The Red Cross proves online fundraising CAN work.

21Jan10

So I’m sure by now most have heard of the MASS amount of money the Red Cross has raised for the relief efforts in Haiti.

If you haven’t… Please text “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross’ relief efforts.

They have proved that fundraising can work in social media, but they’ve also proved something that I’ve thought for awhile about social media fundraising…

1. Acts of devastation get people to act.

Think about how many people gave time, money & effort to the Katrina relief efforts or after 9/11. As a nation we rally in times of crisis and it sparks us to act. Acts of devastation also have an immediacy to them, most general donation campaigns do not, hence why it is harder to get people to act.

2. You’ve got to make it super easy.

I’m curious to see if they will ever have donor demographics for this text program, I’m also wondering how many teens saw it in the corner of their screen while watching MTV or VH1 and added $10 on to their cellphone bills paid for by the ‘rents. No matter how it breaks down, the Red Cross was able to leverage the wide spread use and ease of text messaging into a donation program that worked for the donor.

3. There has to be a personal connection.

I’ve done some minor Facebook fundraising for a theatre group I used to work with and I find the more personal it is, the more likely someone is to act. Now this may seem in contradiction to this point, but there was something very profound my playwrighting teacher taught me… You’ve got to make it specific to make it universal. The devastation was captured by social media, pictures of the destruction spread via Facebook and Twitter. We all were able to see the aftermath immediately which allowed it to be specific and universal. Also if you haven’t seen this video yet, grab the tissues.

These are just my personal observations. Why do you think the Red Cross has been so successful?

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