US wireless technology developer Qualcomm has become the founding patron of the Mobile Giving Foundation (MGF), a new service that enables people to make charity donations via SMS text message.
MGM says the founding donation from Qualcomm has been made through the telco's Wireless Reach initiative.
MGM aims to create a single "mobile giving channel" that enables more than 250 million mobile users in the US to make charitable contributions instantly using their mobile phones. The MGF acts as a messaging gateway, compliance entity, billing settlement and records clearinghouse between operators and participating charities.
Donors can send money to participating charities via text message, with the transaction recorded on their wireless bill. MGF also provides data feeds that will allow annual notifications showing total contributions per donor.
Jim Manis, founder, MGF, says: "We believe the ease of use and immediate response inherent in wireless communication will have a very positive effect on fundraising efforts of charitable groups, expand the US base of giving and enable people to support their favourite causes through a new channel committed to the highest standards."
MGF is looking to raise $1 million to cover its operating budget for the next two years. In addition to the Qualcomm donation, sponsorship has also been received from 1024 Wireless Services, Acta Wireless, Hook Mobile, Mobile Accord and VeriSign.
Manis has been involved in efforts to encourage donations via SMS following Hurricane Katrina and the Indian Ocean tsunami.
In a separate move, last year revellers attending the Mardis Gras festival in New Orleans were able to make donations to the city using PayPal's text-based mobile payment service.
Under the deal signed by PayPal, the city of New Orleans and MediaBuys - which is responsible for all advertising at the Madis Gras - festival goers were able to use PayPal's m-payments service to donate funds to a 'city services fund' which was created to offset event-related costs and help re-build the city's infrastructure following Hurricane Katrina.