In case you missed it, the USA Red Cross raised $20 million through text messaging (SMS) in response to the Haiti earthquake.
Being raised with a Mennonite background, I’m familiar with the concept of “passing the hat“. If a community member is in need, a physical hat is passed around a gathering of people and community members contribute as each one is able. Rather than relying on insurance, the community relies on the tried and tested method of passing the hat.
What we witnessed in response to this past week’s Haiti earthquake was a digital sort of passing the hat, also known as microgiving. Ten bucks at a time the Red Cross raised $20 million dollars in a week. Note – the marginal cost of fundraising was probably approaching zero. It doesn’t take a lot of work (or coordination) to pass the hat.
For Christmas, my friend Sarah asked for donations to provide clean water. I can see directly how many people my donation impacts. The organization even says they’ll send me photos and updates as ‘my’ well is dug.
For our organization I could see students that participate in conferences or missions trips have a small website they direct people to who can sponsor them and interact with them over their trip or conference experience. You could easily promote this sort of thing on social media.
Smells like an opportunity!