In an increasingly tech-obsessed society, I know that Megaphone is a bit of a throwback. Sometimes I meet someone who isn’t familiar with Megaphone’s model and the conversation goes a little like this:
“Street vendors? Like newsies?
Talking to people in person? Do people do that anymore?"
That’s why today is so exciting: The Megaphone App is an innovative, tech-savvy twist on our traditional model, that will make buying Megaphone fast, easy, and cash-free. And best of all, it sets Megaphone’s homeless and low-income vendors up to succeed, while preserving the human connection that is so special and powerful about Megaphone.
I never carry cash. It burns holes in my pocket it feels like I spend it so quickly. Or, it gets forgotten in my pocket until I find it again a month later. I find it a lot more convenient to use cards.
I’m not alone. As Canadians increasingly move away from carrying cash, Megaphone vendors have felt the first-hand impact of this shift. According to the most recent Megaphone reader survey, 45% of the magazine’s supporters surveyed said that not having cash on hand was a barrier to them buying the magazine.
My primary goal is to support our hardworking homeless and low-income vendors to grow their micro-businesses. To help them earn income and make community connections that create positive changes in their lives and our shared communities. So when I started hearing about this challenge from vendors and customers a few years ago, I knew we had to start working on a solution.
And I’m proud to say we’ve got one now.
Thanks to visionary funding from Central City Foundation and the Canadian Periodical Fund and in close partnership with our good friends at Denim & Steel Interactive, we’ve developed the Megaphone App. When you see a vendor, you can now buy a Megaphone magazine or Megaphone’s Hope in Shadows calendar using your smartphone. And though the Megaphone App is a tech solution, at its heart it’s still about one of Megaphone’s core values: Connecting people.
Todd, Tylor, Arian, and the team at Denim&Steel did an incredible job on the Megaphone App. They listened carefully to vendor and customer needs, and they created a solution that will help vendors succeed. By launching the App, we’re setting vendors up with technology that will help them continue to earn a living in our increasingly cashless society and help our dedicated customers ensure they can continue supporting vendors.
As micro-business owners, Megaphone vendors work hard in the face of serious challenges – poverty, homelessness, mental and physical health challenges – enough cards are stacked against them. The Megaphone App will remove a big barrier to vendor sales, and help customers continue to support vendors to reach their goals. Now, you don’t need change to make change.
That’s change that works.