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Published: 25 Jun 2018

Next-Gen Giving: App Streamlines Social Good

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More than 550,000 people in the US are homeless

Electronic transactions are quick and efficient, but a cashless society isn't beneficial for everyone – especially the homeless, who rely on spare change for survival. US start-up Samaritan is tackling this issue by helping next-gen activists support their neighbours in need.

It distributes Bluetooth-powered beacons to homeless individuals and notifies people via an accompanying app whenever they're near a beacon holder. Passers-by can read the person's story and the financial goal they're trying to reach to escape life on the streets – and offer them money with a simple mobile transaction.

These donations can be redeemed at partnering stores for food, transport and essential items including soap and toilet paper, but not for alcohol or tobacco. This helps increase giving, as many people are reluctant to donate for fear of funding addictions.

Currently in beta mode in Seattle, Samaritan plans to expand to other US cities and has already had 7,000 downloads, raising about $2,500 per month.

More than 550,000 people in the US are homeless (Hud Exchange, 2017) – with the Seattle area spending more than $1bn a year in response to the crisis (Puget Sound Business Journal, 2018). Tech companies like Samaritan could help address such social issues by engaging proactive and energetic next-gen activists, who are eager for new ways to streamline change.

It's becoming increasingly important for brands to cultivate and inspire empathy. For the latest ideas inspiring action for good, take a look at Compassion Culture: Embracing Empathy.

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