Mobile text fundraising has exploded onto the scene in a big way during the Haiti disaster, with the Red Cross reporting it has raised $3 million via texting in just over 24 hours.
That's almost one-third of the $10 million it has raised overall. Here's how the Red Cross describes it in a Twitter posting:
You have donated nearly $3 million to Red Cross earthquake relief efforts in #Haiti by texting "Haiti" to 90999. Thank you. Keep it up.
United Way has also set up a text donation fund for Haiti.
You can give $5 to the Red Cross by texting the word HAITI to 90999 or to the United Way at 864833
The leading source of mobile text fundraising is mGive. Denver wireless content entrepreneur James Eberhard traces the idea for the nationwide system to the Live 8 anti-poverty concert he attended in London which raised $2 million via text messaging.
MGive first rolled out its mobile giving channel with a United Way text fundraising effort during the Super bowl in 2008.
Randy Punley, who manages the mobile giving program for United Way, says it has become a "valuable fundraising tool."
"We need to go where people are," Punley says. "Not everybody is at a computer, not everyone will write a check any more. So we really need to be able to reach out to people in a variety of ways."
He says 20 of the Untied Way charities have signed up to use mGive.
MGive normally gets 35 cents per text, but Punley says the organization has waived its fees for the Haiti fundraising effort. Except for normal texting fees, the wireless carriers do not charge extra for the service, which adds the donation on the caller's phone bill.
(Posted by Doug Stanglin)