Innovation That Matters

Humanitarian charity converts smartphone screens into free ad space


Screen Donor is a free app which disables the smartphone's sleep mode, creating a new, untapped ad space for charitable organizations.

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One of the biggest challenges for small NGOs and charities is spreading awareness of their organization without spending much needed funds on expensive billboards and advertisements. Now, the Swedish arm of humanitarian organzation Doctors of the World, has found an ingenious solution: Screen Donor is an app which converts the lock screen of dormant smartphones into free, untapped ad space.

Potential screen donors can download the app for free and choose an NGO to support. The app temporarily disables the smartphone’s sleep mode, replacing the otherwise blank screensaver with information about the chosen NGO. The user can activate the platform anytime they are in a public place — such as at a coffee shop or in a meeting. They simply leave it on the table in front of them, as they usually would, and they are helping spread the word about the work of their chosen organization. For those who want to help but cannot afford to donate financially, the platform offers a brilliant alternative — the only resource it uses is battery life.

Screen Donor was developed in partnership with JMW and IVEO in Stockholm and is currently solely hosting advertisements for Doctors of the World — who provide emergency and long-term medical care to vulnerable populations. Of course, battery life is not a huge sacrifice to make for a good cause but it may be enough to put off some consumers: perhaps Screen Donor should consider offering automated battery saving features — such as lowered screen brightness or disabled Bluetooth — to tempt uncertain users?



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