Strong opinions, weakly held

Lowering the barriers to philanthropy

As cellphones become ever more entrenched as our indispensable interface to the networked world, this kind of smart-mob-philanthropy will only increase. It’s hard to imagine anything that takes less physical or mental effort than texting a five letter word to a five digit address. (HAITI to 90999). (Why, it just took me seven seconds to do it in between writing the last sentence and this one.) You’d have to be pretty lazy, or pretty flint-hearted, or pretty destitute not to do it. You don’t need Internet access, you don’t need a computer, you don’t need to tell your credit card number to anyone… you just need a cellphone.

Andrew Leonard on how “text to donate” lowers the friction of making a donation. I would love to see a graph that showed how much less likely people are to donate the longer they consider a request for a donation. Making it easy for people to give is the key to successful fund raising.


  1. When I donate to anyone, I usually get periodic spam from them forever after, either physical mail or email or both, either asking for more money for their organization or for another one they sold my name to. I appreciate the convenience of this new option, but I can only assume it would expose me to a lifetime of spam text messages.

  2. I don’t know where that link is supposed to go, but it appears to be a link to a Google reader feed of some sort that I’m not allowed to view…

  3. Regarding my earlier comment, privacy is a legitimate concern in general, but in this case redcrosschat.org says: “Donors using this technology may opt in to receive future updates, but will not be solicited again without this consent nor will their personal information be shared with other organizations.”

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