Since mobile users were called upon to issue donations via their devices, a record $11M has been collected as of Friday. An impressive 10,000 SMS-based donations have been recorded every second according to the major carriers, who have since changed their billing methods to get the donated funds to Haiti even quicker.
Under normal rules for carrier-based billing and mobile giving, users donate via their wireless bill. The donated amount is added to their monthly bill, and once paid, the carrier issues the funds where it’s been donated. Since this process usually takes some time, carriers are re-working their internal processes to get the funds where they need to be as quickly as possible.
Verizon in particular said they felt that they needed to respond to the immediacy of the crisis and take into account the call by President Obama for Americans to text their contributions. “We are bypassing our normal financing accounting and checks and balances,” said a Verizon Wireless spokesman, Jeffrey Nelson. “We’re doing it because the humanitarian need is immediate.” Nelson went on to say the change was not permanent and that Verizon would return to its regular accounting practices after the Haitian crisis passed.
Similarly, Sprint announced that it would follow in Verizon’s footsteps by giving 80 percent of that money “immediately to support relief efforts, with the remaining to follow.” This particular situation is unprecedented and will definitely change the way mobile donations are handled in the future. In the end, it once again proves the power of mobile well beyond the basics of communication.