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An app to give the basics

The empathic impulse

An app to give the basics


 We believe impulsive gifts are important


Giving has a ripple effect…


Basic needs

Evidence shows that donations to panhandlers fill many basic needs (·)


Community wellbeing

Acts of empathy and compassion are natural expressions of collective health (·)


Social metrics

Real-time assessments of poverty by a stranger can be surprisingly accurate (·)


But we need to give sustainably


problems with panhandling…


Digital economy

Fewer people carry cash with them — younger people even less so (·)



People fear that gifts will support addictions instead of basic needs (·)



Poverty is complex and sustainable solutions involve coordinated efforts (·)


Empulse is a simple solution


The empulse solution

We make it easy to give anonymously, just like a dollar dropped impulsively on the street. The difference is, you know your money will go to alleviate immediate need and provide long-term, data-driven solutions.


How does empulse work?



People living in poverty can accumulate funds for basic needs and economic empowerment in their immediate vicinity.


People who want to help can use a simple, convenient, effective interaction when they feel the most motivated to contribute.


Policymakers can access data from these micro-interactions to map need and measure effectiveness of interventions.


“My skies rise higher and hang younger stars.”

— Eavan Boland


Homelessness has an economy

People experiencing homelessness make and spend money. Many of them even hold full, or part-time jobs. We also know that poverty is a very common experience (·), but for most people it is temporary (·). Those who are more likely to remain in poverty are people who are disadvantaged in other ways — health, mental illness, or ethnicity (·). One factor which perpetuates homelessness in the United States is the co-existing barrier to accessing electronic funds (·). Someone who does not have an address cannot obtain basic needs though convenient digital transactions like online banking, a debit card, Square, ApplePay, Venmo or PayPal. In turn this makes it harder to participate in the mainstream economy and obtain sustainable employment.


“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

— Eleanor Roosevelt


How empulse helps

Empulse is a project to bridge the digital divide between those who want to give but might not have the time or expertise to do so at length, and those who are lacking the basic requirements for entry into the digital economy.