Jun 26, 2021

New Era of Disaster Relief Fundraising

Animated hands reaching out to click multiple device screens

Natural disasters highlight the need to raise a large number of donations in a hurry. Whether communities are affected by earthquakes, tornados, wildfires, or floods, aid organizations need to send funds and emergency supplies as quickly as possible. However, traditional disaster relief fundraising channels may not be fast enough during these crucial times. Mobile Pledging (mobile donations in unlimited amounts) can help charities get support to the people who need it most in the shortest amount of time.

Disaster relief campaigns have been revolutionized by mobile technology in just a few short years. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, the Red Cross was able to raise $22 million via $10 text-to-give, which accounted for 20 percent of the total funds received. In fact, the organization released a report last year on the progress made in the three years since the quake.

Donations helped 90% of the people displaced by the earthquake move back into communities.

In total, 4.4 million Haitians have benefited from the Red Cross’s services since 2010 because the group did a great deal to improve citizens’ access to health services and fund awareness campaigns, such as education on how to prevent cholera and be better prepared for major storms.

Workers carrying boxes to and from air force helicopter

Evolution of  Disaster Relief Fundraising

Despite the progress in Haiti, Mobile Pledging has a huge advantage over traditional $10 text to give when it comes to disaster relief fundraising because it allows organizations to send aid more quickly in larger amounts.

Consider the key disadvantages of traditional $10 text to give for natural disasters:

Limited donation size: Text-to-give contributions are limited to $10. While people can donate up to three times a month, it’s more convenient for benefactors to make one larger gift using mobile pledging.

It takes longer for organizations to receive funds: Because gifts need to go through cellphone carriers, there is a longer process time. It can take up to four months for organizations to send aid.

Unsustainable donor database: Since carriers are the ones processing the donations, charities do not have access to any contact information for contributors, making it impossible to stay in touch in the future.

A lower percentage of donations collected: In the specific instance of the Haitian earthquake, only 59% of pledges were collected because of non-confirmation and restrictions.

In 2010, only 21% of Americans owned a smartphone. Currently, that portion stands at 74%. If this had been the case four years ago, aid organizations could have raised significantly higher donations.

American Red Cross donation screen on iphone

Advantages of Mobile Pledging

Mobile pledging (see above) is the winner when it comes to disaster relief fundraising.

Consider the key advantages of mobile pledging in a smartphone age:

Higher donation size: When people can choose their own total, they give more. The average is $107.

Quicker access to funds: Nonprofits don’t have to collaborate with cellphone carriers to send aid.

Access to donor info: Taking ownership of the process means charities can build their donor databases.

Higher fulfillment rates: 84% of mobile donations are collected, partially because you can remind contributors to complete their gifts via text message.


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