Twitter And SMS Fundraising Goes Mainstream

Twitter_button As our social networks grow, so too does our power to spread awareness and calls for action pertaining to the causes we feel matter. The fundraising efforts of many grassroots, mass mobilization, celebrity, and other campaigns on Twitter and through text message has reached new heights with the response to the earthquake in Haiti, and other organizations are quick to see the power of the 140-character message.

Within 48 hours of their call for donations to their Haiti relief effort, the Red Cross received $8 million in funds directly from text messages according to the BBC. There are dozens of organizations, including World Vision, the United Nations, Unicef, and a whole host of country-specific and regional groups, that are accepting SMS donations of $5 to $10 for Haiti. And Twitter is being used to share links, SMS codes, and inform people of how to donate and why.

This success is surely not being overlooked. The US Ski Team and US Snowboarding have joined together with to set up a grassroots initiative to raise money via SMS. An individual interested in supporting the teams can send a quick text and $10 will donated to the teams, deducted hassle-free from their next cell phone bill. By capitalizing on the timing – in the midst of the Winter Olympics – and on the technology, the US athletes organization hopes to raise money and to spread the word that their sports receive no government support, with the only funding coming from corporate sponsors and individual citizens.

Twitter and SMS both offer something different to charities and organizations looking to raise donations and awareness of their cause. Twitter is inherently more social, and actions taken on Twitter can be viewed by followers. This allows for the quick sharing of pertinent links, up-to-date information, and tallies of how much has been raised for those interested. SMS on the other hand is a more closed network. It has proven to be effective not so much as the information-sharing tool, but as the donation-raising tool, as cell phone users can donate a small sum via a single text, without having to do much more than tack a few dollars onto their next phone bill. Used in tandem, these two quick-and-easy social messaging services have huge potential to increase charitable donations and awareness across the globe.