An interesting brief article on the text-giving: Five-Digit Giving (June 14, 2010) | Stanford Social Innovation Review. At least one survey found that one-in-eight households said it used text-giving to donate to some cause.
The cons of raising donations through text messaging:
“Nonprofit leaders also worry that mobile giving will result in less money raised. “There is a fear that people who give smaller amounts through texting will not give otherwise,” says Katrin Verclas, a MIT Media Lab fellow and cofounder of MobileActive.org. Indeed, the average online donation in 2009 was $92, reports Network for Good, whereas text donations are capped at $10. Verclas says the other possible downsides of mobile giving are the fees that nonprofits incur, the complexity of setting up a campaign, and the payment delays that nonprofits face. Donations take from 30 to 60 days to process, though in the case of Haiti, wireless carriers remitted millions of dollars to nonprofits well before donors paid their cell phone bills.”
One commentator on the article notes that mobile phone donation systems can be set up that allow users to opt to give larger amounts, not just a set amount. If so, that could help raise the amount given, by some donors, to the more traditional amounts one sees through mail solicitations.
“[The] pros of text giving are growing as the dollar amounts rise. At the top of the list is the discovery of a new generation of donors who want giving to be quick and easy. A week after the earthquake in Haiti, the Pew Research Center reported that 14 percent of American donors gave money by text. That group, according to early analyses, skewed young.”