A few years ago when I first got an iPhone, I had an idea. Wouldn’t it be great if someone could take the fundraising coupon books we all love and use and make them even greater by putting them on our mobile devices? Of course it would! So after doing some research I found some similar programs, but nothing in our lovely town of Chattanooga.
So I decided to shop the idea around. I even put together a mockup in Keynote that looked pretty slick (home screen above). It was going to be great for all the obvious reasons; you’d never forget the book when you needed it, you could call an establishment you were looking at with one tap, you’d never have to wonder where that obscure address was with built-in maps and your mobile could even alert you of nearby deals. So I settled on the un… ehrm… 4-tunate name of “Save4ed” (someone had already snatched up “Fund-ed” for a similar program in Australia) and I started talking to people. It just so happens that (full disclosure) my Aunt, Kris Humber is the director of the Kids First Coupon Book program here in Chattanooga, so she was my natural first stop. She liked the idea, but the resources never came together at the time. Later, I tried talking to CoLab, and while nothing materialized from that, I did get a couple phone numbers of local developers. Eventually, I found out that a local developer and designer had already built a similar platform that they had up and running since around the time I had my idea. Unfortunately, they were having a hard time getting the word out and thus, having limited success. They then approached the organizers of the Hamilton County Schools’ Kids First Coupon Book program for the same reason I originally did: they have a 26 year presence in the Chattanooga area, and a large, loyal customer base. After several months of cooperation the Kids First Coupon Book Digital Edition is finally live and the results are, in my experience, pretty fantastic.
It’s the Kids Fist Coupon Book Digital Edition and I was pretty excited to see the idea finally make it in one form or another. The setup is very similar to actually buying a paper book; it’s ten dollars, which you then renew at the end of August. Many of the great features I had envisioned such as one tap dialing, built in maps and the ability to chose which school you want your ten bucks to go to are there. Maybe best of all, every time a new business signs up, you don’t have to wait until the next year to get their coupon, so your ten bucks just keeps saving you more money! Another neat thing is that the establishments where I have used this new-fangled coupon system are actually pretty excited to see and use it. It’s almost everything it should be.
But it’s not an app. There are obviously pros and cons of this setup. One of the biggest pros is that, at least for iPhone users, all the pennies possible go to the local schools. There is definitely something to be said for that. It is also cross-platform, so it can be easily accessed by all mobile devices with one site instead of having to have a unique app for different phone types. The cons are related mostly to convenience. For example, you have to go to a website to sign up, sign in, and access the coupons. You can easily make a quick link to your home screen, but many people don’t know this. It also means that unless your tablet has a data plan, it is essentially a phone only system, but that’s a small issue that will affect only a small number of people, if any. The biggest inconvenience to me, however, is related to my terrible memory. Because it’s not an app, it doesn’t know my location. That is probably a bonus for some people, but I was just in Ace Hardware the other day and forgot to use my coupon! That’s OK though, I’m sure I will be in Ace a few more times before August 31st! It’s all a matter of habit, though. I suspect the more I use the new Digital Kid’s First Coupon Book the more I will remember it.
Save a few extra bucks this year and support your local schools with the brand new, digital edition of the Kids First Coupon Book. Now it will always be with you, but you’ll still have to remember to use it!