Don’t carry cash? Don’t worry… Use PayPal on your
Smartphone to purchase StreetWise
CHICAGO, February 19, 2013 – Because few people carry cash nowadays, StreetWise magazine can now be quickly and easily purchased with PayPal using your Smartphone.
As a publication, StreetWise Magazine is socially conscious and Chicago-centric. It raises awareness on the impact of poverty and homelessness in Chicago, across the nation, and around the world. The editorial staff works hard to provide informative articles about today’s important issues as well as entertaining articles to enhance the reader’s daily life. By engaging the unemployed and underemployed as vendors, StreetWise is able to personalize the face of Chicago’s poor while, at the same time, providing them with an income opportunity.
The StreetWise Magazine Vendor Program provides a flexible employment opportunity via the sales and marketing of StreetWise Magazine. Candidates go through a one-day training and are put on a six-week probation period. At the conclusion of the probation period vendors are given a permanent badge, renewable yearly.
· Vendors purchase the magazine from the agency for $.90 a copy and resell it at retail for $2, thereby earning a profit of $1.10 per copy.
· The Entrepreneurial Employment Program teaches vendors hard job skills, including salesmanship, marketing, and customer service as well as appropriate workplace behavior (soft skills).
· The earned profits help vendors afford housing, food, clothing, and personal items.
StreetWise worked with advertising agency BBH New York to establish this new partnership with PayPal. Digitization of the payment process is a first step in using technology and innovation to pilot a modern street newspaper model that can be scaled in Chicago and beyond. Both BBH and PayPal Labs donated time and resources to making this project possible and to create a custom offering that ensures mobile payments are seamless, secure and free to the vendors to use.
How to make a mobile payment:
1. Each StreetWise vendor has a unique 4-digit code on his or her StreetWise badge. Go to stwise.org/vendorcode, enter this 4-digit number and then enter the amount you would like to pay (tip is optional).
2. After clicking the yellow “Pay with PayPal” icon, you will then be prompted to sign into your PayPal account.
3. After logging in, a screen appears that says, “You are about to pay.” Note, some fees may apply.
4. Click the yellow “pay” icon to complete the order.
5. When your payment has been confirmed, you will then see the “Thank you for using PayPal” icon. You’re finished!
As a non-profit that has worked to keep up with the ever-changing digital world, StreetWise Executive Director Jim LoBianco feels as if mobile payments are necessary for the growth of not only StreetWise Magazine, but also the entire organization.
“In any industry, innovation is a must. For twenty years the sale of StreetWise Magazine has been a critical source of income for homeless men and women motivated to work. Because of this, it is even more critical that StreetWise implement improvements to increase magazine sales and keep our product attractive to customers,” says LoBianco. “The use of PayPal technology is a huge step forward. It makes it even easier for our readers to buy the magazine, which in turn helps assure that StreetWise Magazine will continue to be a viable source of income for at-risk men and for years to come.”
StreetWise approached three of its most dedicated magazine vendors to test pilot the new technology, and customer reviews have been great.
“Because we live in a society where people do so many things electronically, mobile payment has offered me the opportunity to expand my customers and reach out to those who don’t carry a large amount of cash,” said StreetWise Vendor Chorise Stewart. “I’ve been a StreetWise vendor for a year and a half and, within that time span, a lot of potential customers have asked if there was a way if they could pay without cash via mobile application. That time is finally here.”
By mid-February, 013, StreetWise hopes to fully launch StreetWise magazine mobile payments to include all vendors. And while StreetWise is the birthplace for this mobile payment model, the organization looks forward to sharing this technology with the more than 140 other street papers across 70 countries.
StreetWise mobile payments are just one more way that the organization has found to press its digital footprint even deeper. The nonprofit has a highly active and formidable presence on social media, with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Foursquare and Instagram accounts. And also coming mid-2013, customers may also read StreetWise on their iPad, eTablet or Smartphone.
About StreetWise, Inc.: The mission of StreetWise aims to assist Chicago area men and women, who are facing homelessness, achieve personal stability by providing them with a combination of supportive social services and immediate access to gainful employment. StreetWise, Inc. is a social enterprise designed to help the homeless and those at risk of homelessness out of poverty. Since its founding in 1992, more than 9,000 vendors have benefited from the income, training and social service supports provided by StreetWise. In 2011, the agency expects to serve approximately 400 impoverished men and women. As a publication, StreetWise Magazine is socially conscious and Chicago-centric. It raises awareness on the impact of poverty and homelessness in Chicago, across the nation, and around the world.