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Amazing Mobile Facts

The scale and impact of mobile phones worldwide continue to grow at rapid rates. Check out our new infographic and you’ll understand why we’re leveraging mobile for...

Make a Difference – Just by Using Your Phone

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...

The Future of the Nonprofit Workplace: Introducing the Mobile Office

By Matthew Bauer, Founder & CEO, Sparrow. Originally published in the Guidestar Blog on July 10, 2014.   From GenMobile to telecommuting, the nature of work and the office are fast changing: nonprofits, are you ready to cut the cord? “In the near future the term ‘office’ will be obsolete and the drab surroundings we associate with the executive life will be erased as a new model for work emerges. This emerging vision of the workplace will facilitate flexible working patterns in a society in which nine-to-five working is increasingly the exception rather than the rule.”  This opening statement from a new report by Aruba Networks, Workplace Futures, sets the table for an amazing opportunity confronting nonprofits and organizations:  How to harness new mobile and cloud technologies to both make how and where they work more productive, efficient, and cost effective. Remote work is starting to scale up significantly: 15% since 1990, growing to 50% of the workforce by 2020 (Cornell, Remote Work). And Millennials in particular prefer alternative work environments, so how are nonprofits to evolve and embrace this trend? Here is a simple four-part mobile and flexible office strategy to get you started: Bechmark Current Systems: Look at how your organization communicates today, both internally and with external stakeholders.  What technologies do you employ and how much do they cost?  Look at both hard costs and soft costs, such as maintenance and inefficiencies in the older, disparate technologies. Create a Plan: Scan mainstream technology options offered today, and concentrate on opportunities for a) making your organization less dependent on specific physical locations; and b) how to create one seamless and easy-to-maintain system for uniting your...

Nonprofits: Take Your Cause Mobile!

There are now more cell phones than toothbrushes, and as of 2013, smartphones surpassed regular phone sales. But what are the implications for your nonprofit, and how can you craft a mobile impact strategy to advance your programs, fundraising, and work overall? Our co-founder Darian Rodriguez Heyman provides a practical primer on all aspects of mobile for good: its applications for nonprofits; how to effectively launch your mobile presence; and tips and tools for implementation. Check out the...

How to Raise More Money via Mobile

We had a great webinar last Thursday on raising money via mobile with our talented presenters, Caryn Stein from Network For Good and Tanya Urschel from PayPal. Go to the archive page on ReadyTalk to check it...

Mobile Impact Machine: A new partnership model leverages the world’s largest interconnected industry to help break cycles of poverty

By Matthew Bauer, Founder & CEO, Sparrow. Originally published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review on June 10, 2014.   “Affordable mobile phones and the opportunities they usher in for the poor will be one of the most dramatic game-changing technologies the world has ever seen.” When the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA), the leading association of global mobile operators and related companies, made this point in a 2013 report, it raised a question: How do we take this very personal device, and turn it into a tool for creating social impact and building global empathy? The possibilities of leveraging telecommunication carriers and their networks to help solve pervasive social issues are endless; we can use them to help improve access to education and health care, end violence against women, bolster entrepreneurship, stem the homeless epidemic, and empower those with disabilities. There are some great examples of this: M-Pesa, the mobile phone-based money-transfer and microfinancing service, is now serving tens of millions throughout Africa (60 percent of Kenya’s GDP is now transacted on M-Pesa). mHealth is improving health care by placing best practices in the hands of frontline health workers. Grameenphone started as a pioneering initiative to empower rural women of Bangladesh and has grown into the leading and largest telecommunications service provider in Bangladesh, with more than 48.68 million subscribers as of March 2014. But while there are already many mobile technologies, applications, and programs aimed at improving people’s lives, as a whole they represent a mere fraction of the potential for impact that lies within the $2 trillion global telecom industry—an industry that has more month-to-month recurring customers...

FREE Four-Part Mobile Impact Webinar Series

The Mobile for Good Revolution is Happening! FREE Four-Part Mobile Impact Webinar Series Presented by Sparrow, TechSoup, PayPal, and Network for Good Today’s ubiquitous use of mobile devices literally brings your cause into the palms of billions of potential donors, volunteers, influencers, and beneficiaries. ARE YOU READY? To help YOU harness #MobileForGood, Sparrow and TechSoup have enlisted an expert team of presenters to share practical tips and tools for nonprofits looking to take their cause mobile. All 11am-Noon PT programs are FREE for nonprofits and other changemakers. 5/8: Mobile Impact 101: Taking Your Cause Mobile Download & watch Your organization can leverage the power of mobile to maximize fundraising, marketing, advocacy, and programs. Learn tips for building a mobile website, apps, text-to-donate campaigns, social media integration, and analysis. Presented by Darian Rodriguez Heyman, Co-Founder of Sparrow 6/5: Mobile Impact 201: Digital Content Strategies for Mobile Download & watch  Turn mobile into a tool for change! What can you say to optimize the engagement of donors, volunteers, and other constituents? Learn tips and tools for measuring, optimizing, and integrating your mobile efforts with both social media and events. Presented by Amy Sample Ward, CEO of NTEN 6/19: Mobile Impact 301: How to Raise More Money via Mobile Download & watch In 2013, mobile donations on PayPal increased by over 200%, and growth will continue to skyrocket into 2014 and beyond. How do you ensure your cause is ready for mobile fundraising? Understand which elements are critical for mobile fundraising success, which tactics are right for your organization, and how to put them into practice so that donors are engaged to...

Hello World.

It’s official—the Sparrow golden beta is now live and what better day than Earth Day to launch a mobile company dedicated to world good! At Sparrow, we believe everyone can make a difference, and that each act creates a ripple effect. It is in this spirit that for every customer, through our Mobile for All program, a device is donated to someone in need with the goal of breaking the cycle of poverty and creating pathways to prosperity. Leveraging our planet’s fastest growing interconnected industry; this mobile tide is designed to lift all boats, together. In addition, we’ve chosen to focus on the needs of nonprofits, launching with the TechSoup Global community, and getting quality mobile service into the hands of organizations and people who share their time, talent, and resources for making it a better world. Speaking of amazing people, we would not be here today without BetterWorld’s investors, partners, team and family who have all made this launch possible. This is a community effort all the way and it’s an honor to be part of this mission and team. Finally, we will continue to polish and craft this company with great care. We welcome your comments, ideas and feedback—watch this space for regular updates and new features to come. In community, Matt Bauer Co-founder & CEO...