What is Charity Miles and what does it do?
Charity Miles is an iPhone and Android app that helps you turn all the miles you walk, run and bike anyway into money for charity.
How does it track my miles?
The app uses your phone’s internal pedometer and GPS to track your distance.
On iPhones, it syncs with your Apple Health app to automatically pull all of the steps and miles recorded by your phone. This means that any fitness tracking devices connected to your Apple Health app will thereby sync to Charity Miles.
On Android phones, it syncs with your phone’s internal pedometer. There are many different models of Android phones, and Android operating systems. Therefore, they each have different ways of doing this. However, most of the popular Android phones will automatically send their pedometer miles to Charity Miles.
You can also connect Charity Miles to Strava. If you do, then any devices (i.e. Garmin, Peloton, FitBit) that send their activities will thereby send them to Charity Miles.
If you think that you did miles that aren’t accurately reflected in Charity Miles, you can add them manually through Health Kit or Strava on the Honor System. (See below.)
How can I earn money for charity?
There are four general sources of money that you can earn for your charity:
- Charity Miles’ corporate sponsorship fund.
- The charities’ corporate sponsors.
- Pledges and donations from friends and family.
- Companies that sponsor their employees through our Employee Empowerment Program.
Who are my charity's sponsors? And how do their sponsorships work?
In 2019, Charity Miles created a new feature to enable charities to feature their own sponsors in the app. Not all charities do this. However, when they do, the sponsorship terms will be whatever the charity and the sponsor agree on. Depending on those terms, you will be able to see the money you raise from those sponsors increase with every mile that you do. Charity Miles does not take a percentage of these sponsorships.
How do I get sponsored by my friends and family?
You can create a pledge page where your friends can pledge sponsor your miles at whatever rate per mile they want. It’s like an old school pledge drive: they pledge X¢ per mile up to an amount they are comfortable with. Then, when you complete your miles they make their donation directly with your charity. We also enable them to prepay their full donation directly with your charity.
Again, we do not process or take any percentage of these donations. They are made directly with your charity so that the charity gets the money immediately, without any extra transaction costs.
If you already have a personal donation page set up through your charity (or on a site like Classy or GoFundMe), you can paste the URL to that page in your Charity Miles settings. This way, when we redirect your supporters to make their donations, they can make them on your personal fundraising page.
How do I get sponsored by my employer?
Our Employee Empowerment program enables companies to create private teams for their employees. They can run friendly intra-company challenges. And, at their option, they can sponsor their employees’ miles.
When they sponsor their employees’ miles, the terms of the sponsorship are up to them. They can choose the rate per mile, the total sponsorship cap, and whether to sponsor their employees for the charity of each employee’s choice, or for a particular charity of the company’s choice.
If your company has an Employee Empowerment team on Charity Miles, click here for more information on how to join that team.
Can I use the app to track a specific run, walk or bike ride?
Yes, the app can track specific activities. To do this, click the circular button in the bottom middle of the screen and select the most appropriate activity: Outdoor Walk, Outdoor Run, Outdoor Bike, Indoor Walk or Indoor Bike. Note, you’re not limited to those activities. We just like to keep the list simple. Pick whichever activity is most applicable to what you’re doing. For example, if you’re golfing outside, you should pick the Outdoor Walk option. If you’re running on an elliptical machine, you could use the indoor walk or indoor run option.
Also, please note that the activity you select will tell the phone how it should be measuring your activity. If you choose an outdoor activity, the app uses the GPS which is very accurate. If you choose an indoor activity, the app uses the phone’s pedometer sensors, which can be more or less accurate depending on your phone and your activity. For example, if you are on an elliptical machine, the phone’s indoor sensors may not be as accurate because the phone is not detecting the same impact that it would if you were walking on the ground or a treadmill.
I use a tracking device (e.g. Fitbit/Apple Watch) to track my mileage. Can those devices be synced to Charity Miles?
Link your tracking device to your phone’s tracking app (e.g. Health Kit for iPhone and the internal pedometer for Android), or to Strava and connect Strava to Charity Miles. If that tracking app is synced with Charity Miles, any exercise you do with your tracking device will be carried over to Charity Miles. That means you can run, walk, dance, do yoga and more without holding your phone. Just remember to open the Charity Miles app after your workout to make sure the data syncs.
On most Androids, your phone’s internal pedometer will automatically sync with Charity Miles. (However, there are peculiarities on some Android phones.) If you have an iPhone, you’ll be prompted to sync with Health Kit when you set up your account. If you forget to do that during the onboarding process, here are instructions for how to do it afterwards. For instructions on linking to Strava, click here. If you experience any syncing issues, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and they will respond to you in 24 hours.
How can I record miles on a stationary bike?
