July 31, 2015
Recently I’ve become more involved with a local dog rescue, but often it can be very time consuming. If you foster a dog you’ve got to go to a weekly event, help train the dog, bring them to dog parks to socialize them, and share that they are available for adoption. For many, it’s simply not possible to devote a lot of time to a cause they believe in; however, thanks to technology there are more ways to get involved outside of making a donation. WoofTrax is changing all of this by gamifying something you and your four legged best friend do several times a day, walk. As a result, In 2014 they distributed more than $65K to various organizations.
The idea came from a client of theirs who was into dogs, huskies in particular. After going on various adventures, the client wanted a way to track how much they were running with the dogs. Rather than a website, the team suggested creating an app. Not long after, it evolved into a platform that collected that data at the same time as giving back to local shelters and rescues.
Expansion Through Woof of Mouth
Launched nearly two years ago, WoofTrax’s app Walk For a Dog is a mashup of a fitness tracking GPS and social giving. “We first started with the Baltimore animal shelter, and got feedback,” said Doug Hexter, WoofTrax CEO. “We tested it and it’s taken off from there. There are now over 7000 shelters and rescues now involved. There are 50-100 a week asking to join.”
Walk for a dog is not what I would call the prettiest app due to its user interface (a few too many ads), but it’s a simple way to give back to local animal shelters and rescues. Walk for a dog works by adding in your furry friends information and with a press of a button tracking your walk. It also has a setting for running and biking as well. The distance you travel doesn’t have a large impact on how much money goes to your rescue or shelter of choice, but more so the amount of people dedicated to that organization. Their primary source of funding comes through sponsors, and as they advance the platform the data collected will help them create relevant ads and campaigns.
“The formula is designed to be as fair as possible for people of all ages and background,” said Hexter. “It’s not charity miles or distance based.” They recently had a story come in about grandchildren trying to get their grandmother on to a smartphone, and it wasn’t until she heard about the app that she finally made the upgrade.
Encouraging an Active Lifestyle
Since launch, nearly 4M walks have been registered, and close to 6M miles have been logged. In addition to contributing to a good cause, the app promotes healthy activities. As a result they just received the Hero Award, and will be partnering with the organizers to help achieve one billion acts of peace. Through the app, they will set a goal of one million walks on the platform by the end of the year, which will go towards the total one billion goal. They are also involved in Bark for Life (similar to Relay for Life), and other charitable programs.
Looking towards the future, they plan to expand on the platform. Rather than a simple tool to track activities, they will be making it easier to directly give a gift to organizations, and communicate. Rescues and shelters will eventually be able to use the app to create campaigns, post updates to their followers, and deliver even more relevant information from their sponsors.
“It’s not just the checks we can write to them, but we are tying the current and future supporters together,” said Hexter.
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