CU to try text message donations
BOULDER, Colorado – The University of Colorado is hoping to use text messaging to reverse a fundraising slump.
The school says it will explore a new kind of fundraising that uses text messages to raise small amounts. Donors are asked to send a message to the fundraising number, and the gift is then attached to the donor’s next cell phone bill.
The university hasn’t agreed to try the text message donations. But officials say they are talking about the idea with Mobile Accord, a Denver-area software company.
Wayne Hutchens, CEO of the CU Foundation, told university regents this week that the text message donations could be raised during school sporting events. During a football game, for example, the announcer might ask fans to text a donation during a break in play.
“It’s interesting the kinds of things that are out there that we could have fun with,” Hutchens said.
Mobile Accord co-founder Tony Aiello said the company works with about 140 nonprofits. Harvard University, United Way and the American Red Cross Mile High Chapter are among its clients.
Aiello told the Daily Camera newspaper that the mobile donation concept was used last month on “American Idol.” A plea from musician Alicia Keys to make a micro-donation led to 90,000 donors in 90 seconds.
That sort of response would be welcomed at CU, where donations are flagging. Though the CU Foundation has more donors than last year, the size of donations is smaller.
The CU Foundation has raised about $98 million this fiscal year, which is down 17.8 percent from the same time last year, according to spokesman Jeremy Simon.
Ariel Braude, a CU sophomore who had a season pass to home Buffs football games last fall, said she’d be inclined to donate money via her cell phone.
“I think it’d be a good way because it’s something that students do all the time, anyway,” Braude said.
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