Charity Miles App: Get Rewarded While Walking (review)

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Charity Miles is a cool app that lets you raise money for a charity you care about while you exercise, and you can use it on both iPhones and Android devices.

The app was started back in 2012 by a guy named Gene Gurkoff, and since then, it has raised millions n for different organizations like Habitat for Humanity and Alzheimer’s Association, to name a few.

It’s a simple concept: you run, walk, or bike, and for every mile, the app donates money to a chosen charity for you. You just open the app, choose a charity, and get moving.

As I write this, they have millions of downloads, however, the reviews seem to be meh.

Whether you’re looking to do a good deed and donate to charity or you’re just curious as to the ways you can get rewarded to walk, let’s take a look at how the app works and if it’s worth your time.

How it Works

When you open the app, you will pick an organization you want to support from a bunch of options such as Every Mother Counts or Alzheimer’s Association, to name a few.  Honestly, there are a ton of charities you can choose from, so I’m certain you will find one that aligns with your values.  When I was writing this, there were 60~ charities to look at.

Then, whenever you go for a walk, jog, or bike ride, the app tracks the miles you cover, and sponsors will donate money to your chosen charity based on how far you go.  As long as you’re moving and the app can track you, then your charity will win.

If you have an iPhone, the app syncs with the Health app, so all your steps and miles get recorded automatically.

If you have an Android device, however, the progress is tracked by your phone’s pedometer sensors.  Again, this means it’s tracked automatically; however, for more accurate readings, you can also use the Strava app, which can be synced with devices like FitBit and Garmin and then sent to Charity Miles.

So many people love using Charity Miles because it’s an easy way to stay fit and help a good cause at the same time. You can even join different clubs to compete on leaderboards and see how much impact you’re making. And the best part is, you get to choose your charity, so it feels personal and meaningful.

How Much Can I Earn?

According to the company, it’s straightforward.

You will earn 25 cents for every mile you walk or run, and 10 cents for every mile you bike.

And don’t worry about the money transfer – Charity Miles has that covered.

How You Earn Money

To earn money on the app, there are three ways you can do it:

  1. Charity miles corporate sponsorships: Companies sponsor the app, and when you use it to exercise, they donate money to your charity.  This is the main way to earn, and you can see the sponsor right on the app, as seen in the screenshot below.

  1. Friends and family sponsorships/donations: You can also ask your friends and family to sponsor you for each mile you run, walk, or bike.  To do this, you will share your sponsorship page.
  2. Employee empowerment program: Some companies have a program where they sponsor their employees through Charity Miles to support their chosen charities.  If you choose this option, you will need a code.

Getting Started

Starting with the app is easy.

You can sign up with your name and email or use Facebook. One essential thing, however, is you will need to allow the app to know your location.

Before any activity, pick a charity from their list, which features groups like the World Wildlife Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Association. Then, just decide if you’re running, walking, or cycling.  As you move, the app will track your progress.

However, one thing I noticed is that it can be a bit tricky to understand when the app starts tracking your movement. Unlike other fitness apps, there’s no clear “start” button. You will see your speed and distance, and behind those numbers, there’s an ad from a sponsoring company.   At the end of your activity, hit the red button, and you’ll see a summary of your distance and the donation you’ve generated.  This is one thing that was confusing, but it did appear to track your progress sometimes.

There were times when the app didn’t record all my activities. For example, it showed I ran 5+ miles in total, but only displayed a three mile run in my history. While I hope my charity received all the donations, I’d suggest not relying solely on Charity Miles to log all your runs.

The Pros:

  1. Charitable Concept: The app’s main draw is its charitable concept – users appreciate the opportunity to donate to charity by simply walking, running, or biking.
  2. Variety of Charities: A nice range of charities available to donate to.
  3. Motivational: The app can be a source of motivation for users to exercise.
  4. Responsive Support: Charity Miles support is super-responsive.

The Cons:

  1. Inaccuracy: A significant number of users reported the app inaccurately tracks their activities, either overestimating or underestimating the distance covered.
  2. Crashes and Glitches: Multiple users experienced crashes, issues with the app launching, or random restarts. This sometimes resulted in the loss of tracked miles.
  3. App Deterioration Over Time: Users who’ve been on the platform for several years reported that the app’s performance and reliability have worsened over time.
  4. Issues with Background Operation: If another app is opened or if the phone is used for another function, Charity Miles doesn’t track accurately.
  5. Battery Drain: Some users reported rapid battery drainage when the app is in use.
  6. Syncing Issues: Several users had problems syncing with other apps (e.g., Strava) or faced issues with the app’s internal sync mechanisms.
  7. Support Responses: While one user found support responsive, others received unsatisfactory solutions or explanations for issues.
  8. Advertising Interference: One user mentioned that an ad can sometimes reset mileage.
  9. Date and Time Inaccuracies: The app sometimes displays the wrong date and time, which affects user streaks and milestones.

Final Thoughts

6/10In the end, Charity Miles will not make you money, however, you can make money for charities that you care about.  If you want to walk a mile and earn your favorite charity $0.25, then this could be something to consider.  It’s more of that “feel good” app, not one that benefits your pocketbook.

Out of all the apps that pay you to walk, I would say this is one of the best ones if you’re looking to donate to a charity.  While it has some problems like many apps, it’s one of the bigger names.  Yes, it could use some improvements, but as long as you try to keep track of your steps, you will see that it does a good job most of the time.

That’s going to do it for now.

As always, if you want to comment on your experience, feel free to comment below.

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Tom Nathaniel

Hi! My name is Tom Nathaniel, and I created LushDollar to help share my honest thoughts on everything money. You won't find gimmicks here. It's the Internet's most honest money site after all. I graduated from Arizona State University, and I have worked in the finance industry since 2006, consulting with multiple Fortune 5000 companies.

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