To Text or Not to Text?
After the earthquake disaster that struck Haiti last week there has been a surge of giving via text message. When I was first presented with the idea to donate by text message I didn't quite know what to think, so many things ran through my mind - is it safe? How does it work?
Despite my own reservations, text message campaigns were a huge success. The American Red Cross's cell-phone campaign alone passed the $20-million mark. Verizon Wireless spokesman, Jeffrey Nelson, penned the texting movement as a "new stream of philanthropy." The National Post reports about 140,000 people donated $10 each to the Red Cross by text messaging "Haiti" to the number 90999.
Donations made through cell-phones are charged to the cell-phone bill. The provider than disburses the funds to the charity. Text message donations do not require donators to provide critical financial information, which diminishing the chances of fraud. Mobile carriers have agreed to waive texting fees for customers who make donations and major credit-card companies are also waiving their fees for charities that receive Haiti relief contributions. What is even greater is that "100 percent of the funds raised using Mobile Accord's mGive platform will go to the Red Cross to help those hit by this natural disaster. All wireless carriers partnering with mGive donate network and billing services and mGive waived monthly fees to the Red Cross.
Katrin Verclas, co-founder of MobileActive.org says, "The upside is that it lets people to respond very quickly," which she continues is "great because it allows organizations to develop a donor base of people who they wouldn't necessarily otherwise get."
Ms. Verclas also passes on some good advice for organizations looking to use text messaging as one of their fundraising tactics, "organizations should provide donors with feedback about their work in Haiti and try to persuade them to get more involved," After the American Red Cross's cell-phone campaign passed the $20-million mark she says it would have been a great time to send a text message along the lines of "You're amazing. Collectively, you all raised $20-million. Stay involved. Give us your e-mail address," she says that sending a reply text message is great feedback and is a great way to engage donors, it allows people to know their text message was not just sent into the wind.
After conducting a little research I'm not nearly as skeptical about text message campaigns. The fact that no financial information is needed, coupled with the immediate feedback from the charity, it may just prompt me to text "Haiti" to 90999 and donate.
Maybe this text message-donating thing isn't such a bad idea. What do you think?
This is Amy's third blog posting for Dexterity Consulting. Amy Lewis is currently completing her Bachelor of Communications-Public Relations Degree at Mount Royal University with an anticipated graduation Summer 2010. Amy has diverse range communication experience. Including marketing, media relations and, event planning. For her first internship Amy held the position of marketing coordinator for WorldSkills Calgary 2009. Amy enjoys exploring the variety of options that Public Relations presents.