Cell phones -- something Americans carry around all the time -- have now become one of the biggest tools for helping the victims of Haiti.
Through text messaging campaigns, organizations have been receiving donations of $5 or $10 by the simple click of a button. The American Red Cross is one of the leading organizations to tap into the technology, and to date has raised more than $24 million for the people of Haiti from text messages alone.
“This is history, historical, record-breaking results,” said Roger Lowe, of the American Red Cross. “We’ve never seen anything like it. The previous best effort for a text message campaign in the U.S. was at half a million dollars. So this is shattering every record that’s ever been seen.”
Here’s how it works. To donate $10 to the American Red Cross, text "HAITI" to "90999". You’ll then receive a message asking you to confirm the donation. Text "Yes" and you’re all set.
AT&T said its customers have pledged more than $9 million so far, and the company is doing its part to make the process even easier.
“We’ve gone ahead and waived the fees for the text messages and we’ve gone ahead and advanced those funds,” said AT&T spokesperson Beth Gautier.
The American Red cross is getting the word out through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, and people out on the street understand why texting donations has become so popular.
“[Texting is] easy,” said Layla Seale. “People do it every single day. They don’t have to go to a special site. I think we’re a society of convenience, and that’s the most convenient way to help people."
But there are still skeptics who aren't sold on the safety of text messaging.
So the American Red Cross is giving that assurance.
“If you text your donation to the American Red Cross, we’ll get them to support the victims and survivors of this disaster,” said Lowe.