(Photo by nedrichards. Flickr, Creative Commons)
So here we are, several weeks after text donations crossed from cutting edge to common place. I've been interviewed more times than I can count on what matters about text giving, and the real experts on social media and social good (Beth Kanter, Katrin Verclas, Allison Fine, Holly Ross, Geoff Livingston) have written, been quoted, held panel discussions, and written handbooks on the subject.
After all this good discussion, I've come to think that the question should not be "to text or not" but "what matters about mobile?" From the point of view of nonprofits, mobile gives them the opportunity to add a new location. Essentially, every organization in the world just got the opportunity to expand their footprint to include their current location and every mobile phone.
It may be like winning the location lottery. An organization can be where they are now and also on every one's mobile phones.* That might be through a text short code. It might be through an App. It might be by being on FourSquare or other geolocation services. Maybe NPOs should start tagging their service delivery areas on Google Maps? The possibilities are many - far more than "just" a question of getting text donation enabled. Of course, like winning the lottery, organization now have to make choices they never had to worry about before.
Mobile matters. It matters as a news source and distribution channel. It matters as a payment system. It matters as a marketing platform. It matters as an organizing tool. Yes, I know the "to text donate or not question" is complicated in and of itself. Sadly, it is also too simple a question.
*(Noting that more and more nonprofits are being born on mobile phones - e.g., Ushahidi, The Extraordinaries)
Posted by Lucy Bernholz at 2/22/2010 04:13:00 PM