What is your free time really worth?
Last year, I joined involveMINT, a startup tech company in Pittsburgh seeking to change the nature of community service. involveMINT is looking to create a new system for maintaining sustainable impact through volunteering.
Recognition, tangible benefits and an easy onboarding process make it easy for anyone to get involved.
involveMINT is a digital platform connecting small businesses, nonprofits and individuals by reinvigorating the concept of volunteerism. With the app, anyone can discover volunteer opportunities, sign up and earn TimeCredits after serving in the community. TimeCredits are then saved in a virtual wallet, and can be redeemed for discounts at local businesses.
The involveMINT app is currently under beta-testing, but will be released in 2018.
Daniel Little founded the startup in 2015. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in civil engineering, he spent one year in Americorps NCCC and another in Americorps VISTA. He never saw himself becoming an entrepreneur. At least, not initially.
“A lot of people have it backwards. The idea has to come first. Then, you wake up and the idea permeates everything you do,” Little said.
involveMINT exists because Little and all other team members also work other jobs too. The team volunteers their time to carry the mission, balancing full-time jobs, family and student obligations. “It’s a privilege to run a startup,” according to Little, who also described how the app will help others who want to contribute to their communities by volunteering despite a lot of economic barriers in the way.
Once the app is ready to download, this technology will ease the stress of finding opportunities to get involved and get connected. People create change, and technology helps.
Anyone can become a steward in their community and earn recognition for that work through credits. It also helps the nonprofit organizations that they partner with track volunteer hours and cut administration costs.
First, a lot of pieces need to come together for a startup to succeed. New ideas are constantly converging in Pittsburgh, though not all have a community focus. I’ve been here in the middle of it all, observing and waiting for involveMINT to take off. As an active volunteer in the city with special events at the Carnegie Museum of Art, TEDxPittsburgh, and grassroots social organization, my interest lies in how innovation and arts interact with local communities. As a team member with involveMINT for one year, I earned hands-on experience to see how technology develops from concept to product to, hopefully, a new system entirely.
The number of individuals, co-working spaces, startup incubators and more in the area make this strand of innovation possible. Though Pittsburgh earns a reputation for world-class research and development, the city also has above-average volunteer rates. “The tech industry is largely focused on consumerism. involveMINT is the first tech company that largely is not,” said Bridget Little, creative director.
Community-based initiatives, such as Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Light of Life Rescue Mission, DECO Resources, and more, utilize involveMINT’s service to facilitate social causes. Likewise, involveMINT’s mission is to activate local economies and encourage anyone to get involved. And with a little time, comes change.
To learn more about involveMINT, you can visit their website here: https://www.involvemint.io/