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Mobile Philanthropy Uptake Follows Haiti Earthquake Aftermath

4 March 2010 at 3:34 pm
Staff Reporter
A new US study provides additional insights into the up-take of 'mobile' philanthropy following the Haiti earthquake.

Staff Reporter | 4 March 2010 at 3:34 pm


Mobile Philanthropy Uptake Follows Haiti Earthquake Aftermath
4 March 2010 at 3:34 pm

New research in the US indicates that mobile philanthropy, while not universally accepted is gaining traction with younger generations, and that the text-to-gift efforts around Haiti could be the tipping point for greater adoption.

Fundraising experts Convio, Edge Research and Sea Change Strategies have released the results of a national survey of US charitable donors conducted one week after the earthquake in Haiti, and during intense fundraising efforts for emergency relief.

The mobile philanthropy results are part of a larger study that will be released in the coming weeks on the contrasting charitable habits of Gen Y, Gen X, Baby Boomers and Matures to provide the sector with insights on cultivating the next generation of American donors.

Pam Loeb, Principal at Edge Research says the data presented not only shows the growing acceptance of mobile charity appeals, but also provides some interesting statistics on the contrasting habits of different generations.

Loeb says mobile technology presents a huge opportunity for Not for Profits that want to reach specific groups of people — likely to be younger — and provide them with information in a convenient and immediate format.

Some of the key findings on Mobile Philanthropy include:
• 77 percent of respondents (US donors) were aware of the Haiti text-to-donate efforts
• 17 percent of Gen Y respondents and 14 percent of Gen X said they made a donation to Haiti relief efforts via text message, and 3 percent of both Boomer and Mature respondents reported making a donation to Haiti relief efforts via text message
• 28 percent of respondents with a mobile Facebook application texted a gift
• Generally speaking, 36 percent of all respondents were willing to donate via text message after an emergency occurs and 31 percent were willing to donate via text message if a friend is raising money
• Three percent of donors say that they received a text/SMS message from their top charities this year
• However, those who have received information from a top charity through text/SMS, feel that it is an important way to stay in touch with the charities they care about (71% say important).

Vinay Bhagat, the Founder of Convio says that before the earthquake little more than $US1 million had been raised via mobile text but in the aftermath close to $50 million had now been raised through this channel, and represents another way for charities to engage with current and prospective donors, advocates and volunteers.

He says the nature of SMS/text messaging is instant, convenient and has a multiplier effect when used with social networking tools, and we saw all of those benefits reinforced after the earthquake struck.

To download the report, visit

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