Using the Power of Mobile for Good Causes

The New York Times has an article on "cellphone fundraising", which unfortunately focuses on the wrong points: They mainly report about PR-needy consumer-protection associations that quarrel about the fact that users who want to donate $20 to the Red Cross are being charged 4x 15c SMS charges as the agreed maximum donation is $5 (and they would probably be quarreling if there wasn't a maximum for it would drive people into certain poverty).

Folks, you need to get out more! Isn't it great that you can donate money to the Red Cross like this? The administrative costs for a mobile campaign will arguably be lower (and hence the return for the charity higher) than with the use of traditional means. The Red Cross gets more money. Everyone wins!

The concept of cause-related mobile campaigns - and that doesn't only include actual fundraising - is fantastic:

  1. As has been mentioned a gazillion times, mobile phones have the capacity to being the most targeted marketing approach known today. Conversion rates should be very high and acquisition cost per capita therefore very low. E.g. did Rights Group's collaboration with U2 and the ONE campaign exceed 25% response!
  2. People tend to part easier with their money for causes they believe in. In particular calls for smaller amounts as they are already customarily being paid for via mobiles would appear to be attractive.
  3. Premium SMS is one of the most efficient micro-billing tools in the world. It is globally available and simple to use.
  4. The overall cost of premium SMS would need to be lower than those for traditional fundraising.
More power to mobile charity work!