People everywhere have rushed to provide aid for victims of Super Storm Sandy using mobile systems. The reply has been overwhelming, as this has become the largest text-to-give campaign surge in history.
The Red Cross has a short code for its text donation campaigns, Search 90999. They also have a Twitter account setup for donations toward the Sandy victims, #Sandy, and both have seen a phenomenal amount of activity. Tweeters are coming from all walks of life: from business professionals to homemakers to students.
The executive director of mGive Foundation, Jennifer Snyder, commented that there had been a remarkable change since their 2009 Haiti campaign. Back then, they received 20,000 voicemails from “leery donors” who want to “ensure” that text giving was “legitimate”. During Haiti, many mobile users simply re-tweeted the messages from the Red Cross.
What a difference a few years can make; “Today, no leery calls, there is just confidence in mobile donations. Everyone knows mGive helped make the mobile philanthropy channel secure. Text contributions are so accepted, donors aren't hesitant. They're making their own emotional appeals, complete with customized graphics."
Many victims of Super Storm Sandy used social media to show the impact and devastation that the storm had on people and tweeted many compelling photos in order to help raise funds for the Red Cross to be given to victims. Several retailers took to social media to help raise funds by offering enticements for people to donate to the Red Cross. These consisted of anything from percentage off of items or services, such as two-for-one offers or free appetizers or drinks.
Mobile service provider Verizon asked its users to text in donations to the Red Cross, matching each donation made, up to one million dollars. Thus far, Verizon, its employees, and its customers have raised more than 5.9 million dollars to be used toward helping the victims of Super Storm Sandy. "The Sandy campaign shows that texting isn't just prevalent, but a means to change the world, one message at a time,” says Snyder.