Donation Texting on the Rise - US report
10 February 2012 at 1:51 pm
|Flickr image: Some rights reserved by Ricky Romero|
Charitable donations via text messaging are on the rise in the US, with text donors emerging as a new cohort of charitable givers.
In what researchers are calling the first in-depth study on mobile donations, the new study by the Pew Research Centre reveals that text contributions are often “spur-of-the-moment decisions that spread virally through friend networks”.
The study also found that text donors don’t give much thought to their contributions, with 73 per cent making a donation on the same day they heard about the campaign. A similar number – 76 per cent – said that they typically make text message donations without conducting much in-depth research beforehand.
The recently released report is based on analysis of the ‘Text to Haiti’ campaign following the 2010 earthquake by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and Harvard’s Berkman Center for the Internet & Society.
According to Pew Research Center 43 per cent of text donors encouraged their friends or family members to give to the campaign, while 56 per cent have continued to give – using their mobile phone – to more recent disaster relief efforts such as the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Senior research specialist at the Pew Internet Project and author of the report, Aaron Smith, said that text donations come from people who are ready to give if they are moved by what they see and hear.
“In contrast to other types of charitable contributions, which often involve some background research, or are directed towards organisations with which the donor has an existing relationship, mobile giving is often an ‘impulse purchase’ in response to a major event or call to action,” Smith said.
The report also found that while donors utilise a range of methods to give money to causes, 25 per cent of respondents said that text messaging was their preferred option. Online forms were next popular at 24 per cent, while voice calling was the least preferred, with 6 per cent of donors choosing to make a donation over the phone.
Research director for the Berkman Center Rob Faris said that the findings have vast implications for Not for Profits, other cause-related charities, and even philanthropists.
“The age of mobile connectivity is creating a new class of networked donors who learn quickly about tragedies that occur anywhere on the planet and respond immediately.”
Donations via text messages in Australia is yet to take off as fundraisers need to make special arrangements with the telco.
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