Frequently Asked Questions About the Mobile Giving Foundation

What is the purpose of the Mobile Giving Foundation?
The Foundation was created to combine the incredible scope and capabilities of the US wireless industry with a need for charitable organizations to find a new class of donors and newer, more intuitive methods of facilitating contributions. Specifically, MGF works with US wireless carriers to offer a “Mobile Giving Channel,” a single channel available to wireless subscribers of all US wireless carriers by which users can instantaneously respond to charitable solicitations by a text message.

Who is behind MGF?
The Foundation was launched in August, 2007 by Jim Manis and other executives from the wireless industry. Jim was a founder of mobile content aggregator M-Qube since sold to VeriSign, and was instrumental in launching some of the wireless industry’s first “text to give” campaigns following Hurricane Katrina and the Indonesian tsunami.  Every successful effort requires leadership and support from a variety of people and organizations.  Christian Zimmern, a founder of the SMS interoperability company Inphomatch, has co-founded and led the MGF partnership efforts.  The MGF approved ASPs that work from our platform are critical resources in enabling the success of mobile giving for the NPOs.  Of course, none of this would be possible without the full support of the wireless operators, who support us and their customers on a no cost basis, and the wireless industry.

How is the MGF funded?
In addition to revenue generated through ASPs, the MGF has benefitted from founding corporate and foundation sponsorships from:  QUALCOMM, the Entertainment Industry Foundation, the U.N. Foundation, Acta Wireless, VeriSign, Acision, 1024 Wireless Services, and Hook Mobile.  We would welcome your support if you would like to contribute by contacting Jim Manis at jmanis@mobilegiving.org.

How does the Mobile Giving Channel work?
MGF serves as the link between a charitable giving campaign, the wireless industry and the 280 million wireless users in the US. We vet all NPOs who use the mobile channel, certify all mobile giving programs, provide industry-wide guidance for charitable campaigns and establish, with industry-wide input, the guidelines and standards for mobile giving. Additionally, we facilitate the text messages through our platform, help NPOs market their campaigns, collect funds generated through mobile giving campaigns from the carriers and then distribute the collected funds to NPOs.

Isn’t charitable giving in the US already well established?
In a way, yes. Some $300 billion a year is raised by charitable organizations, the great percentage of that from individual donors. But contributing by text messaging constitutes a tremendous advancement over current means. The immediacy and ubiquity of wireless communications provides a huge advancement in speed and ease of use. Contributors don’t need to write a check, fill out forms or call someone they just text a reply and the giving cycle is complete. The time lapse from notification to contribution can be seconds rather than days, weeks or months.

I am a NPO, how do I get started?
1. Download the MGF Guidelines to ensure that your organization qualifies to conduct mobile campaigns. If eligible:
2. Contact one of the approved Application Service Providers (ASPs) who will manage the technical components of your mobile giving campaign.

What is SMS or text messaging?
SMS stands for Short Message Service, commonly know to consumers as text messaging. The protocol is designed to send text messages to and from mobile phones. The messages may be up to 160 characters in length including spaces. Almost 100% of today’s phones can send and receive text messages!

What is a short code?
Similar to a telephone number, short codes are special 5 or 6 digit codes used to route text messages from mobile phones to interactive mobile messaging applications, typically in combination with a keyword. They are designed to be shorter to read and easier to remember than normal telephone numbers. Short codes also allow for billing and other unique forms of interaction via the mobile phone such as television voting, ordering ringtones, charity donations and mobile chat services.

What is a keyword?
Used in combination with a short code, a keyword is a word that differentiates a mobile campaign form others on the same short code. The keyword and short code combination allows mobile phone users to make a donation to MGF sponsored mobile donation campaign. For example, an organization called Clean Water Planet might choose the keyword WATER. In order to make a donation, mobile phone users would send the word WATER as the body of his or her text message e.g. to the short code 20222.

Which wireless carriers are currently supporting Mobile Giving Foundation programs?
Currently, this service is available through the following wireless operators: Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, and US Cellular.