In the not-so-distant past, if you wanted to donate to a charity organization, you wrote a check or volunteered your services or time. It usually involved talking to an actual person and having some kind of meaningful interaction.
These days, with the supernova-like explosive power of social media, we can all donate at the press of a button. The latest campaigns to raise money for disaster relief for the Red Cross involved sending a text via cellphone. However, you can also donate through their website. Calling and sending checks are also appreciated, but some day – in the not-so-distant future – I foresee checks disappearing altogether. There will probably be no need for that waste of paper. Someday, everything will be electronically processed.
However, it’s not just the way we are paying that has changed. The way we are being communicated with has also changed with new generations growing up on social media sites. You would be hard-pressed to find a high school student without a Facebook, Twitter and Instagram account. Students are reaching out to one another and being contacted via these, and other, forms of social media.
The budget for an ad campaign used to be divided amongst print, TV and possibly radio. However, those are all pretty expensive. The beauty of the burgeoning web ad is that it can be completely free. Of course, you can buy ad space on the web, but I’m talking about a social media campaign that reaches out to followers from your own website or social media page.
So, back to how this changes charity. It brings down costs for organizations, like the Red Cross, which leaves more money to get to the actual cause. It also allows people to donate more quickly and easily. The easiest way is probably to just send a text message.
One ad campaign urged people to text “help” to an aid organization. Bang! You just donated ten dollars. Cool!
Because these campaigns are also targeting younger people, they are not asking for hundreds or thousands of dollars. How many students do you know with money to burn? Not many. Yet, most of them do want to help. So, asking for ten dollars is reasonable. Ten dollars from a hundred different students adds up to $1,000. Not too shabby.