Using Text (SMS) For Charity Donations

Here’s an informative piece on the technologies, economics, and pitfalls of using text message based charitable donations:

Texted donations currently are limited to $5 and $10 increments and capped by mobile phone companies at five a month from a single phone.

But that’s not the only downside.  There are huge costs to setting up a short code number and then you have to spend even more money on spreading the word about it:

Thus far, nonprofits have also had to share the five-digit codes, called short codes, which means relying on donors to remember a particular key word like “Haiti” or “aid” to ensure that gifts go to the intended charity. Mr. Eberhard said short codes were expensive, about $12,000 each, and so companies can offer only a few to their clients

Perhaps most important, many nonprofits simply cannot afford the kind of promotional campaign needed to publicize mobile giving efforts, nor do they benefit from the kind of exposure that a round-the-clock, disaster-driven news event provides.

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  1. It seems like there needs to be a way to get around the texting requirement to submit funds, perhaps the Jumo organization will incorporate some sort of “easy pay” method that will not require users to enter a credit card to make a small donation?

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