If you haven’t see or heard this message yet, you’re probably living under a rock somewhere. The New York Times reports that the Red Cross has collected over $5 million dollars this way so far for the relief effort in Haiti. Here in Austin, Mobile Loaves and Fishes did something similar a few weeks ago when there was extreme cold by raising money for blankets to help the city’s homeless.
Campaigns like these are seeing a lot of success because it helps people connect their donations to a specific cause. And they’re easy. Overcoming some of the barriers that traditionally plague non-profits for fundraising such as filling out credit card information online (since that is really difficult), and making it something people can do while watching TV is leading to great results. Having a direct connection to a specific cause also helps people feel more involved with the cause. Instead of thinking “I just gave $10 to help the Red Cross,” they’re thinking “I just gave $10 to help the people of Haiti.”
Those types of connections matter. People usually only give to abstract causes when they’re trying to get a tax write-off. Being able to engage people in what you do, even in a small way, can help them feel involved.