Thursday, January 14, 2010

On change & legitimacy

I donated $10 to the Red Cross by texting "Haiti" to 90999.

My first reaction when I heard about this (through a friend via facebook) was to question it's legitimacy. With the proliferation of various scams taking advantage of mass disasters and focus on humanitarian aid, such as those following Katrina, I was a bit hesitant to try this at first. Like most people, when I donate money, I want it to be put to good use. I'm the type of person that researches organizations before I put in my own time &/or money, leafing mission/position statements & occasionally annual reports (as I result I no longer donate to the Salvation Army, or Locks of Love.)

I love this system of donating via texting. Especially when the carriers waiver the messaging costs (I have unlimited text messaging so it doesn't matter to me), it makes donating so convenient and cheap to the consumer. Through some new media channels, it can also update your status automatically (or you can do it yourself) to show that you did donate and to help spread the word to your online network.

While this isn't the first use of collecting money through text messaging for either non-profit causes or commercial purposes, this is the first time I've embraced it and participated myself. There's a few other major organizations you can text donations for Haiti humanitarian efforts to, and I think having the big name backing really does help encourage people to try this new method, which is surely a step towards changing people's behaviors and perceptions.

Sometimes, the best catalyst for change is catastrophe.

UPDATE 1/14/2010:
Haiti text donations to Red Cross hit $4m!

Not too surprising?

Problem-space with huge business potential


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