With the widespread adoption of social media in the non-profit sector, people’s ability to act and support communities in need like Haiti has only been increased. There’s no greater example of this than the incredible fundraising job the American Red Cross did with social and mobile channels. With its texting campaign, the American Red Cross raised more than $20 million.
“The speed and quantity with which the American public retweeted and posted to Facebook the need for donations to help with relief efforts in Haiti was (for anything we’ve seen at the Red Cross) unprecedented,” said Wendy Harman, the social media manager at the American Red Cross. “This was the first time I truly felt like people were using these tools to take action for good. They actually texted “Haiti” to 90999, more than 2 million people did it… the impact was huge — that money is right now providing people with basic needs like water. I have no doubt it wouldn’t have spread so widely without social media.”
Overall, Americans raised more than $200 million to benefit Haiti, roughly the equivalent of what was donated to Thailand after the tsunami in 2004, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Given the population’s general migration to social media, giving has simply moved with it. But is there more to learn? Here are five early social media lessons from the Haiti Earthquake relief effort.