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technology and generosity

Maybe you’ve seen the ads or commercials saying “Text HAITI to 90999” to donate $10 to the Red Cross and wondered, “How does that work?”  Well, here’s how.  When you text “HAITI” to 90999, your cell phone will be billed $10 on your next bill.  The money is routed from your cell phone carrier to the Red Cross by a company called mGive.  It’s a wonderfully simple way to raise money.

But is it effective?  I’ll let you be the judge.  Here’s a paragraph from a press release sent on January 19:

Nearly 2.5 million people have texted $10 pledges for Haitian relief to the American Red Cross in seven days, the largest number ever to take action for a mobile giving campaign. Mobile pledges now total about 25 percent of all Red Cross donations for Haiti. The response to the disaster in Haiti has underscored the effectiveness of the mobile phone as a force for social good worldwide.

That translates to over $24 million dollars donated via text messaging.