More on Mobile
We've just begun to develop the channel and its potential. There are emerging mobile technologies that are being introduced nearly every day, and we are deploying charitable-giving links for many of these new technologies — things like better links to social media through mobile devices, location-enabled applications, mapping, imaging, donor data collection and seamless integration with CRM systems.
FS: Explain the phenomenon of the surge in mobile giving in the Haiti relief effort.
JK: The earthquake in Haiti was a terrible disaster right on America's doorstep. News coverage was immediate, focused on the great need and kept the need in front of the American people. The generosity of Americans, especially for neighbors, is unparalleled. And when text-to-give opportunities began to flood the media, people responded.
The American Red Cross had the enormous benefit of free exposure on the cable news channels ("text Haiti to 90999"). The same appeared on entertainment television, NFL football games, NBA basketball games, NCAA games. It was in newspapers, on radio — it was about as ubiquitous as any fundraising appeal in history. It may have had more free publicity than any other cause — ever. And it was easy to give. That is the power of text-to-give: ease. But for 98 percent of America's nonprofits, that ease does not translate to net income because they do not enjoy the media exposure of the Red Cross, Salvation Army, UNICEF, World Vision, Save the Children.
TA: There are several reasons the mobile campaigns for Haiti relief were so successful. For one thing, the images of the victims and the stories about their suffering were a powerful call to action. Millions of Americans just wanted to help, and text donations made it easy for them to be generous.
Beyond that, there were several things that helped this to become the most successful mobile donation campaign in history. It is all about communication, and so many people spread the word! From the State Department and Red Cross announcements and quick response, to public service announcements by Michelle Obama, to media stories ranging from national broadcast, to national business press to metropolitan dailies and radio, to individuals making pleas on Facebook and Twitter. It would have been hard for people to miss it.