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MGive orchestrates text-donation initiative for Pakistan flood reliefBy
Mobile donations service mGive is helping charitable organizations raise money to fund relief efforts in the wake of devastating floods in Pakistan.
Fourteen million people have been adversely affected by the disaster, which the United Nations has called the worst in Pakistan in more than a century. MGive has teamed with a number of relief organizations to raise money via mobile donations to help rebuild affected regions and aid the millions of refugees in need.
“The tragedy in Pakistan has ended thousands of lives and displaced millions of people,” said James Eberhard, founder and chariman of Mobile Accord, Denver, CO. “This is why we created the mGive channel – to empower millions of people to make an impact within seconds from across the globe.”
MGive first gained national attention for its use of SMS technology to raise $33 million with the American Red Cross for relief efforts following the devastating earthquake in Haiti early this year, including $1 million in a single day (see story).
The text-to-donate service recently extended its partnership with the Red Cross (see story).
Following the first news of trouble in Pakistan last month, the United States government enlisted mGive’s help.
“We got a call from the State Department, very similar to what happened with Haiti,” Mr. Eberhard said. “We quickly reached out the UNHCR [The United Nations’ refugee agency] to get a campaign out right away dedicated to the Pakistan flood relief program.”
MGive also partnered with several other charitable organizations for the cause.
The campaign lets mobile users choose from several charities and relief programs partnered with mGive by texting different keywords to one of two short codes.
The different components of the campaign include:
• Text the keyword CAI to the short code 50555 to donate $10 to the Central Asia Institute, which focuses on education in Pakistan and Afghanistan
• Text PAKISTAN to 50555 to donate $5 to CHF International, which provides shelter for those displaced by the floods and focuses on the rebuilding efforts
• Text RELIEF to 27722 to donate $10 to the Islamic Society of North America, which focuses on the betterment of the Muslim community
• Text SWAT to 50555 to give $10 to UNHCR, which sends emergency response teams to orchestrate relief efforts
• Text AID to 27722 to give $10 the the World Food Programme USA, which transports food to flood victims in isolated communities
• Text RESCUE to 50555 to give $10 to World Emergency Relief which responds to natural and man-made disasters worldwide
• Text ZAKATUS to 50555 to donate $10 to the Zakat Foundation of America, which is providing food and clothing for flood survivors
Mobile Accord said that it wanted to give mobile users several different options for giving.
“Different people have different affinities for different organizations,” Mr. Eberhard said. “We’re giving the mechanism to let people see what’ happening and do something to help.”
The partner organizations are getting the word out through a variety of channels, including their individual Web sites and a variety of media outlets.
Government agencies are also working to disseminate the calls to action.
Mobile users looking to donate to Pakistan relief efforts – or any other charitable causes – can also use mGive’s new TextApp mobile giving application.
TextApp, which Mobile Accord created in partnership with Shorthand Mobile, San Diego, was specifically designed so that mobile users without data plans could research and choose charities to support entirely through SMS.
Mobile users can download the application at http://www.mgive.com/apps by selecting their phone model and inputting their mobile hone number.
The application lets users sort through a simple graphical interface to find desired charities and donate $5 or $10 dollars via SMS.
“No matter what the person, what kind of phone, message or medium, we’re focused on finding easy ways for people to give and give back,” Mr. Eberhard said. “Our plan is to enable anybody with the richest experience.
“If you don’t have a data plan, this is the next step forward for you,” he said.
Peter Finocchiaro, editorial assistant at Mobile Marketer, New York
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