New app Kindly makes volunteering and helping good causes easy



Looking to volunteer for a good cause? There's an app for that.

Location-based app Kindly helps connect volunteers to opportunities nearby. When you open the program, it asks a few questions about where, when, and what you want to do. Options include gardening, working with animals, tutoring, and home building. From there, you receive options based on your criteria. You can also get notifications for your volunteer gig, reminders of an upcoming date, or just more information.

Co-founder and executive director Brandon Litman hopes the program will introduce organizations to new volunteers. “[Younger people] are searching for opportunities via their mobile phone,” he says. “Volunteer organizations don’t typically have a very large technology budget to be able to build a mobile integrated solution.”

Kindly can also make things run more smoothly for event organizers. For example, the app uses location services to automatically check volunteers in when they arrive. “You know they are there because their phones ping,” he says. “That’s making it easier for volunteer coordinators to focus on things that can’t be automated.”

The idea for the app came about while Litman was working on One Day on Earth, a media platform where people from all over the world film their community throughout the course of a day. Through that project, Litman met over 20 different nonprofit partners in the Twin Cities, relationships he drew on while putting the Kindly app together.

“I basically used my nonprofit relationships to get a real understanding of what’s happening in the Twin Cities,” Litman says.



While Litman isn’t from the Twin Cities, he wanted to start here because we have a rich philanthropic community. “We decided to launch in the Twin Cities based on the really fantastic and positive experience we’ve had on previous collaborations in the region,” he says.

Eventually, Litman says, he hopes the app will support donating as well as volunteering, but for now it’s focused on donating time. “We want to make it easier and have a more fluid flow from the initial expressed interest [of], 'I want to volunteer,' to the end game, which is showing up,” he says.

The app will go fully live for people living in New York City and the Twin Cities in early April. It's a free program, and can currently be downloaded via iTunes. Plans to make the app available for Android are scheduled for a few months later.