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Excitement Around Donations by Text Message Fades
Source: The New York Times  ·  January 12, 2012  ·  Excerpt

A new survey of donors who used text messages to send gifts to charities after the earthquake that crumpled Haiti two years ago finds that for most of them, it was an impulse decision with fleeting impact.

Half of the 863 donors included in the analysis by the Pew Internet Project, together with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard, said they used their phones to make a contribution for Haiti immediately after hearing about the Text to Give campaign, and another 23 percent said they made it the same day they heard about it.

That impulse translated into an estimated $43 million that arrived via about 4.3 million texted donations to support the Haiti relief effort, and it set off a race among nonprofit groups to tap what was perceived as a potential new gold mine.

But the survey, which had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, also showed how hard the phenomenon has been to replicate.

Just two in five of the donors surveyed said they had texted a donation to support relief efforts after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami last year, and slightly more than a quarter used their phones to make a donation after the 2010 oil spill on the United States Gulf Coast. Some 18 percent used text messaging to help the victims of the tornadoes that ripped across the country last spring.

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Our take
Knowing not just who is likely to give to your organization, but how and why they give is part of the mission of Compass Pointe Philanthropic Consulting. As in the example above, we make it a priority to know what the current trends in philanthropy are, the rationale behind them and how they might impact you.

Contact us now for assistance answering these and other questions:

  • What are the current trends in giving among the donors most likely to engage with my organization?
  • Once relevant data is collected, what internal processes and strategies should I have for acting upon the information in the most effective way?


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