by Maggie Probert
The estimates about giving for Haiti relief are amazing and incomplete. What we do know is that approximately $21 million has been raised in $10 increments through texting.
Cellular companies are using this outpouring to their own benefit by announcing how they will deliver the donations to the American Red Cross – all at once, in increments with a hold-back of 5% for uncollectible donations, etc. There’s even discussion about disputed charges on cell phone bills for customers who claim they did not make a donation. Putting aside the technology and systems questions, the real message here is about communication.
We saw the power of personal communications via technology in the 2008 presidential election. But what we are seeing in Haiti relief efforts takes personal communication technology to a whole new level. For those of us responsible for the messages delivered to the public—marketing, public relations and fundraising—direct one-on-one communication is the ultimate goal. It seems that we may now have the technology to enable us to “talk” directly to thousands of people with ease. An added benefit is that the new technology is instant and cost-effective. Most importantly, technology is bringing us closer together. That is a goal we can all embrace.