Entries in non-profits (2)


Mgive lets you text money immediately to your favorite non-profit

Next time you're considering paying a text message fee to vote for your So You Think You Can Dance?  favorite, why not instead text a few dollars to your favorite non-profit?

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

P2P lending as a new trend in philanthropy

The Boston Herald today cites peer-to-peer lending as a modernizing force in the ancient practice of charity. At a time when the need for non-profit services is higher than ever, direct financial exchange between individuals is emerging as a critical way to connect the haves and have nots. The article explains:

"The Internet has also spurred on peer-to-peer exchange, a movement that has changed the way people think about charity. Many donors – particularly in younger and more progressive demographics like the Boston area – want to feel connected to the people to whom they’re giving, want to understand the specific need and how their gift will impact the recipient.

Sites such as GlobalGiving, DonorsChoose and Kiva allow donors to select a charitable project by topic (children, animals, climate change), geographic region (Bosnia, Zimbabwe, Guatemala), or specific project (classroom supplies, skills training, vaccines). This customized giving has made it possible to help others in ways not imagined just a few years ago."

Research suggests that people give to charity because they want to give back and to feel connected. Internet P2P venues offer an incredibly easy way to make those connections and to make a difference through sums as small as $25 loaned to a entrepreneur through Kiva to as large as you want to provide to help public schools through DonorsChoose. As the article states, charity is also big business --Giving USA puts the 2007 total at over $300 billion-- suggesting that p2p lending platforms have plenty of space to grow.

Flickr Credit: Benevolink