The outpouring of mobile donations in support of disaster relief in Haiti has been phenomenal and unprecedented. Immediately following the earthquake, Americans began reaching for their cell phones to make donations via text message. In the first day of a mobile call to action done solely through text messages, and made viral on networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, more than $5 million was raised for the Red Cross’s relief work in Haiti.
Seven days after the earthquake hit, a record $22 million had been raised by the American Red Cross for relief efforts in Haiti, a groundbreaking statistic. Within hours after reports first emerged of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti, all major wireless carriers agreed to utilize the mGive software application to allow users to text SMS short code 90999 and type “Haiti.” A user’s account would be charged $10 for the donation on their next bill and a user could text up to two times. Cell phone carriers chose not to charge users to send the texts and some carriers fronted the donations to the Red Cross to speed up delivery of money that is typically held up until a user is billed and money from customers is received.
The post-earthquake, text-to-give campaign reflects the growth trends in mobile use and texting — not just in the younger demographic but in the over-35 group. Text messaging has grown exponentially — with texting volume increasing 600% in just the past two years; mobile internet traffic is expected to grow 100 times faster than wireless voice traffic over the next decade; and 1 in 5 Americans already connect to the Internet daily over their mobile device. The ubiquity, power and reach of mobile phones make mobile giving a convenient and secure way to donate. In fact, cell phone campaigns may be reaching people who might not otherwise have made the effort to get involved.
This historical milestone in goodwill contribution is a hallmark of 21st century innovation and technology. For more information on how you can join the relief efforts please visit www.redcross.org