Notre Dame students help to make The Difference

07 September 2020

Bethany Good and Sascha Oliver have been snapped up by local entrepreneur Zara Torre to work on The Difference, a brand new app that allows users to support charities every time they pay for anything.

Zara is one of those people who has several lifetimes’ worth of achievements under her belt. Her background is dentistry, after which she completed a law degree in international relations, then a Master’s of Public Health, all while working. She just can’t stop.

The inspiration for The Difference came during one of Zara’s strolls through Fremantle. In an increasingly cashless society, she found herself unable to give homeless people the spare change she would have once fished out of her pocket.

“We're living in a cashless society,” Zara says, “I make all my purchases online. Why isn't there an app that just asks you to round up? And if we could all give this little loose change, imagine the impact we could have.”

The impact would undoubtedly be massive. In 2018 alone, Australians spent $27.5 billion buying goods online, and with the COVID-19 crisis, contactless payment is becoming the norm for most businesses.

Apps that roundup your purchases and apps that track the impact of your purchases are not a new invention, but by tapping into the socially conscious attitudes of the millennial and Gen-Z generations, The Difference finds a gap in the market.

“People want to hold big business to account and don't feel like how society has progressed in the last 20 years reflects our values. Most people want to donate to charity, but they feel like charities are an immense beast, people want to know that charities are spending their dollar well.”

Usually when you donate, your entire experience involves going into a shopping centre and getting accosted by someone who guilt trips you into signing up for $30 a month, even though you really can't afford it. Then you get a Christmas card at the end of the year and you go, oh, wow, was that worth it? How much of my money went to where they said it would go?

Bethany Good got involved with The Difference through an internship as part of her degree. She says the best part of the app is how it becomes a natural part of life instead of an additional burden.

“There is so much injustice in the world,” Bethany says, “and we're in a privileged position where we can hopefully make a change. It’s such a simple way of being a part of social justice, and it just becomes part of your everyday spending.”

Sascha Oliver agrees that the app itself is an effective way of tracking her own impact of giving.

“The app is set up so well. You can see the different campaigns and there's so much they're working on to make it more transparent so you can see exactly where your direct donation is going.”

Zara believes The Difference might be the answer to some current barriers charities and non-for-profits are facing.

“More than ever, especially with COVID, with increasingly cashless charities doing really tough because nobody has funds, these little micro donations, which is what they call like these random 17 cents, 65 cents, whatever it is, if we were all doing that, but not even thinking about it, we could embed generosity into our everyday lives, which is what I'm trying to do. I feel like it's a low barrier to entry, but it's something that all of us could be a part of.”

Find out more about The Difference and download the app now.


Media Contact: Breyon Gibbs : +61 8 9433 0569 | breyon.gibbs@nd.edu.au