February 16, 2010

Donations for Haiti reached new records worldwide

On the Martin Luther King the First family in full “membership” – Barak and Michelle Obama with the daughters – took part in the charitable event, feeding the homeless of Washington, DC. However, on that day that was not all on the minds of the White House and the rest of the world’s population – almost a week since the devastating earthquake in Haiti, people around the world have been helping the victims.

Accoding to Chronicle of Philanthropy, in the first few days of the donations, $150 million has been collected for the victims of Haiti, which is a record amount of donation, considering that for the victims of Hurricane Katrina (in 2005) and tsunami in Asia (in 2004) – a sum much less has been collected, or - four times less for the tsunami victims and by $42 less for New Orleans.

Seems as if everyone is helping, solo or in the cooperation of the prominent non-profit groups, such as UNICEF and Red Cross, and some just transfer money online, the “method of donation” that has become quite popular nowadays.

Thousands of Internet users log to the social networks sites (some of the celebrities using their star power to distribute videos online as well), which they use not only to donate money, but to attract more members/donators, as well as to promote across the networks the efforts and updates of the event. Some of the most popular ones appear to be – the “usual suspects” - Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and MySpace. For example, in Facebook alone there are more than 3,300 registered groups to support Haiti, one of which holds as much as 370 000 members (fans and supporters.)

Moreover, one other method for donation transmission has become rather popular – transferring money via SMS-texts. Red Cross even issued a special number to use for donations over the mobile services – “text “Haiti” to 90999”, after which your phone provider would take out from your phone account and donate $10 to Red Cross. This “Haiti texting” has already gathered more than $22 million for Haiti reliefs.

Other Haiti supporters are the charity and philanthropic organizations, such as UNICEF – that gathered more than $18 million, Catholic Relief Services – more than $13 million, and the combined efforts of Oxfam America, World Vision U.S. and Save the Children USA – attracted more than $7 million in donations.

Furthermore, according to the poll, conducted by Zogby International, 64% of Americans will or in the process of making donations, while 33% - have already contributed in the first few days.

In addition, FBI services and the National Center for Disaster Fraud NCDF issued a “hotline” to help with the scammers, who might take advantage of the situation. Their number is: (866) 720-5721, and is open 24/7. You can also email them at: disaster@leo.gov

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