FavorTree - New app uses gamification for social good

By April Burbank

A new mobile app called FavorTree is harnessing the competitive energy that makes online games like FarmVille successful and using it to fortify real-life communities.

FavorTree, which opened for pre-registration today, rewards users for sharing goods and services with their real-life neighbors. Each time users do favors for their neighbors — like lending textbooks, giving rides to the airport, or helping with chores — their virtual “trees” gain fruit.

“Similar to Farmville, the more you help, the more your virtual tree grows,” says co-founder Micki Krimmel. “And the rewards extend beyond the virtual. Every time you help a neighbor, you are strengthening your local community.”

FavorTree is a new "favor-trading" app that combines gamification with the collaborative consumption movement.

FavorTree has been funded with a $350,000 investment from The Knight Foundation’s Technology for Engagement Initiative.

“We chose FavorTree because we believe that it helps build social capital in communities by exchanging favors between residents,” says Damian Thorman, head of Knight’s Technology for Engagement Initiative. “We’re trying to use tech to help make things happen in the real world… This is a model that we think really builds social capital more than collaborative consumption.”

Krimmel had already demonstrated the success of online collaborative consumption with her website NeighborGoods, which she says was set up like “Amazon for borrowing” and was focused on swapping physical goods within a neighborhood. She realized that the main value of the site was the way the site facilitated real-life relationships between neighbors.

Read more at Forbes.com


About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.