A Deluge of Donations via Text Messages

A push by celebrities, athletes and the first lady encouraging text-message donations for earthquake relief in Haiti has contributed to a fund-raising bonanza for the American Red Cross, which a little over a year ago turned to Congress for a bailout.

As of late Sunday, the organization had collected pledges of $103 million, about $22 million of which came through the text-messaging program. The National Football League's promotion of text-message donations during its weekend playoff games produced stunning results, with money "coming in at the rate of $500,000 an hour," said Roger Lowe, a Red Cross spokesman. "I need a better word than 'unprecedented' or 'amazing' to describe what's happened with the text-message program," Mr. Lowe said. The Red Cross is the biggest relief organization with a system in place to receive such donations, which are sent by cellphone to 90999 and billed at $10 each to the cellphone account. The total raised, a small portion of which will be shared with other members of the Red Cross federation, puts the organization well ahead of other relief groups in fund-raising for operations in Haiti.

A Deluge of Donations via Text Messages U.S. cellphone users donate $22 million to Haiti earthquake relief via text (WashPost)