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The Only Way to Rally is With a Cause

How a new phone app is providing a boost to local charities



If you look to the western horizon you'll see the profile of the Three Sisters peaks that were long ago dubbed Faith, Hope and Charity. There are several stories swirling around that seek to explain the origin of their nicknames but perhaps it is as simple as this: faith plus hope equals charity.

For three local business professionals, their new company, RallyCause, is using a similar formula by integrating faith and hope into a new phone app to promote local charity.

Created by co-founders and Bend residents Lisa Flynn, Roberto Aiello and Patrick Amihood, the RallyCause app makes it easier for people to infuse their shopping with good will.

"Our purpose is to help nonprofits and support a healthy local economy," Flynn said. "It's great to see that people are motivated to purchase if they can donate a portion of their payment to the cause of their choice."

The RallyCause app, which the co-founders first tested in July, has four simple steps: First, download the Web app and sign up. Second, select the cause of your choice. Third, look at the list of participating businesses in your area and buy from them. Finally, upon checkout, watch as a percentage of your purchase is donated to your predetermined cause.

The percentage is entirely up to the participating business.

"We've been participating with the app for a few weeks and really love the flexibility of choosing what charity your donation will go to," said Lauranne Crooks, manager of the Bellatazza coffee shop in Sunriver.

After each donation, the "Tally" tab within the application will update to showcase the goal amounts needed for every cause and the total amount raised by the user as well as the entire community.

"The technology used makes it easy and fun to participate," Flynn said. "We wanted to make something that would be sustainable for local business owners to attract customers, and to utilize the crowd-funding model for causes—where every little bit helps."

The company started promoting the product in late September and provided its first big showcase at last month's First Friday art walk.

Handing out red gloves with the message, "Lend a Helping Hand this Holiday Season," the team braced the winter weather to explain the app and promote their vision for RallyCause.

"We want to make this whole concept and mentality available to the masses," Flynn said. "People want to make a difference. It just has to fit into their lifestyle."

Bend, Redmond, Sisters and Eugene were the original cities for implementation. Since the app's inception, more then 30 businesses have signed on, including Café Sintra, Cuppa Yo and Parrilla Grill.

With a variety of businesses utilizing the app, more than 50 area causes have been set up to receive donations. Among those are Cascade School of Music, Abilitree and The Shepherd's House.

In addition to local support, the trio at RallyCause wants to implement their idea in cites across the country.

"We'd love to take this concept nationwide because it creates a more symbiotic relationship for businesses and causes that would benefit any community," Flynn said. "It's a movement. It's not just about the app but being socially and economically responsible."

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