The holiday season -- it's a time for buying and giving.
And if you like to shop local and give local, now there is an app for that.
The mobile app is called RallyCause, and was developed last June by a trio of entrepreneurs--including marketing expert Lisa Flynn--as a way to encourage Central Oregonians to shop local, while also donating to local causes.
More than 400 people, 30 businesses and 35 causes have have joined forces this season, all to help families in Central Oregon.
"It's really all about community," Flynn said Saturday. "And we were really pleased to see that more people were more motivated to use it, if they could donate that small discount, rather than save it themselves."
RallyCause works like a coupon. Once downloaded onto your smartphone, you can shop at participating businesses, get discounts on products -- and then give the savings to a participating nonprofit of your choice.
"Customers are much more willing to to use it, because it's a cause they are picking -- and again, they can change their cause whenever they want to," Flynn said.
Bellatazza coffee shop owner Stewart Fritchman said he didn't have to think twice about joining the RallyCause program.
"It was absolutely the right thing for Bellatazza," Fritchman said. "I get probably three requests a day of people wanting donations, and this is the perfect solution for these requests."
RallyCause not only brings in donations, but makes shopping about more than a quick transaction.
"It's so much more than a just a coupon or just a discount," Flynn said. "It's really a moment where these few people are doing something good for the community together, and everybody is smiling."
"It creates so much excitement,"Fritchman said. "The people that are coming in are recognizing it as this is a new piece of our regular habit, and we want to donate too. It gives a point of connection between the guests and the people behind the counter."
To help promote the app, street teams gave away hundreds of pairs of red gloves to Bend's First Friday Art Walk participants, each with the simple message on them: "Lend a Helping Hand."
The Bend firm recently got the second-place prize of $55,000 at the Bend Venture Conference.
Already, the program has expanded from Bend to Redmond, Sisters and over the Cascades to Eugene, according to its Website, with plans to soon add Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego and more cities in California and Colorado.
You can find out more about it and download the app at www.rallycause.com