The earthquake in Haiti was an “aha!” moment for nonprofits, demonstrating within hours the vast potential to raise money by text messaging.
Using a simple five-digit code and the word “Haiti,” the American Red Cross raised some $2 million in the first 24 hours after the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake — almost as much as was raised in the previous year by nonprofits with text-to-give programs in 2009.
Over all, the Red Cross pulled in more than $30 million by mobile phones for its work in Haiti, setting off a scramble among nonprofits to figure out a way to replicate that success.
“We got calls from thousands of nonprofits wanting to get started with mobile giving,” said James Eberhard, founder of Mobile Accord, whose subsidiary, mGive, was behind the Red Cross’s Haiti campaign.
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