Text Messages Raise $11 Million For Haiti

Text Messages Raise $11 Million For Haiti

Times have definitely changed. Instead of sending a check or dropping a few extra bucks in a bucket to contribute to a natural disaster relief effort, U.S. cellphone users are sending text message contributions. In what is being hailed as an unprecedented mobile response to a natural disaster, U.S. cellphone users have donated more than $11 million to Haitian earthquake relief efforts.

Wireless carriers such as Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile have waived fees for customers who want to send mobile donations. These carriers are also assuring customers that they are not taking a cut of the donations. "There are no text messaging fees and 100 percent of the $10 donation goes to the American Red Cross," Verizon said in a statement.

There are a number of organizations that are accepting donations via text message. By texting the word "Yele" to 501501 for instance, you can donate $5 to Wyclef Jean's Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund. You can also donate to the American Red Cross by texting the word "Haiti" to a specified number, like 90999. The donation is then charged to your wireless phone bill.



To date, the American Red Cross said it has received more than $9 million in donations from more than 900,000 users. Spokeswoman Nadia Pontif said, "It's unprecedented that we've received this amount." The Mobile Giving Foundation said the donations have set a "mobile-giving record" for funds raised for a single cause. According to the Mobile Giving Foundation, more than $11 million has been donated.

Jim Manis, chief executive officer of the foundation helping to manage cellphone donations said it can take up to 90 days for donations to be delivered to a charity, however. Manis said Mobile Giving is working with the wireless carriers to help decrease this lag time between when a donation is made via cellphone and when the charity receives the funds. "Every carrier is working through a solution to push those funds out faster," Manis said.

According to U.N. disaster experts, at least 10% of housing in the Haitian capital was destroyed, leaving about 300,000 homeless. In some areas of the country, 50% of buildings were destroyed or badly damaged.
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Definitely the ease of donation via text really helps. No CC numbers or long forms required.

The CC companies were also waiving fees for people donating to Haiti. Typically in the past, they've taken a 2-3% cut of every transaction.

I'm glad eveyone's coming together. Its utter chaos in Haiti, and much of it was already present before the earthquake hit. Conditions in Haiti have always been horrible, and the post-earthquake efforts are bringing that realization to light. The average annual income in Haiti is just $400.

It's no easy going for the aid workers either. Student volunteers and professors at my med school were barred from going this past weekend because the situation was deemed too fragile. Doctors and nurses were also advised to leave by the UN.

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Yeah when I saw this I was pretty impressed. I can't think of a much better way to speed up an operation like this. Mind the fact that it has not been a week yet since this happened. Yet they've already raised a sum of donations this high. Thats quite incredible really.

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I donated $5, but I was under the misunderstanding that it was to stop Wyclef Jean from recording any more music.

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LOL, that would be $5 well spent. For an $1 can I toss Nickelblack in too?

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It is good that there aren't any fees for these donations, I would have assumed that the carriers were taking home a good bit of coin with this. At least they are doing something good for once.

Luckily the company I work for has put up 500k between the red cross, yele and 3 other aid organizations and put up another 500k in matching if us employees donate.

Personally, I had been putting off cleaning out my closet and donating old clothes that don't fit anymore, and since places have started asking for that sort of thing for Haiti, I figured it was a good time to get it done.

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That's awesome, do you work for Toyota? 

Usually CC companies and banks make out like bandits when it comes to donations. Now that the Haiti donation efforts are in the very public eye, they've stepped back. If they had to forego fees on all charitable donations, they would miss out on hundreds of millions. One of the few exceptions is Capital One, they've never taken a cut off donations.

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Northrop Grumman

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This is truly a great use of technology. I don't know what there going to do in Haiti though really the whole place is ruined, and if modern technology comes in there and new buildings and everything else there going to be strained country wide at best to keep it all maintained.

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We're seeing in the new how horrible the conditions are over in Haiti and how much the people are suffering. The sad thing is that a lot of those conditions were just as bad pre-earthquake. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. At this time of crisis and beyond, they need all the help they can get to remain afloat.

Update, the Haiti telethon raised $57 million!

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