Charitable Donations (Finally) Using The Power Of Mobile

The use of mobile technology has enriched several industries, with more catching on every day it seems.  One area that just made the jump to mobile utilization is the act of giving to charities.

Jim Manis, chief executive of the Mobile Giving Foundation, a Bellevue-based nonprofit that provides technology for charitable organizations to run mobile campaigns, believes giving to charities should be “easy, fun and rewarding.”  A former wireless-industry executive, Manis started the foundation to create a channel for the millions of American mobile users to receive and respond to charity-based appeals from worthy causes.

The U.S. already sees over $300 billion in charitable donations every year, but most of those are from older individuals that send in checks.  Manis believes his foundation will open the door to younger individuals in a completely new demographic that are used to using their mobile devices and text messaging to interact.

Reaching younger donors also fits into an emerging trend in philanthropy: While nonprofits relied on a smaller number of donors making large gifts in the past, the new paradigm is appealing to a vast number of smaller donors.  “Mobile giving” is taking off and inspiring new kinds of fundraising campaigns.  The American Red Cross raised $190,000 in donations last year from its Text 2HELP program, for example.

That particular program used the system that Manis helped build in response to the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina events.  Working with the wireless-industry association CTIA and wireless carriers, he set up a system to allow people to give emergency donations on mobile devices.  That system has been integrated into a new readily-available platform that any charitable organization can utilize in their own efforts.

This again shows the power of mobile to reach out to consumers on a personal level, and to do so on a massive scale.  Charities all across the world can benefit immensely from this foundation and its technology.