When Russian model, Natalia Vodianova, looked onto her Instagram feed years ago, she was frustrated. Though thousands of people liked her photos within minutes, Vodianova felt that had the wrong priorities on social media. She wanted to harness social media for social good, through an app that would make it easier for people to support charitable causes and turn the users’ love of fashion into fundraising. Now, Vodianova and Elbi’s co-creator, Timon Alfinsky, have created an app that connects users to charities and motivates them to donate.
How the App Works
Launched in 2015, the Elbi app thrives on the philosophy that little actions make a big difference. The app shows users different charitable organizations, through an easy-to-read, “newsfeed.” Users have several options to engage with charitable projects; they can donate, create content and share stories on other social media platforms. With focuses ranging from supporting Special Olympic athletes to funding education worldwide, the Elbi app helps donors find causes to support.
Each charitable campaign features a short video or photograph, along with information about the cause. Highlighting individual stories, this presentation helps make each cause more relatable to the user. Donating is made easy through the donation button, the “LoveButton.” Thus, the app mobilizes micro-donations, since users can contribute as little as $1 with each donation. In fact, 100 percent of these donations go directly to each charity, excluding any bank transaction fees.
While the Elbi app focuses primarily on fundraising, it also encourages users to raise awareness for charitable causes by creating and posting photos or other content in support of the cause. The pages also have leaderboards to rank the top donors to each cause; however, the main motivation to donate comes from Vodianova’s own specialty: fashion. The Elbi app turns fashion into fundraising, by allowing donors to trade their micro-donations for fashionable items.
Turning Fashion into Fundraising
When a user donates $1 with the “Love Button,” the Elbi app rewards the user with one LoveCoin. As users amass LoveCoins, they can use them in the “LoveShop.” The LoveShop carries exclusive goods from popular brands, such as Beats by Dre, Givenchy, Fendi, and H&M Conscious. By creating videos reacting to and supporting charitable causes, Elbi app users can earn additional LoveCoins to use in the LoveShop.
Beyond this, through the ElbiDrop tab, users have the chance to win products that are unavailable anywhere else. These products appeal to a wide range of people, with everything from soccer balls signed by professional players to limited-edition handbags. ElbiDrop introduces these exclusive items to users and then gives them 24 hours to collect LoveCoins. The user who collects the most LoveCoins in that period of time gets to trade their LoveCoins for the special item. Thus, ElbiDrop motivates users to return to the Elbi app constantly and drives donations in pursuit of specific items. This allows people to donate and turn their pursuit of fashion into fundraising.
Changing the Way We Donate
By giving potential donors an easy, user-friendly platform, the Elbi app makes donating fast and personal. The app allows users to see videos that make each issue personal and relatable. Accordingly, the Elbi app gives smartphone users a different way to donate, which maximizes small donations towards a charitable cause. In just a few minutes, users can donate and raise awareness for charitable causes they believe in, all with the convenience of the Elbi app.
– Morgan Harden