Tuesday, February 2, 2010

35 million reasons to consider mobile giving in your fundraising future

By now everyone has seen the text "Haiti" to 90999 to give $10 ads. A lot of us have responded. A heckuva lot of us. Over 3.5 million if my math is correct.

The Miami Herald reports on 2/2/10:

"As of Monday, $35 million had been donated by text message to a variety of organizations working to improve conditions in Haiti."

This is powerful leveraging of the ubiquitous cellphone. It's hard think of any faster, easier way for an individual to donate a small amount of money. The $10 ask is so small that it isn't a second thought. Painless. No forms to fill out. You can even donate from you car (stop it first).

I'm betting this puts 90999 and MGive.com on the radar screens of many nonprofits. There are other companies that provide similar services. MGive has the American Red Cross account, among others.

The article continues:
"Following the Jan. 12 earthquake, more than two dozen short codes were created to allow cellphone users to donate $5 or $10 to an organization and pay for the contribution on their cellphone bill.Most of those donations -- more than $24 million -- were made to the American Red Cross."

But there are things to watch out for. Service fees and commissions for one, delays in payment for another:
"Under normal circumstances, it could take as long as 90 days for the beneficiaries to receive the contributions because cellphone companies usually wait until they collect donations from customers via their bills before passing the money along." In this instance, many cellphone providers have advanced the funds.

I wouldn't suggest that mobile giving is all you need to do.Micro-pledges can add up to big numbers that can augment your other development efforts. Is there a text 90999 in your organization's future?

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Blogger to discontinue FTP support on 3/26

If you use FTP to update your Blogger blog on your own domain (as I do) you'll want to read this:

Dear FTP user:

You are receiving this e-mail because one or more of your blogs at Blogger.com are set up to publish via FTP. We recently announced a planned shut-down of FTP support on Blogger Buzz (the official Blogger blog), and wanted to make sure you saw the announcement. We will be following up with more information via e-mail in the weeks ahead, and regularly updating a blog dedicated to this service shut-down here: http://blogger-ftp.blogspot.com/.

The full text of the announcement at Blogger Buzz follows.
Last May, we discussed a number of challenges facing[1] Blogger users who relied on FTP to publish their blogs. FTP remains a significant drain on our ability to improve Blogger: only .5% of active blogs are published via FTP — yet the percentage of our engineering resources devoted to supporting FTP vastly exceeds that. On top of this, critical infrastructure that our FTP support relies on at Google will soon become unavailable, which would require that we completely rewrite the code that handles our FTP processing.

Three years ago we launched Custom Domains[2] to give users the simplicity of Blogger, the scalability of Google hosting, and the flexibility of hosting your blog at your own URL. Last year's post discussed the advantages of custom domains over FTP[3] and addressed a number of reasons users have continued to use FTP publishing. (If you're interested in reading more about Custom Domains, our Help Center has a good overview[4] of how to use them on your blog.) In evaluating the investment needed to continue supporting FTP, we have decided that we could not justify diverting further engineering resources away from building new features for all users.

For that reason, we are announcing today that we will no longer support FTP publishing in Blogger after March 26, 2010. We realize that this will not necessarily be welcome news for some users, and we are committed to making the transition as seamless as possible. To that end:

We are building a migration tool that will walk users through a migration from their current URL to a Blogger-managed URL (either a Custom Domain or a Blogspot URL) that will be available to all users the week of February 22. This tool will handle redirecting traffic from the old URL to the new URL, and will handle the vast majority of situations.
We will be providing a dedicated blog[5] and help documentation
Blogger team members will also be available to answer questions on the forum, comments on the blog, and in a few scheduled conference calls once the tool is released.