Americans can once again use text messaging on their cell phones to donate money to relief efforts for Chile which experienced a magnitude-8.8 earthquake early Saturday.
A similar program for Haiti, following a Jan. 12 earthquake there, has been enormously successful, with more than $41 million raised through text-messaging donations, said a spokeswoman for the Mobile Giving Foundation.
AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile, the nation's four largest wireless carriers, have again agreed to waive text-messaging fees for the donations, as they did for Haiti donations, according to the foundation.
By texting a keyword to a designated "short code" of five numbers (see below), a donation of $10 can be made. After texting the short code, hit "YES" to confirm the donation. The donation is added to the cell user's bill, and receipts are available.
So far, these programs are under way:
- Text the word "CHILE" to 25383 to donate $10 on behalf of the Habitat for Humanity
- Text the word "CHILE" to 20222 to donate $10 on behalf of World Vision
- Text the word "CHILE" to 52000 to donate $10 on behalf of the Salvation Army
- Text the word "CHILE" to 90999 to donate $10 on behalf of the American Red Cross.
Another organization, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, said it is using a different kind of mobile giving program, Mobile Cause's "Text2Donate." Donors can give any amount of money by texting "27138," then the word "CHILE" with a dollar amount after the word "CHILE" — for example, "CHILE 25" for a $25 donation.
Donors will then receive an automated call back from Mobile Cause to get a credit card number for the donation.
The Mobile Giving Foundation said within the first 36 hours after the Haiti quake, mobile donations surpassed $7 million to several relief organizations. The Bellevue, Wash.-based nonprofit group has worked with the country's four major wireless carriers to arrange for the text-message donation program.
Previous donating-via-text message efforts raised $400,000 after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and $200,000 after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami by all wireless customers in the U.S., said a spokesman for Verizon Wireless.
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