How JustDiidz is making charitable donations on campus easier.
How many times has someone older than you suggested that “you’ll get it” one day when you’re out of this dream-world, I-can-do-anything state you’re in on a college campus? When $40,000+ of student loans and adult start-up expenses finally settle in? For me, it’s an all too familiar comment passed across the turkey’s broken wishbone at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Here we are at Ohio State, learning more about the world, its problems, and how we can solve them every day, without feeling like we actually have the resources or prestige at our disposal to make the difference we crave so much because we’re only kids.
Brands like Toms and Warby Parker have gained popularity for people our age, and while the design of the apparel is trendy and stylish, it offers more than just a new pair of shoes. These companies developed systems where they give back shoes or glasses to those less fortunate when we get our bi-annual pairs with the idea being a person can help another person simply by doing things they were already going to do.
There is one student organization in particular embracing this challenge.
Off The Lake Productions is Ohio State’s only student-run theatre organization on campus, and they have a very special twist that makes them different from your classic theatre group. Every year, they pair with a local charity in Columbus to receive 100% of their annual ticket profits. These guys are doing what they love and giving back to the community, as college students. While most of us were struggling to collect enough spare quarters for a $6 Mad Mex marg (R.I.P), OTL is generating a couple thousand in charitable donations every year since 1997.
OTL is not the only student organization on campus raising money for better causes, though. Every sorority and fraternity on campus also sponsors a national philanthropy, sometimes with local partners here in the 614, and clubs like 4 Paws for Ability, American Red Cross, OneLove, and more are actively raising awareness and funds for varying causes as well.
As an organization of broke college students themselves, OTL only charges $1 for their shows’ tickets.
“We wanted to create a performing arts environment on campus that was accessible for students; it’s kind of a trope that students have no money so this is a good way for them to experience theatre without paying $15 at some show off-campus,” explained current OTL president, Casey Murray.
As someone working with Residence Life, Involved Living, and other Ohio State official offices that manage student organizations, Casey knows first-hand what struggles all clubs go through when it comes to fundraising.
“We’re not technically allowed to handle cash so it’s been an interesting experience finding out different ways to get donations. We collect canned goods as well, and we started using Venmo to collect money.”
In other words, small stipulations like these are a pain in the ass for students trying to make a difference.
Enter start-up, Columbus-born-and-raised iPhone and Android app, “JustDiidz.” Picture any form of social media you already own, except instead of scrolling through more political jokes made in poor taste and the same meme you’ve seen 1,870 times in the past four months, you see local charities hosting fundraising campaigns you can contribute to right on the app. Or you can see your roommate’s student organization raising money for an event. Maybe TRISM is giving away FREE AVOCADO TOAST (*gasp*) with every JustDiidz donation made that day to the cause of your choice, no matter how much money you donated. In the app you trade out your average “like” for a donation button (but you can still like and comment in the app itself).
I talked with the CEO Hanad Duale about what sparked the idea for JustDiidz. Laughing to himself, he mapped out an experience at Kroger when Salvation Army was raising money in a bucket for local homeless and low-income families. Having no pocket change on hand, he promises to get cash back inside when he was done shopping. Hands full of groceries, Hanad looked around and saw no sign of the fundraisers, their shift having come to an end, as well as his opportunity to give.
“It’s an easy tool for anyone so long as they have a smartphone,” says Ohio State sophomore and JustDiidz user, Sydney Frank. In the age of technology, philanthropy can keep up and flourish under new millennium management.
The app isn’t only here to help local charities, but any cause that is looking to raise money, including local churches, political campaigns, and even the student clubs you know and love. Hanad encourages this, saying millenials’ and gen-z’s are extremely passionate about community engagement and giving back. The app is really donor-centric, so whether it’s a local organization, a charity, or a nonprofit or even a club, all of those who want to raise money for it, can.
“[Ohio State] is phenomenal when it comes to student engagement, there are tons of clubs at OSU that are service-oriented so it’s just the right fit. If we can engage with OSU at this stage, then we can really see a lot more people giving in their futures with technology like this.”
JustDiidz could be the next thing your student organization uses to fundraise money with on the Oval, selling baked goods to baked Buckeyes (or hungover Buckeyes—we’re all out here trying to get through another day feeling like we helped out someone). It’s a step further than Venmo, being donor-specific and offering up campus merchant opportunities. If you’re looking for an opportunity to fundraise, get local deals, or do a daily good deed (Diid*) make a free account today.
Feature photo provided by Jerri Shafer/JAMS Photography.