You Run, Your Boss Donates to Charity
18 November 2015 at 8:02 am
A mobile application to encourage daily activity through workplace charitable donations has launched with the support of VicHealth.
The Pulseraiser platform allows employers to sponsor their workers’ runs, through either their health and wellbeing programs or corporate social responsibility budgets. Every kilometre run contributes funds to a pool of donations to charity.
Co-founder, John Emmerson, said he developed the concept to provide alternative motivation for Australians to exercise where the rewards were immediate.
“This is quite novel, this hasn’t really been explored before in Australia,” Emmerson said.
“There a multitude of trackers out there, but still the level of physical inactivity in Australia and in other countries is not as good as it could be. And the reason for that, quite simply, is because life gets in the way.
“We’ve found this does provide motivation and, importantly, permission to be active.”
In a series of workplace pilots, 26 participants with varying fitness levels ran a total of 913 kilometers and raised $915 for their nominated charities over six weeks.
Emmerson said workplace health promotion was increasingly of interest to employers, with Medibank estimating unhealthy workers cost businesses on average $1420 per person a year.
Currently more than two-thirds of Australian adults do not exercise enough to reduce the risk of chronic disease.
“In Australia there is a well established culture of workplace wellness. It is, if anything, lagging behind countries such as the US where it’s very developed, but it’s certainly growing,” he said.
“As we all know, healthy workers is good for business – more productive, greater presenteeism, greater retention.”
The app contains a tracker and integrates with other running platforms, as well as wearable trackers including Fitbit, and participants can share their accomplishments on social media.
Pulseraiser was funded through the VicHealth Innovation Challenge grant, which VicHealth CEO, Jerril Rechter, said responded to Australians changing preferences on how they want to stay active.
“There is a trend towards flexible, social and less structured opportunities to exercise,” Rechter said.
“The Innovation Challenge is looking at ways that technology can be used as an enabler to be more active. Pulseraiser is a novel approach which we hope will inspire many people to go running.”
Pluseraiser charges a small activation fee to set up the platform with a unique company code, but 100 per cent of money raised is given directly to charities.
Emmerson also said any registered Australian charity is eligible to become a recipient, and charities can communicate with participants to tell them the impact their run has achieved.