your app on their phone walks into it you can send them a push notification or message.

A beacon works in a similar way but uses Bluetooth technology from a physical beacon placed at a specific location that sends a push message or notification to the app user when they are within a certain distance of that physical location.

Organisations who have bricks and mortar stores or event locations could make great use of this functionality.

mobile beacons for NYC egg hunt

Where’s Wally Egg has a mobile beacon inside

Coupling your mobile app with a location-based beacon

That’s just what Elephant Family and Faberge have achieved with their Big Egg Hunt campaign and mobile app. Here is the run down of facts – I think the picture gives you some great insight into this fun fundraising event.

  • Faberge selected two charities to benefit from the auction of 275 designer eggs
  • 275 eggs were placed around New York City (and in Dublic, London and Glasgow before that) for a massive egg/ treasure hunt
  • Each egg had a Bluetooth enabled beacon inside it that sent messages to people with the Big Egg Hunt app when they got within range of the egg (people were incentivised to participate by a $30,000 prize of Faberge jewellery to the winner)
  • Players collect the eggs in their app – when 10 people had found the egg, it’s location was made public on the app
  • Once the eggs were made public, Big Egg Hunt app users could bid on the egg use paddle8 (the money raised was donated to the Elephant Family charity)
  • All the eggs were showcased in an exhibition at Rockefella Centre after the Hunt was complete
  • The was Big Egg Hunt merchandise for sale with proceeds to the charities – mini replica’s of the eggs were made as well as a children’s book of the egg hunt and more.

I can’t find any information that lists how many people downloaded the Big Egg Hunt app but I could find that New York raised $1.6 million for charity, whereas London in 2012 had raised $1.5 million.

Of course this was supported by a media and promotional campaign and incentivised by a prize, but it is pretty cool.

Mini Getaway did a mobile app hunt best, and did it first

It’s a slightly less frenzied version of the Mini Getaway that was held in Stockholm in 2010. Well before mobile apps were as widely used as they are today.

Got a fundraising mobile app idea?

I’ve got a great mobile app idea for advocacy based non-profit organisations. If you know an advocacy organisation like Amnesty or Greenpeace or similar, please put me in touch with them.