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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Text to Donate

It was just past 11am when I opened my eyes; the sunlight entering my room was subdued but still much too bright for a Saturday morning. I turned over, slipped out my arm from under the covers, and reached for my phone. I tend to check my phone first thing in the morning for any early morning text messages from my older brother who rarely sleeps in. This past Saturday I also decided to check my Facebook account on my phone as I remained in the comfort of my bed. I was not prepared to be bombarded with status after status on my mini feed mentioning something about an earthquake in Chile and the tsunami warnings for Hawaii and the Pacific. One of the statuses caught my attention for mentioning the Mayans and their predictions about the year 2012, crediting them with foreseeing the current events happening on our planet.

My anecdote is yet another example of something we have all known for a while; new media is impacting the way we receive and share news. In addition, some are using texting and the Internet to contribute to the countries affected by the latest natural disasters.

The Austin Business Journal discusses a study carried out by Austin-based Convio Inc., Edge Research Inc. and Sea Change Strategies:
The study released today analyzes mobile donation trends and adoption rates across Gen Y, Gen X, Baby Boomers and Mature generations. The three companies surveyed about 1,500 people between Jan. 20-28, just after a massive earthquake ripped through parts of Haiti. Mobile technology presents a huge opportunity for nonprofits that want to reach specific groups of people (likely to be younger). The messages are easy to share across social networks, expanding the potential donor base, and because the donations are small and billable to the wireless provider, it allows people to support a cause they might not have the means to support otherwise.

I recall a friend telling me he donated to the Red Cross via text message after the earthquake in Haiti. Like the article mentions, my friend and many others learned of the opportunity to donate via Facebook postings. In this way, Facebook served as a tool to inform college students of an alternative way to donate even if they are pressed for time or have limited funds.

I also came across the story of Greg McQueen. McQueen is the originator of the “100 Stories for Haiti” book project. McQueen posted a video on his Twitter page calling for authors around the globe to contribute stories of 1,000 words or less for an anthology to benefit Haiti. It has been a little over six weeks since the project was started and the book is available for purchase in both eBook and print book formats. The reader can choose how much they pay for the eBook, they can get the book for free or pay as much as they want. Proceeds from the purchase, except the credit card fee, go to the Red Cross disaster relief. The print version is available from Bridge House Publishing.

Media played a significant role in the overwhelming humanitarian response that benefited the Haiti cause; however, intensive media coverage of the disaster in Haiti resulted in an audience exhausted from following international incidents. This information overload results in psychological numbing and lack of action. Now, coverage of the disaster in Chile is a minimal percentage compared to coverage of Haiti. Both are very tragic events; if you donated to the situation in Haiti please consider donating to Chile as well.

Learn more about the “100 Stories for Haiti” book project at the official blog:
You can also text HAITI to 90999 to give $10 to the American Red Cross.

You can text your support for Chile through one of various organizations:
• Text CHILE to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross
• Text CHILE to 23583 to donate $10 to Habitat for Humanity
• Text CHILE to 20222 to donate $10 to World Vision
• Text CHILE to 50555 to donate $10 to the Friends of World Food Program

-Yvette Olguin


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