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Haiti Relief – Real Time Help

Marvin Owen January 28, 2010

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We have all been affected by the news about the devastation in Haiti.  The images of the destruction done by the earthquake are hard to comprehend.  It is heartwarming to hear the news of the help being offered to those affected by this tragedy.

On my ride home yesterday, I listened to a report about the amazing amount of money that has been donated to Haiti in a short period of time. According to this report, 518 million dollars has been donated in just 13 days.  This surpasses the amount of money donated after 9/11.  Enabling this rapid response is the technology now available.  Long gone are the days of firemen using buckets to collect donations.  Instead, aid-providing organizations collect donations using text messaging* and/or directing their supporters to Web sites where they can give online. It is these technologies that allow so much money to be collected in a short period of time.

At ACS, we are working to ensure our clients are able to use technology to support real-time giving.  With the simple step of adding a new contribution fund for Haiti, the online giving application is set for receiving donations.  Using Constant Contact, my church sent an email with a link to their online giving option only two days after the earthquake. Just a few years back, it would have required placing a notice in the bulletin for a special relief fund and waiting for a Sunday or two for the donations to start coming in. The NPR story reveals that people are moved to help when they see the images and hear the stories, and the ability to take immediate action leads to people making generous donations.  Our ability to provide the systems to help customers be ready for taking immediate action is in our ongoing development plans, as technology keeps moving ahead.

*The charity provides a shortcode and keyword. Then, wireless subscribers use this information to donate. Once a text message is sent, the subscriber is charged the amount of their donation on their wireless bill.

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