Chase’s Facebook Charity Donation App is Growing Like a Social Game

Chase, the financial services conglomerate, started a Facebook campaign two weeks ago, asking users to tell it how to donate $5 million to charity. To do so, it had Context Optional build it a full-featured application, Chase Community Giving. The app has reached more than 844,000 monthly active users as of today — fast growth by any standard.

It’s almost as if the app is a social game, although the dynamics are different, and the app has most likely used ads and a wide variety of other marketing efforts to grow.

Most obviously, Facebook users want this money going to charities they care about. But the app has some other nice touches that almost certainly have contributed to the growth.

The homepage includes a search box, where you can look for your charity of choice among the 500,000 Chase lists as potential recipients, or search for a local one by entering your zip code. You can also see a window showing the latest votes from other users.

So users understand exactly what’s at stake, the homepage also clearly explains the contest details. Voting is going on through December 11. The 100 charities with the  most votes will each get $25,000, with the announcement happening on December 15. Final voting will go from January 15 to 22. The $1 million winner will be announced on February 1, along with 5 additional charities getting $100,000 each; a panel of philanthropy-minded celebrities will decide who to distribute an additional 1 million.

Also notable: the app’s top navigation bar includes options to let you see a stream of your friend’s activity, a list of all the charities you’ve voted for (you get 20 votes), and a page explaining other ways to get involved. Those include posting your votes to your Facebook profile and news feed, and to Twitter. For charities themselves, the app also encourages them to create their own Facebook pages if they haven’t already as well as add the Chase app to pages to further promote the contest.

In sum, the app cleverly taps into people’s desire to donate others’ money to good causes, while making it easy for users and charities to expand the reach of the app (and of Chase’s brand).