The Megaphone Magazine mobile payments app has seen fantastic results since it launched last September.
The development of the ground-breaking app was funded by Central City Foundation donors, investing in innovative projects to improve the lives of our inner city neighbours.
Megaphone Magazine is a street newspaper that provides employment to those who face barriers to traditional work. Vendors buy the newspaper and then sell the publication for twice that price on the streets throughout the city. A few years ago, Central City Foundation donors funded wet weather gear for the vendors. Now CCF donors have made it even easier for vendors, many of whom have barriers to full time employment, to earn money from selling the magazine and the Hope in Shadows calendars.
Megaphone vendors were experiencing a decline in sales because many of their customers no longer carry cash. The street magazine approach Central City Foundation for a grant to hire Denim and Steel Interactive to create an app that was easy to use and did not take away from the human experience. The payment app can then be used on a smartphone to buy from a vendor, who is paid back in cash later.
Since the launch there have been more than 500 app downloads of the app and more than $4,000 in sales.
Many of the vendors were sceptical at first, but now about 85 per cent of vendors have used the app to make a sale.
The code for the app has now been made open source, which means that other developers can take the code and tailor it to their needs. There are 150 street newspapers in 35 countries around the world, which means this app may have a far reaching impact. Jessica Hannon, executive director of Megaphone, said a Washington D.C. street paper is already using the source code to develop their own app.
“Funding from Central City Foundation had a huge impact on this project being able to happen,” said Hannon. “We would not have been able to do this without them and we’re so grateful to have such supportive community partners.”