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Unify - innovating how donations are made to the homeless

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by Startacus Admin

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Unify is a social giving startup that's created a tech solution to combat the difficulties the homeless community faces in our increasingly cashless society.

We wrote recently in our article about JustTip that our constant move towards a cash-free society is not a good thing for everyone. While it is convenient for a lot of us, it can cause issues in certain situations, and for certain people. In the case of that article, the problem was people in the service industry being unable to receive tips because so many customers no longer carry cash. 

photo-1509059852496-f3822ae057bf.Another, perhaps more invisible area that this is a terrible move for is homelessness. In a cashless society, how do we pass a homeless person with an empty collection hat sitting in front of them and give them anything? For a large number of these people, that donation could mean the difference between eating that day or not, so not being able to provide one is particularly bad.

London-based social giving startup Unify has a solution to this shift in our ability to give. It is a simple combination of an app and an RFID wristband that a homeless person will wear that only requires a tap against your phone in order to connect you to their account and donate whatever amount you want, from £1 and up. 

If you’re sitting in a restaurant later that night enjoying an expensive wine and looking out at the rain and suddenly feel guilty, you can get out your phone and send a donation again without having to tap the wristband a second time.

FULL_LOGO-17 copyPurchasing with the Unify account is restricted so that alcohol and other abused substances cannot be purchased and cash cannot be withdrawn, taking away a lot of the reason that some people are hesitant to give money. And with Unify’s policy of transparency, you understand better exactly where your donation is going. Because they keep their overheads low, they can guarantee that 92.6p of every £1 goes to the person you are actually donating to. As further incentive to be decent, Unify has a credit scheme that means every £1 you donate, you receive one credit that can be exchanged for offers in their marketplace, including vouchers exclusive to the app.

Unify has teamed up with other organisations to help with this, including the UK’s Macari Foundation; Portugal’s Comunidade Vida e Paz, who will help make the app expand there; and Closer, who will help not only the UK and Portugal, but also throughout Europe and in the US. 


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Published on: 28th September 2021

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