If Instead Inc. is any indication of how Gen Y will use the smart phones that seem glued to their hands to accomplish something beyond themselves, then Earthlings everywhere have something to look forward to .
The application is designed to basically facilitate charity, just a dollar or two at a time. A version of Instead launched on Dec. 30 and the full version went live this Spring.
Here’s how it works: Imagine you’re standing at Starbucks, about to order the most enormous Frappuccino available, when you stop and ask yourself whether you really need all that excess. So, feeling generous and disciplined, you make a small sacrifice and go with the smaller frap, saving yourself a buck or two.
If you have Instead installed on your smart phone, you take a few seconds to log on to your account, type in the difference you saved in the coffee downgrade, pick from several hundred participating charities and, volia, you just made a small donation. This could take a variety of forms.Maybe you just saved a few bucks by renting a movie instead of heading to the theater. Tap her. Tap there. Donation sent.
So far there’s reason to believe that Instead could be a blockbuster, netting co-founders Micah Davis, Court Simas and Josh Alltop a net financial gain of exactly zero dollars. The site is completely nonprofit. Instead’s team maintains the site and mobile application (available on iTunes) entirely in their spare time, for free.
And only a small cut of donations goes into operating the site. The numbers broken down on Instead’s website are astounding. Take a $7 donation (about midway between Instead’s donation limits, which allow offerings from $1 to $19). Of that, 35 cents goes to bank processing fees, another 35 cents goes to Instead ‘s operations and then a full $6.30 lands directly in the pocket of your chosen charity.
It all started about five years back when Davis, Simas and Alltop banded together with about 50 other friends, most of them 20-somethings, to each chip in a few bucks here and there to help other people. Alltop used as an example a single mother at their church who needed a little help paying her bills that month.
As the months turned into years, the community of micro-philanthropists started seeing its effort translate into real changes, with thousands of dollars in aid going out to help the less fortunate. Their efforts even resulted in the purchase of three used cars for those who needed them the most. The three friends realized they could scale this up drastically using mobile technology.
Davis and Simas, co-founders of the Dallas-based mobile application developer Oven Bits, soon had the prototype mobile software written. Meanwhile, other volunteers reached out to find reputable charities they could then vet and add to Instead’s list, which has a few hundred today, and is growing.
For more information, visit www.impactourworld.com