In an age where you can do everything from your smart phone from paying your bills to making dinner reservations, it’s only natural that disaster relief efforts have gone mobile. Fundraising campaigns have worked well in the past, but are text campaigns really helping the situation in Japan after the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami? Not as much as you might think.
After the Haitian earthquake, the American Red Cross got $5 million in text donations within two days, and at some points, the money was coming in at a rate of $200,000 an hour. On the flip side, they’ve only collected a little over $1 million for Japan in the first five days. So what’s really going on? Daniel Borochoff is the president of the American Philanthropy Institute. He says that donations are lagging to Japan because the country is financially well-off, and wealthy countries are less attractive as a target for aid. That's because they’re prepared for disasters and are able to help themselves. That’s one reason Doctors Without Borders decided not to allocate any of their funds towards Japanese relief.
Also, there are drawbacks to text donations. You don’t have a choice as to how much you can donate. So, even though millions of people are donating to both the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army via texts, they can only give $10 each. Meanwhile, the average online donation to the Salvation Army is $170. Still, several organizations are accepting text donations for the Japanese relief effort. In addition to the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army, there’s Convoy of Hope, Global Giving, and Mercy Corps.