Friday, January 15, 2010

Txt to ‘Haiti’ to 90999: In Tragedy, a Fundraising Triumph

By now, you’ve probably heard that you can quickly, easily donate $10 to Haiti earthquake relief efforts by texting “Haiti” to 90999.

Just days after the disaster, the program already is an unprecedented success, with millions of people donating a total of more than $8 million (and rising) to the Red Cross.

Without the text-to-donate opportunity—and the phenomenal publicity it’s received via social media, blogs and traditional media—would the relief effort be so flush with funding, so immediately? Not likely. Text donors account for at least one-fifth of the Red Cross’ earthquake relief fundraising so far.

It’s a breakthrough—a timely, convenient, impactful way to participate and help people in such dire need. And, as MediaPost points out, the $10 texting effort has reached a younger generation of donors who might not otherwise take the time or feel like they have the money to contribute.

For so many nonprofit organizations, at a time when money is tight and the need to find new people to support and sustain their missions is greater than ever, the rise in mobile marketing represents an excellent opportunity to engage with younger audiences.

For example, mPower, a Milwaukee-based under-21 drug and alcohol crisis hotline, is reaching its target audience with a combination of text messaging, social media and traditional channels. A campaign encouraging teens to text mPower and sign up for mobile alerts—for a chance to win a Nintendo Wii—has been a great success.

It’s good to see charitable organizations putting these new technologies to effective use, and the Haiti “text to give” success bodes well for future initiatives.

Oh, and if you haven’t already done so, please consider taking a moment to give to the relief effort. If texting isn’t your thing, here are some other ways to donate.

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