The American Red Cross has recently launched its 7th app. Unlike earlier apps which help you prepare for a disaster situation or give you potentially life-saving information, the Team Red Cross App connects users to volunteer opportunities in their local neighborhood. When a disaster strikes in your local neighborhood, the app will notify users in the area, who can them accept or decline the mission. As a current intern and potential future volunteer, I took it upon myself to explore the app to see if it is really what it’s cracked up to be. Here are my findings:
When you open the app for the very first time, a video montage begins to play. While the noise certainly got my attention, I was a bit apprehensive about why this video was playing. However after the clip ended, I was more than ready to jump in an ERV and start volunteering. This video was quite moving and powerful, which I assume is what was intended. I was a bit concerned that the video would play every single time I opened the app, but I have found that not to be the case. Shout out to the app development team for making this clip inspiring instead of annoying!
You are then asked if Team Red Cross can use your current location. It is crucial to say ‘OK’ to this question as if you don’t the app will not be able to easily locate volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood. After tapping OK, you are brought through an introduction of the app, which you can continue through by pressing the big red ‘Continue’ button on the bottom of your screen. The fact that it automatically updates your location is incredibly useful, as now I don’t have to change it whenever I go to school or back home.
You are then prompted to make an account on the app. You can either connect your Facebook account to Team Red Cross or you can make your own account. I would suggest linking it to your Facebook page (if you have one) because it will allow you to connect with your ‘Teammates’ and at the moment only Facebook friend can be added as teammates. You can also decide to join later but still receive notifications about when help is needed. If you’re not sure about volunteering or what opportunities there are to volunteer with the Red Cross, this might be a good choice for you.
Finally, you are in the heart of the Team Red Cross app – the Mission Hub There are two tabs in the Mission Hub – Missions and Briefings. By swiping horizontally through the Missions tab, you can see the missions that are available in your area. ‘Mission’ is essentially another word for opportunity to get involved or volunteer. However, in my personal opinion, ‘mission’ makes it sound like I’m a spy or special agent, which I greatly enjoy. In the ‘Briefings’ tab you will find a progress bar as well as a list of briefings you to complete. Each briefing has information about the qualifications needed and what the mission entails, followed by a quiz at the bottom. By completing the quiz, you can increase your progress bar closer to 100%. Don’t worry, if you don’t get the answer right the first time you will be notified at the end and can go back and change it (sigh, if only we had that option in college….).
If you successfully complete the test, you will earn an achievement, which is essentially a badge. You can view your achievements by tapping on ‘My Profile’ in the bottom black bar. In this section you can see your achievements in the first tab, or go to the ‘Teammates’ tab to see which of your friends are also using the Team Red Cross app. Again, if linked your account to your Facebook profile, your Facebook friends will be automatically added as teammates. However, you also have the option of inviting teammates through an email, text message, or social media.
Finally, the ‘Activity’ button on the bottom right of your screen shows you both your friend’s activity on the Team Red Cross app as well as what the national and your local Red Cross chapter is saying on social media.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this app. I think that Team Red Cross has the potential to not only inform current volunteers about opportunities they don’t know about but to get more people volunteering. I highly recommend this app to all current volunteers as well as any people who are on the fence about getting involved. The Red Cross has tons of opportunities to do good (and will make you feel like a superhero while doing them too!).
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