Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why the lackluster mobile giving for Japan’s crises?

Last year, when Haiti was struck by a devastating earthquake, solicitations for donations via SMS were everywhere.

Every Red Cross commercial featured both the Web site and the short code for mobile giving. The 90999 short code was plastered all over the televised benefit concert. The news media – as well as the nonprofit community – was abuzz with this new channel for charitable donations.

Times have changed – slightly.

As the crises surrounding the recent earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan unfold, mobile giving has not been quite as prevalent as it was just a year ago for Haiti.

The Red Cross television commercials no longer trumpet their dedicated short code.

Click here to continue reading.

A Google search of news articles relating to SMS donations and Japan turns up only a few pages of results – and none focusing exclusively on mobile giving.

Individuals can still contribute to the relief effort via text, but neither the wireless carriers nor the organizations soliciting donations feel the need to tout their capacity to receive contributions via this channel like they did last year.

The preliminary numbers reflect this trend.

As of March 15, the Red Cross has raised a total of $1.7 million for relief efforts in Japan through text donations, compared with $25 million in the first five days after the Haiti earthquake.

The Center on Philanthropy suggests that the generally lower amount of the average text donation has dragged the total raised by the channel down somewhat.

But more to the point, The Nonprofit Times acknowledges that while mobile giving has “been active after this most recent disaster, it’s not been nearly as viral.”

So what gives? Or this case, what does not give? Why the slowdown in mobile donations? Should not a donation channel that is supposedly well-established, convenient and effective be enjoying more importance, not less?

A number of factors go into answering those questions.

More charities, more short codes
First, it is important to understand that the popularity of mobile giving among nonprofits skyrocketed in the months following Haiti.

No comments:

Post a Comment