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The Nonprofit Blog

The Chile Conundrum: Disaster Fatique or Lack of Promotion

So what's the deal?  I spent about 15 minutes on Google this morning trying to find out how much money has been raised for disaster relief in Chile through texting.  I couldn't find a single stat.  As we all know, the Red Cross raised more than $32 million in the first 30 days following the devasting earthquake in Haiti.  I was impressed from the start - check my blog of January 20th

There are lots of probable explanations of why the text-gift response to the Chilean earthquake has been underwhelming:  not as meany deaths, not as poor a country, the President said (in the first couple of days) she did not need help, further away from the US...  Or, we just did that texting thing and it made us feel good at the time, but is there any indication of impact of that $32 million?  The headlines about Haiti grow more gruesome every day and makes us wonder:  Did my $10 text-gift do anything at all? 

There may be many explanations, but I'll choose this one on which to focus:  There's no "Text: Chile" running across my TV screen.  And, although it has been mentioned in news articles, there's no "Text: Chile" predominantly on the headlines or home pages of any of the major newspapers/networks. Face it -- the media is going to dictate to a large degree, where we should send our dollars.  I don't know what makes them expert.  After all, it was the news media that directed us to Text: Yele which turned out to be a pretty sketchy outfit.   

Will there be a Hope for Chile Telethon and would it reap the same $58 million or $70 million (results vary)  in text-gifts from viewers as George Cloony's extravaganza last month?  

Sorry readers...I don't have any answers today, just a lot of questions.   After reading the mornng paper, I'm exhausted trying to consider how we can best channel our charitable dollars to help.

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