Nonprofits are waking up to the benefits of having a mobile and social media strategy. raises money for children in need, and it’s experimenting with a suite of mobile apps to draw attention to the cause.

Launching this week, the company’s new iPhone app features profiles of kids in developing countries who desperately require surgeries. You can donate directly through the app and receive real-time updates on the patient’s progress.

Cure was founded in Kenya in 1998 when it opened a new hospital. Since then, the nonprofit has served 1.9 million patients and provided over 138,000 life-changing surgeries in 27 countries. Along with medical treatment, Cure has a spiritual mission, but it says it will treat patients regardless of their religious affiliation.

CTO Joel Worrall, who joined the company over three years ago, was one of the first technology hires. “My goal is to show donors that when they give $1,000, it’s really changing someone’s life,” he told me.

cure.orgInspired by crowdfunding sites, the new app features a progress bar on each patient’s profile page [below] to show how much money has been raised to date. Once the target is reached — typically a few thousand dollars — the surgery is scheduled, and donors will be regularly updated on the patient’s recovery.

Once you’ve made a donation, the app invites you to send a get-well message. If there’s a language or literacy barrier, claims its on the ground team will translate the messages and ensure they’re received.’s technology is cloud-based, so Worrall can quickly fix any issues. He said the company is using application performance service New Relic to monitor the app’s performance. hopes that by adding a personal, human touch to its app, more people will be inspired to make a donation. For instance, Allan [above] has clubfoot, a condition he was born with that left him feeling alienated from his peers. The app includes detailed information about his family life, schooling, and upbringing.

“This technology is doing a great thing for the kids that we are serving,” said Worrall. “Our goal is to make you feel close to someone on the other side of the world.”

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