Pelotonia is about to make it easier for people to raise money for cancer research — on your own time, at your own pace and from virtually anywhere — and you might not even need cycling shorts or your checkbook.
With a new smartphone app Pelotonia is launching Friday, called PULLL, users can earn money for cancer research for each mile they bicycle, run or walk.
Pelotonia sponsors have committed to donating certain funds for each mile that app users log. Each activity will have a daily earn rate, which will differ depending on that day’s sponsor. Users also can choose to share their exercise on social media and invite friends to "boost" the funds they raised through "microdonations" as low as $1.
Pelotonia, which raises money for cancer research at Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center through an annual three-day cycling ride, will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year. The event has raised more than $157 million for cancer research since its inception.
But the new app goes beyond the yearly ride.
With PULLL, Pelotonia leaders sought to "build a larger community to get behind this one goal and really make a bigger impact," said Miguel Perez, vice president of mission and brand for Pelotonia.
The name for the app comes from the cycling world, where pulling refers to the role of the first rider in a group to help block the wind for others and lead the way, Perez said.
And the extra L? That’s a reminder to always look for more, Perez said.
"We’re always looking for that one more donor, one more rider, one more mile, one more breakthrough, one more cure, one more researcher, one more creative idea to get us closer to the cancer-free world," he said.
With PULLL, anyone who downloads the free smartphone app can participate, regardless of their location. Users do not have to raise a minimum amount or pledge a donation. While a participant in the August Pelotonia ride could count the money they raise on PULLL toward their Pelotonia fundraising pledge, people can use the app any day of the year, regardless of participation in the ride.
"PULLL allows Pelotonia to expand our efforts to mobilize purpose-driven communities and create a healthier world in which we are all empowered to live our best lives," Pelotonia President and CEO Doug Ulman said in a statement.
Pelotonia leaders hope the new app could mean big-time fundraising success. The organization’s estimations indicate each PULLL user could raise $100 per year, and they hope to have 100,000 people using the app in 2018.
But they have an even larger goal of 500,000 users by 2023, which could yield $50 million for cancer research. Other estimates put the funds raised even higher.
PULLL expands Pelotonia’s reach without necessarily launching additional bike rides in other cities across the country, Perez said. Other locations might not have the corporate support and giving community found in Columbus that has led to the organization’s local success.
"There’s a lot of magic that has to fall into place for something like this to be successful," he said.
Pelotonia worked with IBM iX and Raizlabs to research and develop the app.
PULLL is intended to not only raise money for cancer research, but encourage healthy lifestyles and physical activity for everyone, especially because obesity and lack of physical activity are leading causes of cancer.
"Ultimately, we’re just looking to make the world a happier and healthier place," Perez said.