In the wake of the Chilean earthquake, mobile donation groups like mGive and the Mobile Giving Foundation have swung into action, setting up new keywords and short codes for people to text $5 or $10 contributions toward disaster relief.
The well-publicized outpouring of text donations to aid humanitarian efforts in Haiti after the country's devastating earthquake in January suggests Chile should benefit from a flood of mobile micro giving as well. In the six weeks following the Haitian disaster, mGive alone said it processed $38 million in cell phone donations. Instead of HAITI to 90999, it's now CHILE to 50555. Simple stuff.
At the same time, you have to wonder if compassion fatigue may limit text donations this time around since the Chilean disaster follows so close on the heels of the Haitian crisis. The fact that Chile isn't as desperately poor as Haiti, and is more geographically remote (from the U.S. at least), are factors also likely to dampen the sense of urgency that helped fuel record mobile donations to the Caribbean nation.
Nor does Chile have its equivalent of Wyclef Jean in the U.S., to help enlist celebrities to promote awareness and drive charitable donations. But with more then 700 dead so far and 2 million people displaced, Chile has obviously been ravaged by the 8.8-magnitude earthquake and will need its share of humanitarian assistance.
Whether the convenience and small size of mobile donations is enough to overcome the fatigue factor might affect more traditional types of charitable giving is the question. In January, a group of mobile ad companies including Ringleader Digital, AdMob and Jumptap joined forces with mGive to run ads for free promoting text contributions to the Red Cross for Haitian relief.
Ringleader Digital CEO Bob Walczak said at the time the effort would allow the companies to get up to speed quicker to boost mobile donations for the next disaster. Well, here's your chance to prove it.