The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates that more than $130 billion in gift cards were purchased in 2016. But as much as we love giving and receiving gift cards, there’s something we haven’t been able to solve – the fact that $1 billion are estimated to go unredeemed each year.

Though that is less than 1% of total annual gift card purchases, it is a staggering amount, and one that we know could change the world if redirected to do so.

We lose them, we forget about them, we save them too long, or we spend them and they have $0.07 left on them. Soon, we will be able to donate our unused gift cards and watch them help those in need around the world.

Tinua is building a digital platform and mobile app that will allow you to donate your unused gift cards toward charity – to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, provide shelter to those in need and more. This is something we’ve shared before, but now, we’re getting closer and closer to that reality as 2017 approaches.

We’re getting ready to start testing and launching our earliest technology in January 2017 and we can’t wait to partner with our first users.

We’re starting a movement of doing good – with you and because of you.

While we approach our first round of testing in January and our subsequent planned launch in the summer, here are a few ways you can help right now:

1. Be mindful of your gift card spending.
$1 billion in gift card funds goes unspent every year. That’s a fact. Knowing that fact, how will you be more mindful about the gift cards you receive? Spend what you want to spend, but don’t waste. If you have a gift card you won’t use, exchange it, give it to someone, or donate to Tinua and watch it make an impact on the world.

2.  Understand the needs around you.
The most fundamental requirement of changing the world is understanding it needs to be changed. Right now, millions around the world are hungry, thirsty, without shelter, without basic healthcare and in need of compassion. These same needs are occurring right in your backyard, in your community. The first and best thing you can do right now is start to be more aware of the needs of humanity. What are the ways you can start to give and make an impact every day? Smile. Give what you can. Help those in need with you time, your compassion and your attention.

3. Send us your gift cards!
Although our technology is not ready for release just yet, you can still send us your gift cards. This will help us test our technology to get us launched to the world and ready for donations sooner, and as soon as our technology is up and running, the amount you donate will be donated toward charitable causes. You can enter in your gift card information here, you can send us pictures and information via email at, or you can mail them to us at our office, located at 14 4th St SW, Suite 203, Rochester, MN 55904.

4. Sign up to be one of our first users!
Beyond giving your gift cards right now, we want you to be a part of our journey over the coming months and years. By signing up to be one of our first app users, you’ll be one of the insiders on how we plan on changing the world through unused gift cards, and you’ll be able to share your input to make sure we build the best, most engaging giving platform out there. We can’t wait to partner with you – sign up here!

We know 2017 is going to be big. We have giant dreams to make a measurable impact on the world and are ready to move as fast as we can to launch our technology and start making a difference. Your unused gift cards are not meaningless, so remember this holiday season and into the New Year, Tinua is here to take what you no longer need and start a movement of doing good.