Internally we debated becoming a nonprofit company for a minute. I think we've sufficiently been scared away from that approach after talking with someone who has a ton of experience in that arena and has highlighted the reasons that it's simply not a good fit for this product/company.
But that doesn't change our intention of being in this thing because we truly want to save lives. So, what are other options?
Ideas so far of possible routes.
1. Go the "Toms" route.
Each purchase of a full-price unit also donates a unit to someone who can't afford one, or buys one hour of a lawyer's time to fight for road safety legislation, or something like that.
2. Start a nonprofit (possibly down the road) alongside the forprofit.
So we'd have CommuteGuardian.com, the main company, and also CommuteGuardian.org, the charity. We could get donations to the .org - from companies, other organizations, and individuals - that would go 100% to the cause. It'd be neat to operate this like Charity:Water where 100% of donations go to the cause. Our forprofit can donate enough money to eat the costs to make it float.
My girlfriend Capers has significant experience with nonprofits and was just explaining to me the concept of Nonprofit Fiscal Sponsors. Essentially you get a nonprofit that already has 501(c)(3) status to sponsor you, and they can take donations on your behalf and then pass the money along to you. This lets you test the nonprofit waters to see if it's something you really want to do before diving all the way in.
3. Your Idea Here.
Those are the only two that jump out at me at the moment. Any other ideas?