Financial Inclusion

Giving Goes Mobile

Deck the halls, light the menorah, prepare the feast of karamu, shop 'til you drop, then ring in the new year. Wait, something is missing.

That’s right, donate to charity, then countdown to 2015.

In the past, the season of kindness and giving was also the season of philanthropic procrastinating as many would  literally wait until the clock ran out on December 31st to support the causes close to our hearts (and helpful in getting that tax deduction).

Mobile is changing the landscape however, and slowly but surely pushing the generous procrastinator to giving both early and often. The phones in our collective consumer pockets and pocketbooks are also mobile giving units, with the chance to change how and who we choose to make the holidays bright for.

1. Mobile Is Changing How People Give

From Kickstarter, to email blasts, to text to donate--the phone is the new frontier of giving, and it’s delivering real results.  Mobile donations are up 71 percent from five years ago, and 15 percent (so far) when compared to previous holiday seasons.

Moreover, while mobile users don’t tend to give more during the holiday, they are far more prone to spread the wealth-- mobile philanthropists donate during Christmas to an average of 8 charitable groups, as opposed to the 3 that those who tend to stick with the more conventional methods do.

Mobile donors also tend to give more consistently throughout the holiday season - though who donate through more traditional means during the most wonderful time of the year tend to heavily weight those donations toward the last three weeks of December, generally because their donations are coming in the form of a few written paper checks.  Mobile givers on the other hand - tend to begin their giving around during the first week of officially holiday shopping (with Giving Tuesday showing a spike) such that they actually tend to level off by the last two weeks of the season.

2. Mobile Is Changing Who Gives (By Making Giving Social)

Did you take the ice bucket challenge this year?

It raised millions for ALS research on a very simple principle--native generosity does not always lead to giving, but peer pressure sure does.  From the very famous

To the very rich

To The very innovative

To almost everyone everywhere, the ice bucket challenge was a chance to give money to charity while literally looking cool.
That said, it’s undeniable that the challenge worked.  ALS research is estimated to have raised $100 million because people the world over dumped ice water on their heads.
And it has motivated other challenges.  There is the “Lather” challenge which dumps soapy water on participants that’s supposed to act as a reminder about how to stop spreading Ebola, The “Rice Bucket” which does exactly like what it sounds like it does, to raise awareness about world hunger and the “Rubble Bucket” challenge that journalist Ayman al Aloul used to seek support for Gaza and Palestinians by dumping a bucket of rubble from destroyed buildings over his head."It came to my mind that it's good idea to show the whole picture — how Gaza looks now, rubble, destruction, cement with sand, small rocks," al Aloul told NBC News.
3. Who’s Getting In On The Act
In lieu of Black Friday savings in Europe, Apple Pay pushed Apple Red - a campaign to give to AIDS research.  Dell is looking to  match $25,000 in donations to Girl Up, I Am That Girl and the Tory Burch Foundation onCrowdRise. Facebook is on it’s 7th year of holiday treasure chest campaign.
Companies are eager for consumers dollars, but increasingly willing to speak to the better angels of human nature to get them.
And those better angels include the $34 million in matched corporate funds which went to charities during the holidays last year, representing  an 18 percent increase from the year before.  That number is project to be up around 20 percent to 41 million in 2014.
So looking to give this holiday season?  As it turns out, giving is just a click away on your mobile phone.

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