Text-to-Donate Alive and Well in U.S.

The Millennial Generation / Generation Y is known for being civic-minded and also for wanting instant gratification. The perfect blend of these two characteristics resulted in $40,000 donated to the Keep a Child Alive charitable organization through text messaging. During eleven-time Grammy award winner Alicia...

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The Millennial Generation / Generation Y is known for being civic-minded and also for wanting instant gratification. The perfect blend of these two characteristics resulted in $40,000 donated to the Keep a Child Alive charitable organization through text messaging.

During eleven-time Grammy award winner Alicia Keys As I Am concert tour she partnered with the Mobile Giving Foundation to encourage text message donations of $5 from her audience. She took a few minutes to show a film clip from Alicia in Africa: Journey to the Motherland and then asked her fans to text the word ‘ALIVE’ to shortcode 90999. The text automatically sent the donation and showed up on their monthly phone bill.

When 6 to 12% of Alicia Keys concert goers responded with donations in $5 increments, over $40,000 was raised during the tour.

This text to donate system is possible due to the efforts of Mobile Accord, a Denver-based mobile provider. Their tool mGive is the platform that allows micro donations via text with carrier billing.

Truly, this is smart mobile marketing at its finest. The integration of having a real world experience (being at a concert), seeing a media presentation (the film clip) and then asking for the response on mobile is exactly the right formula. The fact that the target market is the generation for whom text messaging is as easy as breathing makes it all that much better.

My hat is tipped to Alicia Keys, Mobile Accord and all the early adopter fans who donated. (The campaign is still live, so if you feel so inclined, you can add your $5 to the cause – just text ‘ALIVE’ to 90999.)

In this article


  1. Jon

    We created a campaign for Ben Stiller for Haiti and text2give has out performed online donations by a wide margin, especially because he was on Conan’s show talking about the number.


    We offer the service to our clients and the problem is becoming that getting the exact keywords you want can be problematic as all the best ones are being taken up. Kind of like with domain names, but they are going a lot faster.

  2. Internet Affiliate Marketing

    That was really smart.

  3. SMSJock Blogs- Learn about Free Mobile Technology for Interactive Radio, TV, Print, and Brand » Blog Archive » Living Under the Influence of Mobile Marketing

    […] to create buzz in the entertainment business. In fact, there’s a lot of music personalities, like Ms. Keys, who supports SMS campaigns intended for good […]

  4. POLL: Text to Donate - Are you in or out? | MobileMarketingProfits.com

    […] week I wrote about Alicia Keyes text to donate campaign on MobileMarketingWatch.com and it got me to thinking about whether or not I would donate by text […]

  5. Stephen Joos

    Nokia News- We outline the funds distribution here- http://www.mgive.com/Learn_More.aspx

  6. Nokia news

    It’s great that people are donating via SMS.

    I have a question. Do the networks in the US take 40% of the cost of the SMS? In the UK they do. Though I don’t know for sure whether it’s actually waived if it’s for charity.

    I’d be interested to learn how the US carriers deal with this.


  7. Jeff Judge

    @Stephen Joos – Ah, cool. Nice work.

  8. Greg Rollett

    Thanks Kim,

    This would be a great way to help with promotions with Rock For Hunger. Thanks for the heads up!

  9. mGive Blog | Text-to-Donate Alive and Well in U.S.

    […] Read the Post Here […]

  10. Stephen Joos

    Jeff- Im with Mobile Accord. We have worked in tandem with The Mobile Giving Foundation and the mobile carriers to write off the transaction costs for mobile donations.
    Out of a $5 donation, charities keep $4.50.

  11. Phones menia

    Warm, witty and wise- Alicia Keys has a message for you: You’re perfect as is. Pass it on! Alicia has a fresh perspective on the challenges of being 20-something. Listen up and share her message with a friend.

  12. Jeff Judge

    This is definitely a fantastic use of mobile phones at a live event.

    Question for Mobile Accord: how do you get around the 40%+ carrier/aggregator revenue share for premium SMS? I spoke several aggregation partners (OpenMarket, VeriSign) about this and they both said that the revenue share is still applicable for donation campaigns.

  13. Megan Stohner

    Great post! I couldn’t agree more with this campaign being mobile marketing at its finest and I couldn’t be happier that a charitable campaign mastered this.

    I also agree that the fact that the target market here is already so familiar with texting made the campaign that much better and probably had a big effect on the conversion rates.

    It’s amazing how lit-up cell phones have replaced lighters at concerts. For this campaign it means that the mobile phones were literally already in hand when the call to action was made. The other amazing thing about the call to action is that it’s being made by someone most people in the audience idolize which is amazingly powerful.

    Big kudos to Alicia Keys, mgive, and the Mobile Giving Foundation for making all of this happen. I’m a big believer in mobile as a powerful fundraising tool and you have really shown the potential of this tool with this campaign.

  14. scott kline

    It is very clear that consumers are driven by promotions in the physical world to use the mobile device as a RESPONSE MECHANISM TO INTERACT WITH BRANDS!

    At Adheadz.com, we continue to see Mobile Response rates higher than 15% when Brands run radio, TV and traditional advertising with their Mobile Tag like ‘Text Adheadz to 51684 for More Information”.

    The increase of Mobile Tagging, where marketers add their brands’ Keyword and Short Code (like ‘Text Adheadz to 51684 for More Information”) onto their brochures, collateral and marketing outreach, is similar to the use of URL tagging which happened at the onset of the Internet.

    All the best – Scott

    Scott Kline

  15. LeilR

    Famous artists and sports personalities should promote and support SMS movements for charities.
    Since they are a major influence to the GenY market, I don’t see why they should not lend a little portion of their time helping the less fortunate.

    Great job Ms. Keys!

Comments are closed.