By Mark Hrywna
From The Non-Profit Times
When disaster strikes these days, lots of donors don’t think twice before whipping out their cell phones and donating $5 or $10 via text message. Vast amounts of money were raised via text when an earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, and again this past spring when an earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan.
But outside of the disasters and the large organizations that collect most of the donations, does text messaging do much for smaller charities? Are you asking yourself whether your charity should be on the mobile bandwagon — or whether it already has missed the boat?
In 2008, approximately $250,000 was raised through mobile channels, and in 2009 that number more than quadrupled to $1.3 million, according to the mGive Foundation. But then came the Haiti earthquake and almost $50 million was raised by text, the majority by the American Red Cross. If you’re a small, or even average-sized nonprofit, you might be asking yourself, “Well, that’s the Red Cross. We can’t raise $50 million by text, so why should we both with that channel?”
Bridge Communities used text messaging to raise money during two events last year, including its Sleep Out Saturday. During the event each November, participants are encouraged to spend a night outdoors, experiencing what it’s like to be homeless, sleeping in sleeping bags, tents or even cardboard boxes.
Although just a tiny fraction of the overall $123,000 raised came from text giving, the social service agency in the Chicago suburb of Glen Ellyn, Ill., has only just begun experimenting with mobile giving. Participants in Sleep Out Saturday could text the word “Bridge” to 2022 to donate, and last year raised a little more than $1,000, according to Amy Van Polen, resource development director. About $1.5 million of its annual $2.5 million budget is from contributions and grants...