Various relief organizations across America have used SMS marketing techniques of late to solicit funds for disaster aid in the wake of man-made and natural disasters including the BP oil spill and Haiti’s devastating earthquake. The Mobile Giving Foundation (MGF), founded in 2007, is an organization formed to “give the 250 million American wireless users a single ‘Mobile Giving Channel’ over which they could receive and respond to appeals from worthy causes.”
Once MGF has vetted a nonprofit organization, it develops a fundraising campaign using the same principles as in text marketing – a short SMS message to opt-in users with instructions on how to donate to the cause. Any expenses incurred are billed to the non-profits on a post-donation basis; in other words, the full amount of the user’s donation is delivered to the nonprofit organization when made.
With or without the MGF, some very big name charities have embraced text-to-give mobile marketing campaigns, including the United Way, American Cancer Society and the American Red Cross. In fact, the American Red Cross raised over $30 million within one month of launching its Haiti drive. Of interest to marketers, it should be noted that some 95% of the 3 million unique SMS donors were first-time donors to the American Red Cross, as reported by MobileMarketingWatch.com.
Monthly donations to the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) have also increased by approximately fifty percent year-on-year. The mobile marketing campaign used to fundraise to help Gulf wildlife impacted by the oil spill was again quite simple: users were instructed to text in a keyword and then a numeric code to make a donation.
Even politicians are texting for donations. John Edwards successfully used SMS marketing techniques back in 2007 when fundraising and with U.S. elections a billion dollar business, text marketing campaigns during elections should become far more commonplace. After all, current online donations tend to be three times the amount of those solicited by direct mail and at a much larger ROI – so it tends to make sense that fundraisers of every ilk will solicit their supporters by text messages.