Americans are giving an unprecedented amount of money toward Haitian earthquake relief efforts via SMS. As of this afternoon, more than $5 million has been donated via text messaging, according to Verizon Wireless .
Verizon says that within two days Americans have donated more money to the American Red Cross's relief efforts than all U.S. SMS donations in 2009.
These types of donations work when a cellular subscriber sends a text message to a specific SMS number. In the U.S., $10 is donated to the Red Cross when an SMS is transmitted to 90999, and the amount is added to the subscriber's monthly bill.
The Red Cross has posted a map showing the amounts by state.
More than $1 million has been donated by Verizon customers, and all the top cellular operators are participating, including AT&T Mobility LLC , T-Mobile USA , and Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S), which posted a tweet about SMS donations.
Many other organizations are accepting SMS donations for Haiti, including the Yele Haiti Foundation, which was established by Haitian musician Neluset Wyclef Jean. A donation of $5 can be made by texting "Yele" to 501501.
Even the White House's Blog promoted SMS donations to the Red Cross.
Of course, there are many ways to donate and provide other assistance via the wired Internet, as Rob Salkowitz writes.
I'd like to see more charitable organizations promote cellular-based donations as well as taking advantage of cellular for distributing information. Perhaps the Haitian disaster will help some of the laggards realize the value of cellular.
If you want to donate, be careful of scams!
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