Haiti: the need for a trusted charity donations app.

I need not echo the words that so many have already voiced with regard to the sympathy and the need to help Haiti.  Perhaps no one has voiced them more clearly than Jay Smooth here.

Soon after the devastating earthquake, there were requests for help, particularly for donations.  90999 was widely publicised on Twitter as a number to text, costing $10 plus the cost of the text.  And more recently, 70077 has been publicised similarly, allegedly aligned to the Disasters Emergency Committee, texts costing £5.  (I have not previously heard of this committee.)

I would like to donate.  But I have no way of understanding the authenticity of the organisations behind these text numbers.  And so I’m nervous about donating through them, both because they may screw me for way more money than I thought, and because I have no way of knowing whether the money will indeed go towards the disaster to which I think I’m donating.

Yet my phone is such a well-suited device from which to contribute.  It is convenient and it already has a direct debit (to O2, or to Apple) to support any contributions made.

There is a desperate need for an iPhone application released by a trusted body (possibly a charity, possibly the government, possibly Apple, even) within which users can donate to charities that subscribe, charities that are vetted by the trusted body with an independently-written description.

The application would be simple.  Click, choose or search for your charity of choice and enter a donation amount.  When prompted, enter your iTunes password (if this is indeed the authentication method of choice) after which you’re presented with a confirmation screen.  Close the application and then go about your business.

I would happily pay an extra £1 on top of every donation I make to fund the trusted body in its management of the charities on the application.  And I’m sure charities would happily pay a subscription to feature in the app.

Does it have legs?


2 Responses to “Haiti: the need for a trusted charity donations app.”

  1. Julia on January 15th, 2010 22:48

    Sounds like you have described just what the DEC does – I just blogged about the post my DFID colleague has made: http://blogs.dfid.gov.uk/2010/01/killing-relief-with-kindness/ His main message is exactly what you say – if you want to help, the best thing is to donate to an NGO – and he links to the DEC appeal.

  2. Rachel on January 15th, 2010 22:59

    DEC, definitely a legitimate organisation, is promoting the text number http://twitter.com/decappeal so it is real. o2 have also been promoting it.

    (If you’ve only just heard of DEC, they’re the organisation that pull together appeals for big disasters, a centralised group runs the marketing etc letting the individual charities focus on providing aid.)

    However, I agree with you about some kind of app to help with this.

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