Daily Illuminator

January 16, 2010: Mobile Donations

The earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12 has caused massive devastation; since it's a trending topic on Twitter and all over the 24-hour news networks, you don't need to us to tell you about that. Nor is it surprising that the various charitable organizations around the world have sprung into action to help out.

But now you can donate to the relief effort with just a simple text message. By typing in "Haiti" and sending it to 90999, you'll donate $10 to the Red Cross' efforts in Haiti. (It shows up on your next phone bill, or is deducted from your prepaid minutes.) You can still send in money the usual way -- via their website, toll-free number, and snail mail -- but using mobile technology to eliminate the barriers to donation is simply smart.

It's good to be living in the future, even during natural disasters.

(Note: It has been pointed out that the Red Cross has been accepting donations via text message for some time, with the 2HELP program. Specifically, texting "GIVE" to 24357 (aka "2HELP") donates $5 to the Red Cross. The "Haiti" program seems to be the first crisis-specific use of donation-via-text.)

-- Paul Chapman

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