Yesterday during the 2009 BET Awards Show, Keep a Child Alive raised over $130,000 through the mGive- Mobile Donation Program. During Alicia Keys’ performance, more than 26,000+ mobile donors texted their $5 donations. Keys co-founded Keep a Child, a non-profit organization that provides health care and housing to children with HIV/AIDS in Africa and India.
The model is brilliant. Keys had a captive audience during her performance when she gave a shoutout to her non-profit, but even if viewers were convinced by the cause, how many of them would have then gone home or logged in online to make a donation? Probably not too many. But by suggesting that the audience members text a 5 digit number right that moment ("text ALIVE to 90999") Keys can get 26,000 people to participate.
Building upon the mobile banking model pioneered in Africa, the mGive platform enables donations without cash or credit card. The $5 donation will be added to donors' next mobile phone bill. Amazingly, donors can even visit mgive.com and download a receipt of their tax deductible donations. The application of cell phone technology in new ways plus the recognition of the power of micro-participation may prove to breathe new life into non-profit fundraising. Participating charities include:
- American Heart Association (text HEART to 90999)
- Amnesty International (text RIGHTS to 90999)
- Doctors without Borders (text DOB to 90999)
- Make a Wish Foundation (text WISH to 90999)
- Many more... See the full list here