This can be challenging because the phone’s sensors will not detect motion on a stationary bike. However, there are a few options here.
First, if you have a “connected” stationary bike that sends your miles to Strava (like Peloton), then you can sync your Strava with Charity Miles and that will send your indoor bike miles to Charity Miles.
Otherwise, you can try putting Charity Miles on the indoor walk mode and putting the phone in your pocket or bike shorts. This will detect steps like you are walking but will not accurately reflect the miles you may have cycled.
Lastly, we also have an honor system option. See below…
What is the Honor System?
If you have miles that aren’t being accurately reflected in the app for any reason, you can always manually enter them through either Health Kit or Strava.
To manually enter your miles into Health Kit, open Health Kit and click the “Walking and Running Distance” card in your Summary. Then click the “Add Data” button in the upper right corner of the screen.
To manually enter miles into Strava, open Strava and click the “+” button in the upper left corner of the screen and select manual entry. Enter your miles and they will then be sent from Strava to Charity Miles.
The app didn’t accurately record an outdoor walk, run or bike. What should I do?
Charity Miles will pick up any GPS data that your phone picks up. However, there are many variables that can affect your phone’s GPS reception for all, or different parts of your activity.
To check your GPS reception, please take your phone off wi-fi and open your maps app. Is there a larger transparent blue circle around your location dot? If so, that means that your phone’s GPS isn’t getting a strong enough signal to locate you within that circle with enough precision to accurately measure your distance. The quickest way to recalibrate your phone’s GPS is to turn your phone off and back on again.
If there is not the larger circle in your maps app, or if the issue persists, please email email@example.com so they can run you through additional troubleshooting protocols.
The app didn’t accurately record an indoor walk, or elliptical workout. What should I do?
Indoors, the app uses your phone’s internal motion sensors to feel steps like a pedometer and approximate your distance. This will not be as accurate as GPS but it’s still fairly accurate. If you are using the indoor run option and feel that the app is shorting your miles, please try the indoor walk option which is more sensitive to the pedometer.
Also, please note that to track miles indoors, the phone must be on your body to feel the steps. Sometimes people put it on the treadmill and that doesn’t work.
Lastly, as noted above, elliptical workouts may be less accurate because the phone does not feel impact in the same way as if you are walking or running.
Again, if you feel that the app shorted your miles, you can always use the honor system described above to enter your miles.
What should I do if Charity Miles double counts some of my miles?
This can happen if you are recording miles with more than one device that is sending data to Charity Miles. For example, if you are recording a run with a Garmin watch that is connected to Strava, which is connected to Charity Miles, and the Garmin is connected to Health Kit which is connected to Charity Miles, then you may get credit for the same miles twice.
Likewise, if you track a run with a device that is connected to Health Kit or Strava and use one of the app’s activity modes to track the same run.
The app does its best to detect and not count the same activity twice. However, we are not magicians. Please do your best to avoid double counting. We have very rarely found this to be an issue with our members.
Also, it’s worth noting that you’re not really cheating anyone with double miles because, for the purposes of the donations, we’re able to audit and remove the double miles. So don’t worry about it too much if this happens to you. And if some double miles do get through, just chalk it up to good karma.
What should I do if I record an activity but it does not save to my profile?
Your phone’s pedometer miles will automatically sync to your Charity Miles profile on a daily basis.
However, when you record a specific activity in one of the workout modes (i.e., Outdoor Run, Outdoor Walk, Outdoor Bike, Indoor Walk, Indoor Run), your internet signal sometimes (very rarely) may be interrupted when saving that activity.
When this happens, the app does its best to recover the activity and resend it to Charity Miles’ servers when the internet connection is re-established.
Also, for the walking and running activities, since you recorded those with your phone on you, your phone’s pedometer will have also tracked the steps. Therefore, you’ll get credit for those miles when Health Kit sends us those steps. Unfortunately, for Outdoor Biking, this is not the case.
If you feel that you did not adequately get credit for any of your miles, you can manually add them to Charity Miles by using the Honor System method above.
If you continue to experience problems tracking or saving your miles, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for help.
My miles are not showing up on my company's team or challenge. What should I do?
Please note that miles tracked through your phone's pedometer or Health Kit will be reflected on you company's team page and challenges on a daily basis. This is for two reasons: (1) so that do not constantly stream data to and from your phone; (2) so we can “true up” your pedometer miles and do our best to not double count miles recorded from multiple sources.
Miles that you record with one of the app's “activity” modes should immediately be reflected on your company's team page.
If you feel that your miles are not being properly reflected on your company's team page, please email email@example.com for help.
If you have any other questions or problems…
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the following info:
- What kind of phone and version operating system do you have?
- What is or is not happening?
- Any screenshots that you think could be helpful in diagnosing the issue.
We will reply within 24 hours, usually less.