Text Messages Make Giving To Haiti Easy

It’s been a difficult week to watch the news. The suffering in Haiti is all consuming, casting a shadow on everything else. As my daughter and I watched “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” the other night, we wished that giant hamburgers and hotdogs could actually fall from the sky over Haiti. The silly theme of the movie – a kid invents a machine that can rain fast food over a town – seemed almost obscene in the midst of the real crisis that Haitians are experiencing.

The Red Cross, working with an organization called mGive Foundation that links charities with mobile carriers to enable people to text and donate, has found a unique and easy way to connect with youth. By texting the word HAITI to 90999 they can donate $10. So far, they’ve raised over $10 million dollars – with no credit cards.

“It’s microdonations by millions of people, adding up to an amount that can make a difference,” said Tony Aiello, senior vice president at mGive. Aiello said that many donors see the images of the disaster on television or on the Internet and are motivated by the ease with which they can contribute. So many people now recognize they can use their mobile phone to donate, it’s an impulse give.”

The brilliance of this system is it’s ability to capitalize on the emotional response that people have to the horror of what is happening in Haiti by enabling a quick, easy, micro-donation using relevant technology. Letting the audience respond by using the tools they prefer. It’s simple, and it feels great

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