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Text to donate: Red Cross offers quick, easy means to help Haiti
January 13, 2010, 6:40 pm
Filed under: Culture | Tags: , ,

Red Cross in Haiti

Make a difference in less time than it takes to get out your checkbook. Simply text the word HAITI to 90999 to have $10 automatically donated to Red Cross earthquake relief efforts in the disaster-struck nation. (The donation is added to your phone bill, easy as that.)

Donation by text is not new—for example, UNICEF’s TAP Project for clean drinking water used it to great results—but it’s effective, and an ingenious way to mobilize people in support of a cause. It’s smart, it’s easy, and it’s immediate—for us as donors and for the recipients and organizations in need of aid. It removes a lot of the obstacles that keep people from donating, making the act of giving almost as convenient as doing nothing at all.

The donation-by-text method capitalizes on the ubiquity of mobile phones (maybe the only thing we really take everywhere with us—even more so than money, as this campaign shrewdly observes) and allows us to seize the generous impulse before it has a chance to fade, or before we just forget.

Beyond just the ease and speed with which the text donation delivery method works is the “price point” of the donation—a mere $10. It’s meaningful and it adds up, but it’s small enough for most of us to donate without much thought. The token default amount of $10 can probably quickly generate—just through ease of donation and sheer grassroots volume of donations—a great deal more money and awareness than a smaller number of larger donations, as with a traditional crisis-response drive. (Of course, those who want to donate more always can—this text feature is not really for them, but for the “casual” donor, the everyman.)

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