US Uses Text-Messages to Raise Funds for Pakistan

For the first time, the United States government is using text messaging to reach out to potential donors in an effort to raise money for refugees in Pakistan.

The text campaign was announced late last month. People are able to give $5 dollar to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. According to a State Department spokesman, the campaign has raised $31,390 via 5,722 received text messages.

This is a relatively small amount of the $135,008 in private donations raised in the United States for Pakistani refugees. Still, it represents a fundraising milestone.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared to have high expectations for the campaign. When it was announced, she said, "Just think, if a million people in the United States gave $5, that would be $5 million."

While the amount raised was significantly less, State is picking up on a growing trend. As texting becomes an everyday form of communication, an increasing number of private groups are using it to raise funds.

For instance, Keep a Child Alive, a nonprofit based in New York dedicated to providing treatment to children with HIV/AIDS, accepts donations via text message. The Mobile Giving Foundation provides tools for nonprofits that want to raise money using mobile technology.

About the author

  • David Francis

    David is a Washington-based journalist and former Devex staffer who spearheaded Devex's "Obama's Foreign Aid Reform" blog. He has written for the Christian Science Monitor, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, SportsIllustrated.com, San Francisco Chronicle, Foreign Policy magazine, and the Washington Monthly. David holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and a graduate degree from Georgetown University.