Live Well, Do Good with HeartChase


Break out your track shorts, knee high socks and sweatbands, champ, ‘cause you’re about to set a personal record.

We designed HeartChase™ to provide the American Heart Association a fundraising platform that helps people in cities across America lead healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. It also gives family, friends and neighbors from Fort Lewis, WA, to Fort Lauderdale, FL, a chance to actively connect with their communities and other health conscious folks who know how to have a great time while supporting a great organization.

Rockwall Map

Game map of Rockwall, TX

The directive from the AHA was clear: Design a modular, portable fundraising game platform that integrates with Charity Dynamics; that volunteers can organize and deploy with minimal effort; that encourages young professionals to participate in large scale community fundraising events; and connects, in a meaningful way, the contributions of individual and corporate donors to the game’s message and unique format.

In other words, “You’re all Olympians, right?”

And so it was that Team Baxter, after consuming a healthy amount of Wheaties and being our usual Socratic selves, arrived at the answer with a question of our own:

How can an urban race unlock the philanthropic heart of a city?

Key 1: Mobility

Getting the heart pumping means teams need a quick, portable way of staying informed of their progress and their competitors. Our real-time iPhone and Android apps provide participants a bird’s-eye view of the course map, challenge and donation notifications, leader board, integrated QR code scanner, photo uploader with Facebook sharing, and a synchronized game clock that ensures a thrilling finish. Because when the clock reaches zero, it’s the team with the most points that wins it all.


Game map of Traverse City, MI

Key 2: Connectivity

In addition to the in-app notifications and updates, HeartChase events give individuals and businesses an opportunity to “hide” donations in and around the community. Teams use the built-in QR code scanner to collect these treasures and earn bonus points on their way to completing challenges and earning the title of HeartChase Champion and Honorary Cardiologist.

Plus, spectators can follow any race on and see the action as it unfolds. From every player-uploaded HeartChase photo to every discovered donation and completed challenge, the site brings the day’s fun to screens across the country while giving viewers a chance to join a Chase of their own or make a general donation to the AHA on the spot.

Key 3: Customization

The decathlon of custom-designed mini-challenges included in the volunteer playbook (created by AHA training partner Left Brain Media) provides game runners a suite of low-cost, ready-to-play games that are designed to be fun, active, and related to the themes of heart health and teamwork. For example, the challenge “Blobstacle Course” uses local features such as playgrounds and public parks as an obstacle course that teams attempt to navigate while bound together.

And for those game runners adventurous and wily enough, a web-based map building tool (which employs the Google Maps API) empowers them to construct a virtual “game board” among their community’s distinct features. Heck, they can even invent their own challenges while they’re at it!


Map building tool screenshot

Key 4: Measurement

Gameplay metrics allow subsequent HeartChase events to improve on design aspects like the layout of the game space and difficulty of challenges, and give event organizers an “under the hood” view of player satisfaction and reward.

All in all, HeartChase has us smiling in our singlets (a sight our spouses assure us makes everyone else grimace). And judging from the high scores and smiling faces of this year’s inaugural players, it looks like this game might just be what the doctor ordered.

Learn more about HeartChase, including setting up an event in your own community, at or drop us a line if you want to put the power of play to work for you.

Props to these turbo-smart collaborators:
Richards Group – Inspiration & Branding
Left Brain Media – Volunteer Training
Jaison Green at Greenwire – iPhone App
John Senner at MokaSocial – Android App
Max Williams at Pusher – Real-time web & mobile notifications
Adam Charnock at – Google Maps API (challenge map builder)
Rails Hosting at Engine Yard

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