Dear Nonprofiteer, Can you text me now?

Dear Nonprofiteer,

What do you think of the system where people donate to the Red Cross via text message on their cellphones?  Should my agency be schmoozing local phone companies for a text code of our very own?  Signed, Low-Tech But Catching Up

Dear Low-Tech,

"Local phone companies"?  What are they?

I think that it won’t take tech-savvy young people very long to figure out that it’s cheaper to make an actual phone call (5 cents, maybe?) and donate over the phone than to pay 15 cents for the privilege of donating $5.  It’s cheaper still–that would be, free–to go on the Red Cross Website and use their credit cards there.  Nor will they be any more impressed than I was by the phone industry’s argument that it can’t waive text fees for charity donations because a concerted effort to do so would violate the anti-trust laws.

But I also think that sending a $5 gift by text message is like Trick-or-Treating for UNICEF or collecting the tops of soda cans: it offers a slightly novel way of donating, and the novelty helps attract people for whom donating is a new thing.  And we can never have too many new donors. 

So concentrate your schmoozing on young people who might join your Board, and who then might come up with yet another slightly novel way of donating that would attract their age-mates to your cause.


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