Since the summer of 2012, Grove Ayers has logged 4,500 miles for The Michael J. Fox Foundation. He’s an all-star on Charity Miles, a phone app that donates funds to charities based on the number of miles you run, walk or bike. Your miles are funded thanks to the support of corporate sponsors.
In total, his workouts have led to $1,500 in donations from Charity Miles – that’s $.25 per mile walked or run, and $.10 per mile biked.
Ever since Grove’s father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD), he’s been involved in the PD community. He says Charity Miles gives him a chance to extend his impact.
“For me, I donate to Parkinson’s disease organizations with checks, too, but I don’t have the means to make a $1,500 donation,” says Grove. “So there’s about $1,200 a year that I can raise indirectly, that’s awesome.”
Grove encourages others to use active participation, or what he calls “active-ism.” Ready to get active and start walking, running or biking for Charity Miles yourself? Follow these simple steps:
- Download the app. It’s available for both Apple and Android phones.
- Create an account, or sign up using your Facebook account.
- Tell the app that it can use your location – that’s how it tracks how far you’ve gone and how much money you’ve raised for your charity.
- Select a charity. (The Michael J. Fox Foundation is about midway through the list!)
- Tell the app whether you’ll be walking, running or biking.
- Press “start.”
- Walk, run, bike for as long as you’d like. When you’re done, swipe up to finish.
The next step Grove takes is to share his successes on social media. When he’s not biking, or at least when he pauses to snap a great picture, he’s tweeting, posting on Instagram and using old-fashioned in-person communication to spread the word. He often brings Charity Miles flyers along with him on his rides in case he strikes up a conversation with a fellow cyclist admiring the scenic trails he frequents in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Anyone who uses social media knows that seeing the same messages over and over can get tiring, so sometimes, Grove doesn’t mention Charity Miles in his initial post. He lets images of his town’s scenic local lakes and snow-topped mountains inspire a dialogue on their own.
“Someone will see a picture somewhere online, and pause for a second,” he says. “That pause is all you need for engagement. They’ll say that’s a great picture, and I tell them I did it while I was biking Charity Miles for MJFF, and they ask how they can get involved.”
Finally, if you're enjoying the app, vote for it for a Webby Award and give the best app for "active-ism" some recognition.