Making it easy for donors to give is important with so many causes seeking the charity dollars – and with the amount of mobile phones in the market, it only makes sense that charitable organisations adopt and promote txt giving as a means for supporters to give. 

A recent study undertaken by Pew Institute shows how txt giving is being used and the impact it has, the people who gave. 

What is the current situation in New Zealand – are organizations using it as an option, if so what types/sizes of organizations are using it? 

Here’s the summary of how “Text to Haiti” went … 

Report is first in-depth study of mobile giving

Some highlights: 

Two thirds (64%) of American adults now use text messaging, and 9% have texted a charitable donation from their mobile phone. 

The first-ever, in-depth  study on  mobile donors –which analyzed the “Text to Haiti” campaign after the 2010 earthquake—finds that these contributions were often spur-of-the-moment decisions that spread virally through friend networks. 

Three quarters of these donors (73%) contributed using their phones on the same day they heard about the campaign, and a similar number (76%) say that they typically make text message donations without conducting much in-depth research beforehand. 

Yet while their initial contribution often involved little deliberation, 43% of these donors encouraged their friends or family members to give to the campaign as well. In addition, a majority of those surveyed (56%) have continued to give to more recent disaster relief efforts—such as the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan—using their mobile phones. 

Mobile giving is often an ‘impulse purchase’ in response to a major event or call to action,” said Aaron Smith, senior research specialist at the Pew Internet Project and author of the report. “These donations come from people who are ready to give if they are moved by what they see and hear.”

Charitable giving in the mobile age is a social activity that occurs primarily through offline channels. Of those who encouraged a friend or family member to donate, three quarters (75%) did so by talking with others in person—that’s twice the number who sent a text message encouraging others to donate (34% did this) and more than three times the number who did so by posting on a social networking site (21%). 

Six in ten of these Haiti text donors have not followed the ongoing reconstruction efforts closely after making their donation, and just 3% say they have followed these efforts “very closely”. Additionally, a sizeable majority (80%) have not received additional follow-up communications from the organization that received their donation. 

These donors utilize a range of methods to give money to the groups and causes that are important to them. When asked how they prefer to make charitable donations, these donors prefer text messaging (favored by 25%) and online forms (24%) only slightly to mail (22%) and in-person donations (19%). Voice calling stands out as the least preferred option, as just 6% of Haiti text donors prefer making donations over the phone. 

“These findings have vast implications for non-profits, other cause-related charities, and even philanthropists,” noted Rob Faris, Research Director for the Berkman Center. “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.” 

“The Red Cross campaign showed that innovation can have a transformational effect in crises,” said Amy Starlight Lawrence, Journalism and Media Innovation Program associate for Knight Foundation. “This survey, which details the story behind millions in donations, should help other non-profits develop powerful new tools to fund and execute their missions.” 

The study also finds that these mobile givers are younger and more diverse compared with other charitable donors, and differ significantly from the overall population when it comes to their use of technology. They are especially likely to: 

Own an e-reader (24% do so, compared with 9% of all US adults), laptop computer (82% vs. 57%) or tablet computer (23% vs. 10%). 

Use Twitter (23% of the Haiti donors we surveyed who go online are Twitter users, compared with 12% of all online adults) or social networking sites (83% vs. 64%). 

Use their phones for activities such as accessing the internet (74% do so, compared with 44% of all adult cell owners), taking pictures (96% vs. 73%) or recording video (67% vs. 34%). 

Read the full Real Time Mobile Giving Report 

It’s accepted that when it comes to giving at times of disasters and when large numbers of people are in need that people will get on board, they’ll give more readily than perhaps at other times, but the results of this study show that people do give via txt and that this should be encouraged as a way to give. 

What is your local experience – are people giving via txt or are they still giving the more ‘traditional’ ways? 

Is your organization looking at txt as a means to help people make donations? If not, what needs to change before you will? 

Do you give by txt – if not why not?

One thought on “Txt Giving – It’s a valuable option

  1. There have been some great txt to give campaigns, and the Child Cancer Foundations was one that showed it is a viable and easy way to give.

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