The Internet population is always on the top list of those reacting to a disaster. Sitting behind the safety of their computer screens, flustering the Internet world by tweeting, blogging, and digging in for news, and trying to take in the magnitude of the disaster. They also often try to organize digital relief campaigns and take action, complete with “Donate” buttons and “Send SMS Now”.
Having noticed this, charities are trying to utilize the social aspect of the Web, as we know it today, and get creative with their fund raising strategies. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are often used for creating a larger donor base and reaching a new, younger audience base. Recently, a non-profit working to provide safe drinking water to Third World countries raised more than a quarter million dollars using Twitter alone.
Live Example: The Internet Society for Haiti
Following the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti this Tuesday, the Internet population was looking online for ways to help. Many global relief efforts immediately started popping up on the various social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Facebook spokesman Larry Yu said that since the quake, there had been over 1,500 status updates a minute containing the word “Haiti.” The Facebook application Causes posted a video of the destruction in Haiti. On Twitter, one of the most prominent campaigns to gather donations is from the American Red Cross, which is actively encouraging people on Twitter to test “HAITI” to donate $10. A day later, this initiative raised over two million dollars for Haiti. The Huffington Post, CNN, and The New York Times are curating special lists to track events related to the disaster.
The Internet is indeed a fantastic “tool” to help others in need. We will leave you with this video that explains the magnitude of help that the Internet is providing for the Haiti disaster, beyond donating money:
Have you ever donated online? Do you think that online charities are actually successful? Or is it just a few charities with cover stars?
For more places to give online, the San Francisco Chronicle has created a list of legitimate organizations seeking donations.