In what is an ongoing humanitarian and mobile story, mobile donations made to Haiti earthquake aftermath relief have exceeded $22 million.
This has been a quickly accelerating total, as news reports mid-last week were boasting $7 million. More importantly, the $22 million now represents about 10 percent of the overall total donations, mostly acquired through traditional means.
Ten percent is huge if you consider this is a collection method just now entering mainstream consciousness. Yes, SMS is a pervasive medium, but the speed and coordination to get this going, from carriers and technology providers like mGive (working with the Red Cross), have been impressive.
Also responsible for its success is simplicity: requiring the user only send a text message to a short code (full list here). A $10 donation is automatically generated and added to your next phone bill. To expedite things, carriers have advanced most of the money, a commendable move (they’ve also waived standard SMS fees).
Targeting mobile devices and SMS has also allowed the effort to reach new demographics like teens and young adults — those for which texting is like breathing, but mailing a check is relatively foreign. Beyond the more important humanitarian angle is the eventually notable impact this will have on mobile commerce.
1, it’s a telling sign that there is growth on the horizon for m-commerce. 2, this is an event that has acclimated many people into transmitting funds via mobile. From this, a degree of comfort was gained and propensity to engage in the future — whatever the cause or purchase — is increased.
Expect to see more donation efforts follow the success of this one, and for the public awareness and comfort levels with mobile commerce to continue to improve. There will be lots of different methods (and companies) that develop around this concept — SMS being just one of them.