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SMS second to Web in charitable donations: Study

April 7, 2010

haiti-1Text messaging has become the second most common way that consumers donate to charities next to online giving.

According to a new study conducted by Luth Research for the Mobile Marketing Association, of the 33 percent of U.S. mobile phone owners who donated to Haitian relief efforts, one-third used a PC and Web site and 22 percent used SMS. In other words, one out of five mobile phone donors donated to Haiti relief efforts using SMS.

“As consumers continually develop use of the mobile channel, including the mobile Internet, we’ll see more of an uptake in mobile donations,” said Michael Becker, North America managing director for the MMA.

“We will also see increased use in stimulating conversations, volunteerism and enabling other activities that support charities as much, or if not more, than financial donations,” he said.

“Mobility can be the centerpiece that ties charities together with brands’ media strategies because mobile is effectively the glue that connects and combines interactivity.”

This research of mobile marketing behavior and opinions was highlighted in the latest Mobile Consumer Briefing, which is a monthly survey of adult consumers nationwide.

Luth surveyed a demographically representative sample of more than 1,000 adult consumers for this effort.

Per the findings, 23 percent of the respondents claimed they were very likely or somewhat likely to donate via SMS in the future.

In another finding, African Americans and Hispanics were found to be the largest demographic groups using SMS for donations.

Also, men contributed via SMS at nearly twice the rate of women.

haiti-2Safe text
As reported in this publication, consumers donated more than $35 million via text toward Haiti relief efforts. Of course, all the designated charities followed SMS best practice.

“All mobile marketing programs must be pre-approved, pre-opted programs to meet the highest available standards,” said Peter A. Johnson, vice president of market intelligence at the MMA, New York.

“The more [consumers] see their favorite charities are doing this, the more they will use SMS as a means of donating,” he said.

Mobile marketers can ensure safe mobile giving transactions through the current approved practices set by the Mobile Giving Foundation in partnership with wireless carriers.

“We encourage everyone to pay attention to the standards coming out of the MMA, in association with the Mobile Giving Foundation, mGive and other related players in the mobile marketing ecosystem who are setting the standards and best practices for mobile giving,” Mr. Becker said.

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