Text Messaging Featured Article

American Mobile Users Love Sending Charity Donations through Text Messaging: Pew Research Center

 
January 20, 2012



From being portable versions of telephones that enabled the users call their friends and family members even on the go, mobile phones have evolved into much more now. In the latest advancement, these devices have been allowing users to make charity donations from any location simply by sending text messages to certain numbers.


The Pew Internet & American Life Project, an initiative by the Pew (News - Alert) Research Center, a nonpartisan, nonprofit “fact tank” offering information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world, has announced in its latest report that a steadily growing number of Americans have been relying upon their mobile phone devices for making charitable donations through text messages. According to the study, around nine percent of American adults have been leveraging the mobile text messaging for offering these donations, as the amount for these donations is added into their upcoming mobile phone bills.

One of the seven projects by the organization, the initiative creates informative reports that analyze how usage of the Internet has been affecting families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care and civic and political life.

The study emphasizes that charities trying to raise money for noble causes might find it to be particularly important that the donors who offer their contribution through the text messages have been found to be much more diverse and spontaneous than the people who donate for charity through traditional channels.

“In contrast to other types of charitable contributions, which often involve some background research, or are directed towards organizations with which the donor has an existing relationship, mobile giving is often an ‘impulse purchase’ in response to a major event or call to action,” commented Aaron Smith, report author and senior research specialist at the Pew Internet & American Life Project. “These donations come from people who are ready to give if they are moved by what they see and hear.”

To carry out the study, Pew Research Center surveyed a large number of respondents who had made their donations for the victims of the massive earthquake of Haiti, which heavily affected the lives of the struggling country in January 2010. The donors had been asked to make their contributions of $10 each by sending the word “Haiti” as text message to a few dedicated numbers. Of all the people who made their donations through the text message, around 13 percent said they wanted to be contacted about their charitable giving. On behalf of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 863 randomly selected donors had been surveyed by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. It was found during the study that around 56 percent of the total respondents had donated to various other disaster recovery efforts as well after the Haiti quake, through text messaging. Some of these disasters are the 2010 Gulf oil spill, the March 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

In December 2011, the Pew Internet & American Life Project announced in a report that the majority of young adults use the Internet to pass time. The report found that 53 percent of 18 to 29 year-olds go online to simple do nothing. Meanwhile, only 12 percent over the age of 65 said they went online the previous day for no particular reason and 27 percent, between the ages of 50 and 64, responded the same as well.

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Arvind Arora is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Arvind's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves
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