As of a tweet this morning (Jan. 14), the Red Cross has already raised $3 million dollars through this mobile donation method.
Mobile phones have already been a prominent way of reporting the event, but they also provide a powerful, scalable way to collect the necessary financial support to aid relief efforts.
According to a NY Times article, the texted donations are being handled by a company called mGive, which started the campaign in a joint effort with the State Department and the Red Cross on Jan. 12. The $10 donation I made via mGive will be charged by my carrier, AT&T, which will relay the donation in full to the American Red Cross. mGive typically charges a licensing fee for its software platform, $4 to $1,500 a month, but has removed all fees for this fundraiser.
Unfortunately, CEO Tony Aiello says it typically takes up to 90 days for the charity to receive the donation, but the mGive is trying to expedite the process with carriers to get the money to the Red Cross as soon as possible. So while it feels immediate to make the donation, the impact of the donation is felt long after hitting “Send.” Hopefully this process will continue to improve.
In another mobile fundraising campaign, Haitian-born musician Wyclef Jean is urging people to donate $5 to his charity organization by texting “YELE” to 501501.
Mobile donations are getting massive support, too. The AFP reports that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the rounds of six morning television news shows where she urged Americans to make 10-dollar donations by cellular telephone.
“If you wish to help, you can text Haiti — H-A-I-T-I — to 90999,” she said on NBC’s Today Show.
Additionally, the White House has endorsed the mGive mobile donation as one of three key ways Americans can assist Haitians.
I am impressed by the support mobile donations have received from top US officials, and am even more impressed with how Americans have embraced mobile donations as a primary resource to provide financial aid during a crisis. I encourage you to make a mobile donation and help those in need.