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Micro-donations are a form of charitable donations that in general are an amount under $10. Micro-donations vary in size, yet target a large audience to make up for their small increments through quantity. Micro-donations in the past have been used most effectively by companies collecting spare change at registers and checkouts. Recently this form of philanthropy has become more popular with the advent and popularity of mobile donating.[1].

Micro-donation models
Footprints network
( iPhone Donation App)

Mobile Donations

Prior to the advent of mobile donating and similar technologies, the effectiveness of micro-fundraising was questionable. The ultimate value of one large donation often outweighed that of several small donations due to transactional costs and inconveniences associated with each donation.[2] The mobile giving channel allows micro-donations to be made with very little cost and considerable convenience for both the donor and the recipient, enhancing the effectiveness and popularity of micro-fundraising.

There are three important functions that mobile devices satisfy that make them a new viable and valuable fund-raising tool for non-profit organizations. First, mobile networks have millions of users who share a common communication platform which non-profits can use to educate and grow their base of donors. Communication can flow in many directions. From non-profit to device users (direct marketing), between device users (viral marketing), and from the user back to the organization in the form of feedback or surveys. Second, mobile devices offer a couple methods for processing donations via users' mobile devices, including asking a donor to send a special text message in order to accept a charge to his phone bill and instructing the donor to visit a website to donate online. The nonprofit may incur transaction charges for these methods. Third, the mobile device provides an efficient way for the non-profit to acknowledge a donation via txt message, email, or as an item on the users' statement. Prior to mobile donating, communication, processing, and acknowledgment were very expensive barriers to micro-donating.


See also

  • Jesse Reichler (2006) Donationware experience - An article describing experiments with Donationware: Ethical Software, Work Equalization, Temporary Licenses, Collective Bargaining, and Microdonations.


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