Donations by text message have now exceeded $22 million to the Red Cross alone for the Haiti earthquake relief effort.
Update: Tallies are being kept by two primary organizations, both Denver-based mGive and Bellevue, Wash.-based Mobile Giving Foundation, which offer competing services to various non-profits. Together, they are helping more than a dozen organizations, including the Red Cross, The Salvation Army, UNICEF, the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund and World Vision, raise funds for Haiti.
A comprehensive number for how much money has been raised to date — across all the organizations — is not readily available, but mGive said today that the Red Cross campaign alone has raised $22 million. That easily makes it the largest campaign that mGive has ever administered. Last year, it raised a total of $1.25 million via text message, and the largest single campaign was the Keep a Child Alive campaign, which raised $450,000 to support services to children and families whose lives have been affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa and India.
While the figures are impressive, the donations continue growing at an increasing rate as additional short codes become available. The Red Cross became one of the first organizations on Jan. 12 to start getting the word out with the help of the U.S. State Department. A list of some of the texting campaigns are available at the end of the post.
One problem with using cellphones is that it takes awhile for the money to get from the carriers to the people in need. However, given the dire circumstances in Haiti, a handful of carriers, including Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA, said they will pass along the money as soon as possible. In a statement today, T-Mobile said: “Recognizing the severity of the situation in Haiti and the need to make funds donated via text message by our customers available as quickly as possible, T-Mobile is speeding up the process to pass along these donations. We plan to deliver funds generously donated by T-Mobile customers this week.”
Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless said it has already transmitted nearly $3 million to the American Red Cross, on behalf of their customers. The company said it would continue to advance funds pledged by customers to the Red Cross, which is “outside normal operation procedures.”
Here’s a staggering list of U.S. organizations offering mobile giving campaigns:
— On behalf of the American Red Cross: Text the word