By Darian Rodriguez Heyman, Co-Founder & Chief Development Officer, Sparrow.
Originally published on the GivingTuesday Blog on July 10, 2014.
What would happen if we took the most accessible tool in the world—the mobile phone–and used it to drive social change? And what if we could use phones to not only connect folks to one another, but to opportunity?
The answer to that question led to the creation of a mission-led mobile company, Sparrow. We focus on serving the unique needs of the US’ 1.7M nonprofits, saving them money by only charging them for the minutes, messages, and megs they actually use, and even better, we donate a free phone or tablet to people in need for every customer.
We’re launching the #MobileForGood movement, and when Giving Tuesday and 92Y-affiliated nonprofits sign up, a child will learn to read thanks to our nonprofit partner, Worldreader. They distribute tablets pre-loaded with books in the native language to help eradicate illiteracy, and doing good doesn’t have to cost you anything: in fact, 94% of our customers actually save money when switching, and TechSoup-registered nonprofits save an additional 5% off any of our plans and get a free smartphone if you sign a one-year contract.
It’s no secret that mobile technology is a powerful tool in driving meaningful social change. Many organizations, international development practitioners, and governments have implemented mobile initiatives that have seen greater impact in less time than traditional aid approaches. Mobile is a tool that can be used for education, agriculture, safety, and more. The Sparrow has applied the well-known “One for One” philanthropic model pioneered by TOMS Shoes to mobile.
We truly believe in the power of mobile for good. All our hardware donations are channeled through a global network of nonprofit partners with solid leadership and established mobile programs- the bottleneck that they face is around securing more hardware. Our goal is using these donations to break cycles of poverty and provide opportunities for economic empowerment, with a focus on women and youth in need.
If you’d like to help a child learn to read, join the movement. You can save money every month while you -give a young girl living in urban poverty the opportunity to become the mobile designer and developer of tomorrow, or get phones into the hands of the homeless, who can use them to find a job, or frontline health workers, who can access content to deliver difficult pregnancies in remote villages. Now that’s what we call “making change irresistible.”