When a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, disaster relief teams from around the world descended on the country to lend a hand. Closer to home, a record number of people tried out a newfangled concept in donations, the text-to-give concept. The idea was to text a code to the number specified, and the money would be added to your next phone bill. Your cellular provider fronted the funds and collected them later.
And the method proved to be effective; just through the Red Cross text option, Americans donated more than $5 million dollars in the first 48 hours, with donations continuing to roll in at around $200,000 per hour after that. The total amount texted to Haiti’s relief efforts eventually reached $43 million, given largely by people who’d never texted a donation before. Later studies found that the majority of those who texted donations to the relief effort went on to text their donations to other causes as well.
That’s something that the developers of the nation’s first “giving kiosks,” found largely in churches, are hoping to maximize. Augusta, Georgia-based software company Secure Give has put these ATM-like kiosks in almost two thousand churches around the US in an effort to help religious organizations continue the faith-based initiatives they currently do, while reaching their congregations with a 21st century payment method.
While Secure Give’s four payment options–walk-up kiosk, online giving, mobile app, and text-to-give–are ideal for religious organizations since so many consumers no longer carry cash or checkbooks with them, they’re not the only ones who can benefit from this convenience concept. This year’s Giving Tuesday donations through a Secure Give payment method were triple what is usually given on any average day, and churches who use one or more of these methods are finding their December donations go up three hundred percent.
Is this tap-to-make-a-difference concept really the wave of the future for everyday activists? The organization behind Giving Tuesday might have to agree. Donations on this year’s one-day charitable event came in from 71 countries and raised a total of $116.7 million for various charities of the donors’ choosing. Of those donations, 22% were made via a mobile device.