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Saturday, Sep 23, 2023

Helping Get Line On Relief

With the relief efforts of Hurricane Sandy still being funded and tallied, it’s been hectic at the Calabasas headquarters of MobileCause Inc. The three-year-old company provides technology for the text-to-donate campaigns of more than 1,000 nonprofits each year – and springs into action when major disasters hit. “Gov. (Chris) Christie reached out to us to help raise money for New Jersey,” said co-founder Daniel Scalisi, 46. “After the initial fundraising dies down, there’s still work to be done, so we’re going to stay involved with that.” In the weeks following the storm, Scalisi and co-founder Doug Plank, 54, worked with the Salvation Army, the American Humane Society and other charities to raise funds and coordinate relief efforts through their mobile platform. “The Humane Society used the mobile platform to send out a solicitation to its donors to rescue animals displaced by the storm – so it goes beyond just money donations,” Plank said. The MobileCause system works by giving nonprofits a “shortcode,” or five-digit phone number, and a keyword for a particular campaign, such as “Sandy.” The nonprofit can then mount an advertising campaign through TV ads or billboards urging viewers to text the keyword to the shortcode number and donate in $5 or $10 increments. The donation is billed to the donor’s phone bill, and the phone carrier, free of charge, forwards the money to MobileCause, which in turn forwards it to the nonprofits. Once a donor’s information has been captured, organizations can use the platform to text donors for more contributions. The company charges clients $99 to $499 a month for its services, depending on the service package and donation volume. Larry Eason, a consultant for MobileCause client International Medical Corps, said the service also has changed on-site giving. He said text-to-pledge has been integrated into the Santa Monica group’s annual gala, capturing donors who are moved by the message but might forget to donate once they leave. – Kelly Goff

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