The devastating earthquake disaster in Haiti has catapulted Americans to give generously regardless of our own economic woes. One just need to view a clip of the mass graves or American Civil War style limp amputation, done without anesthesia, to react by making a charitable donation to the rescue, relief and rebuilding efforts.
For what else can we do but respond generously?
Apparently, this mega disaster has our youth reacting with their hand-held devices. As of this writing, the American Red Cross is reporting that $10 million has been raised by the use of text messaging. Within hours of the earthquake, the quick thinking American Red Cross responded with a massive media appeal to text 9-0-9-9-9; the results are historic.
Facebook and Twitter sites were spreading the word as fast as we were receiving the news of the earthquake – the power of social media unleashed for an urgent humanitarian need exponentially reaching millions within hours.
Okay, This Has My Attention…With 280 million wireless users in the United States, text messaging is used by 68% of 18-24 year olds, 37% of 35-44 year olds, and, 14% of all Americans over 65 as reported by Mobile Giving Foundation www.mobilegiving.org a nonprofit organization providing a link between a charitable
Six other charitable organizations, including the Clinton Foundation, are accepting donations via mobile channeling for Haiti relief.
In a conversation with a Development Director of the American Red Cross a few minutes ago, he believes that the majority of the money raised by hand- held devices came from individuals between the ages of 18-35 year olds; the “immediate response” generation of users.
There are currently over 800 mobile giving programs at either the $5 or $10 donor level.
Mobile Giving Foundation states that mobile philanthropy outpaces online donor acquisition by a 3:1 Factor, depending on the cause and the call to action.
THE CAUTION FOR MOBILE CAMPAIGNS:
The “keyword” is ACQUISITION. I agree that mobile charitable giving will outpace online acquisition of a name, contact information and a charitable gift, as long as it is coupled with a large scale media blitz.
But the total amount of the money raised is contingent upon many factors, including the use of social media to spread the urgent need along with radio and television outreach.
I would caution my colleagues to implement a cross media integration platform to coincide with a mobile campaign.
There is great power in hearing an urgent need via radio, social media, television and responding with a text message charitable gift to make an impact – especially when there is a race against time as in Haiti.
The American Red Cross would like the public to know that all the money designated for Haiti Disaster Relief will go to Haiti, minus 9% for management and governance of the national organization.
The efforts for rescue, relief and rebuild are just beginning for Haiti and so is the outpouring of our generous American spirit. It is so sad that we needed to wait for this disaster to offer much needed attention to this little county in our western hemisphere.
May we see more rescues in the coming hours.
Friday, January 15 @ 7:30 p.m.
President & CEO
Lisa Benson Consulting, LLC