By Bjorn Karlman, freelance writer
“Waiting for someone else to do the job that needs to be done just doesn’t feel right,” said Chris Wall, a child and adolescent psychiatrist who graduated from Union in 1996. Wall recently launched 4Giving, an innovative platform that facilitates what he describes as “spontaneous moments of generosity, wherever they occur.”
Wall, who is based in Rochester, Minnesota, is passionate about the app that allows people to easily give to a cause by simply scanning a Quick Response (QR) code with a smartphone camera.
Launched in December 2017, 4Giving has already processed over $75,000 in donations for a range of organizations in education, health care, science, the arts and beyond. The main idea behind 4Giving is to streamline generosity through mobile-friendly philanthropic giving.
“We try to make it super simple to sign up, super simple to give,” said Wall, who stressed that many giving opportunities are missed because there isn’t a quick, hassle-free way to give to good causes.
Wall said he attended a church fundraiser and was interested in giving a substantial amount, but was put off by what he described as “old Civil War-era donation envelopes” and the cumbersome processing of larger gifts.
“I would have given $2,000,” said Wall, “but the moment passed.”
After that frustrating experience, Wall set out to create a way to “make it easy for someone in my generation or younger to give.” Wall emphasized that fewer people carry cash on them and even fewer lug around checkbooks. The world of charitable giving is ripe for reinvention and eager for simple, fast and secure solutions for anyone with a smartphone.
“Through this platform, our hope is to make it much easier and more organized to help those interested in leading a charitable cause go from concept to donations in a matter of minutes,” he said.
Organizations that wish to use 4Giving can easily create an account to get started. They are then equipped with a unique 4-digit code—a QR code, and a quick-link allowing for easy sharing on social media, websites, promotional materials, flyers, signage, coasters, text messages, etc.
“My Union College experience gave me and my family a great range of perspectives. One of the most important and influential characteristics I observed was in our professors and various campus administrators. I was impressed by their common willingness to live as servant-leaders oriented to the Union College mission,” said Wall.
“When something needed to be accomplished, there tended to be this culture of ‘if not me, then who; if not now, then when?’”
Wall said this attitude of personal responsibility and initiative has helped him in his clinical, education and research career at Mayo Clinic and subsequent practices and businesses that he has led.
The psychiatrist said that his Union experience further galvanized this inclination toward taking positive action. “4Giving is probably an embodiment of that same approach,” said Wall.
LuAnn Davis, vice president for Advancement at Union, shared fond memories of Wall. “Chris was a student worker in the Advancement office when he first came to Union College and from the first day I met him I knew he wasn’t going to last long in this office because I knew science was going to nab him!”
Davis described 4Giving as “a fabulous application” and said that it was especially relevant to younger alumni who wish to give to Union. “I applaud him for contributing something to the profession that helps people easily make a gift.”
Want to test out 4Giving yourself? Support Union’s Student Scholarship Fund by scanning the QR code above with your mobile phone camera or entering 3ZS0 at 4Giving.com.