Mobile Giving: Ways to Help Haiti with Your Cell Phone
The social media age has proven that we can be lightning fast on the uptake – whether it’s uncovering rumors about the upcoming Google Phone or the Apple Tablet or pitching in to help those in need. The response from cell phone users donating to help those affected by the earthquake in Haiti has been overwhelming – within 31 hours, the Red Cross collected $3 million worth of mobile donations to aid Haiti. But with Haiti benefits going viral and donors overly eager to give, there quite a few scams cropping up. Make sure your money gets to the right place by donating to Haiti relief through one of these legitimate channels.
Text “Haiti” to 90999 to donate $10 to Red Cross
You may have seen tweets encouraging you to do text “Haiti” to 90999 to make a mobile donation. This is completely legitimate and sends a $10 donation to Red Cross. You’ll be billed automatically on your next cell phone bill and you won’t be asked to provide any credit card information. For more information, see the Red Cross Earthquake in Haiti page.
The American Red Cross of Southwestern Pennsylvania Region is also holding an old fashioned telethon today (January 15). Call (412) 243-6000 to pitch in.
Donate Your Phone to ReCellular through PhonesforHaiti.com
This website’s .com url, rather than a .org or .net, seemingly flags it for suspicion, but we checked it out and it’s the real deal. PhonesforHaiti.com is run by ReCellular, one the world’s largest resellers of recycled mobile phones and they’ve been fighting the green fight since 1991. ReCellular showed up at CES 2010 to raise awareness about cell phone recycling as well as showcase some nearly pristine smartphones that were saved from the landfill. At PhonesforHaiti.com, you can print out a free shipping label and send it in.
To help Haitians in need, ReCellular refurbishes each phone and then sells it as a “low-cost alternative to a brand new phone” and donates the profits to Red Cross.
(Note: You don’t have to worry about your personal information being compromised – all phones are securely erased before being refurbished and sold. If you’re still nervous, download the free Cell Phone Data Eraser.)
Each cell phone carrier also has its own recycling program and oftentimes, you can choose which charity to benefit with your donation.
Other Places to Give
The Red Cross isn’t the only organization helping Haiti (though they certainly do make it very easy). You can also donate directly to Habitat for Humanity, Catholic Relief Services, Doctors without Borders, Mercy Ships and Partners in Health.
We realize that you are eager and willing to give generously – but we want to strongly discourage you from blindly donating, especially when requests are unsolicited. The FBI and FTC have already released warnings about phishing scams (some of which pretend to be affiliated with Red Cross) and fake Haiti benefits. Remember to never send money through Western Union and always look for a direct channel through which to give. There are enough legitimate organizations running high profile campaigns that there’s no need to give to any group you’ve never heard of.
Know of another great charity to benefit Haiti? Let us know – but also point us to some proof that its legit!
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