A serious look at the emergence of mobile giving: Berkman Center to Launch First Detailed Study of Mobile Giving

Article published on Jan. 19, 2011
community published
Article published on Jan. 19, 2011
Do you wanna know how mobile donors differ from general donors? The potential of mobile giving, which helped raise more than $41 million for Haiti disaster relief, has important implications for non-profit organizations as well as political and social engagement online.

All this will be examined with a new study by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, along with the mGive Foundation and the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

The study is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The Berkman Center will use the Haiti case to examine the impact of new digital tools on charitable giving.

The detailed study, the first of its kind, will survey people who donated to the campaigns to determine how mobile donors differ from general donors. The results will help charitable organizations design more effective mobile giving campaigns in the future.

“We’ve had a year since the devastating earthquake in Haiti to witness first-hand the power of mobile giving,” said Jenifer Snyder, executive director of The mGive Foundation. “Now it’s time to analyze the data that’s been collected and determine how we can harness this tool for future campaigns.”

“We at the Berkman Center are delighted to have the opportunity to take a serious look at the emergence of mobile giving,” said Dr. Urs Gasser, Executive Director of the Berkman Center.“This has important implications for non-profit organizations as well as political and social engagement online.”

“Ultimately, the study will help nonprofits use social media tools more effectively - and help them engage new supporters,” said Amy Starlight Lawrence, Knight Foundation’s Journalism Program Associate.

The Berkman Center will survey donors to the Haiti mobile giving campaigns to compare their giving habits with the general population. The project will also explore how the campaigns spread within social media. The results from this part of the research will be compared against records from the campaigns to assess the relationship between donations and social media activity.