One very impressive thing about the international reaction to Haiti’s recent devastating earthquake is the many, many ways you can contribute to relief efforts. The Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations acted quickly, setting up donations via the web, through partnerships with product makers, and through incredibly simple text messages charged directly to your bill.
The flipside is that it can be hard to know exactly which methods are legit, and in which cases the bulk of your donation actually goes to relief work. Apple (s aapl) and the Red Cross have set up a method for donating money that makes it very simple to make a contribution that will go entirely towards helping Haitians deal with the fallout of this tragic event; you can now donate via iTunes.
At the U.S. and Canadian iTunes stores, and at many European ones, too all you have to do is follow this link and you’ll be taken to a Red Cross donation splash page. You can then choose from six different preset donation amounts, including $5, $10, $25, $50, $100 and $200. Clicking the “Donate” button beneath any amount will then prompt the “Sign in to buy” dialog, where you’ll confirm your iTunes account credentials in order to finalize the donation.
Apple explains where your donation is going and to what end on the donation page:
100% of your donation will go to the American Red Cross (…) Your donation of any size could help save the day by providing food, water, temporary shelter, medical services and emotional support to someone in need.
In the even that the American Red Cross reaches its target for the Haiti Earthquake Appeal, any excess donations will be applied to other American Red Cross efforts. Further information about the American Red Cross and its financial administration can be found at www.RedCross.org.
A quick test reveals that the iTunes link to the donation page does not work on the iPhone or iPod touch iTunes store at this time. If you do want to donate from your mobile device, the best way is probably still via text message. Texting “HAITI” to 90999 will donate $10 to the relief efforts on many U.S. carriers, although it won’t work for international donations.
Haiti is nowhere near out of the woods yet, so if you haven’t yet contributed, or if you’d just like to do it again, and donate more than the max $20 or $30 that most carriers allow for the texting method, the iTunes store is a safe and easy way to help out.