Homey Chore App

***I received this app for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.***

Fundraising is hard--especially if you're fundraising with youth.  You can sell things like coupons books, wrapping paper, and candy bars, or you can have works days like car washes or lawn care.  But then, how do you go about fairly splitting the money?

When my youth group started raising money for the mission field last year we set a goal for each student to raise $100.  There were some rewards associated with reaching that goal.  Each student who raised $100 got a t-shirt from the organization that we were sending the money to, and one of our youth agreed to let us shave his head if everyone met their goal.  Don't misunderstand our intentions--we are raising money to spread the gospel of Christ around the world, not to earn prizes.  But, it's fun to celebrate all our hard-work by setting goals and celebrating at the end of the year with prizes (and a party)!

I decided to follow the example of my high school band teacher when splitting up the money.  I recorded who came to each work day, how much money we raised, and then split it up evenly according to the total number of hours worked.  That way, someone who washes cars for 4 hours is 4x closer to their goal than the person who only showed up for an hour.

I started recording all this information in one of my notebooks--then, I ran into a problem.  I couldn't find my notebook.  Maybe my daughter borrowed it to color in.  Maybe someone took it home thinking it was theirs.  I really don't know where it went.  I just knew that it was gone.  So, I ended up doing what I was trying to avoid in the first place.  I took all our money we raised that year and divided it up equally among all of our students, regardless of how much time or effort they had actually put into raising the money.

So, I was very excited when I was asked to try out a chore app from Homey.  At first, I wasn't sure how I would use it because my daughter is too young to utilize a chore app.  But when I started thinking about all the ways I could track our youth fundraising efforts, I couldn't wait to try it!

First, let me give you a little introduction to Homey.  Homey is a chore app created for families to help make chores more manageable and fun.  You can create tasks and assign them to specific kids, or you can make a job a "free for all" for kids wanting to earn a little extra towards their goals.  Coins can be traded in for privileges (think "allowance" or "extra screen time"), while points can be traded in for rewards (could be money, toy, trip to the pool, etc.).  This helps kids learn delayed gratification, as they must work for things that they want and may have to do multiple chores over a longer period of time to reach their goal.  With the Premium and Unlimited versions of the app, you even have the ability to directly deposit money into your child's savings account, rather than placing cash directly in their hands.  This helps money keep from being lost or spent prematurely.

So how did I use this app with my youth?

I started by setting up an account for each of my youth.  Each youth can download the app to his/her phone to see "jobs" that are available. As they complete jobs they can mark them as completed, or I have the ability to mark students as having completed a job from my account.  

When I first started setting up the app, all but one of my students had a smartphone.  By the time I had set up the app and was ready to use it, only one of my youth still had a phone.  And this number fluctuates for various reasons:  broken, lost, deactivated, confiscated by a parent or leader, shared with a get the idea.  So I love that I'm not limited by how responsible (or not) my youth are with their phones.

Next, I created jobs.  There are different ways you can go about creating jobs.  The first work day we used this app we were helping move boxes at an elementary school.  Since I wasn't the one planning the day, and there wasn't much to do other than carrying boxes, I set the whole work day as a job.  In the description I put how much money we raised and how many hours we were there working.  Then I was able to go in and mark each youth that was there as having completed the work day.

Eventually (when we stop running into bad weather and scheduling conflicts), the youth will be coming to my house to help me get caught up on some much-needed yard work.  I have a variety of specific things I hope to accomplish that day.  Instead of creating the work day as a single job, I have created lots of little jobs showing specifically what needs to be done.  Some of these jobs include raking leaves, pulling weeds from the driveway and sidewalks, and picking up the enormous amounts of trash that blow into our yard

Homey Chore App, Jobs

Dividing up the chores like this has two advantages:

  1. Everyone knows exactly what’s expected of them. Whether I assign the tasks to individuals, or make the jobs a free for all so they can choose their jobs, everyone knows what jobs need to be completed in order to have a successful work day.
  2. Everyone has to pull their own weight. I can pull up the app and see that Carter and Stephanie have completed 3 or 4 tasks, but John hasn’t checked in as finishing anything.  And I can use that to motivate everyone.  If they know that at 2pm I’m buying slushies for anyone with 30 points, they are going to make sure they have at least 30 points when I pull out of the drive.

Homey Chore App, Points

I like the control that I have when I create the jobs.  I can set the jobs to only be allowed on a specific day (like for a work day), or I can make the jobs available any time (like if they are making things in their free time to sell at our local Farmer’s Market).  I can set the job to happen once, or maybe it’s something that happens weekly and I want to set it as recurring.

I can choose how many coins or points I want to award for each job.  So if we have a garage sale, I can award more points to the group that sets up and tears down, than the group that welcomes potential customers.

Another great feature is the one requiring photo proof of a job completed.  Sometimes a middle school/high school idea of complete and an adult’s idea of complete are a little different.  This gives me the chance to approve completed jobs, or send them back to try again.  It also gives me an idea of who needs a little more guidance and who I can trust to be a little more independent.

But, my favorite part of this app is that, as long as I can find my phone, I can find my records.  No more searching for lost notebooks or guessing at who completed what.  And since I know that I have a history of losing things, I can set-up other youth leaders on the app in case I lose my phone.

We are still very early into this year’s fundraising efforts, but I can already see how managing our efforts on the Homey app is going to make a big different in how we do our fundraisers!

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