Red Cross Building Massive Mobile Database With Haiti SMS Donations

Through the effort of its $10 SMS donation initiative, the American Red Cross has received a record $24 million and counting to aid those effected by last week’s earthquake in Haiti.  With an unprecedented amount of mobile users utilizing the text-to-donate method, DMNews is reporting that the Red Cross has seized the opportunity to build-out it’s SMS database in a way never before available.

Users who text the keyword HAITI to 90999 to donate their $10 receives a confirmation text which asks them to respond with word “yes” to confirm their donation.  Once the donation is processed and the $10 charge is added to their wireless bill, the user is sent a thank you text which also includes an opt-in to receive further communication from the Red Cross.

“Our core demographic tends to skew a bit older, but the text platform gives members of Generation Y another channel in which to express support in charitable giving,” said Attie Poirier, public affairs contractor for American Red Cross.  The younger demographic is much more in tune with SMS and more receptive to mobile opt-ins as well, especially from respected sources like the American Red Cross.  So far more than 130,000 users have opted-in to further communication.

“The Red Cross will then contact those users up to four times per month,” Poirier continued.  “However, those retargeting efforts have not yet begun.”   What’s interesting is that the Red Cross conducted a similar SMS donation campaign during Hurricane Katrina in which it raised a total of $120,000.  It proves further how far SMS donations, mobile payments and mobile communications in general have come in recent years.

The Haiti relief effort marks the first attempt by the Red Cross to build-out a mobile SMS database using SMS donations as a driver.  With the help of a massive media campaign driving call-to-action, the ease of donating via SMS and the outpour of generosity seen across the country the Red Cross has again risen to the task at hand, and solidified a bright future for its mobile initiatives in helping those who need it.