An app a day

Two Huntington Beach men hope to help schools, nonprofits and other institutions with a new way to fundraise — right in the palm of consumers' hands.

Gary Allhusen and Carlos Aguilar began developing the Communities for Cause mobile app in November to modernize fundraising and help raise more money for causes. After a successful test run at the Pegasus School in Huntington Beach, the app was widely released to other Orange County schools earlier this month.

The app was developed to compete with Scrip, a fundraising system that allows users to purchase gift cards for various merchants and earn a percentage of revenue for causes.

Allhusen said that Communities for Cause is unique in that people can now purchase fundraising items on their phones rather than have to go to locations to get gift cards.

Users of the app can find participating businesses and register their purchases, and a percentage, varying between 10% and 20%, of those purchases goes toward the cause of their choice. Communities for Cause highlights local businesses that value working with a devoted group of supporters and in turn donate a greater share of sales.

Allhusen said Scrip only targets national brands, and the donations are usually only 4% or 5% on average.

"We think we can at least double, if not more, the money that Scrip raises," Allhusen said. "The response has been really encouraging."

The app currently supports around 60 causes, including schools in Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Costa Mesa and Laguna Beach. It has 100 merchants on its platform that range from independently-owned businesses to chains around Orange County.

"That's really the key to success ... that we have a good sense of merchants that are in the driving range of parents on the platform," Allhusen said.

Communities for Cause is available for free on the App Store for iOS devices for Apple and on Google Play for Android devices.

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