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Nonprofit aids troops with text-to-donate campaign

Nonprofit organization Soldiers’ Angels is using a text-to-donate initiative to raise money for soldiers in the United States armed forces.

To participate, consumers can text the keyword SOLDIERS to the short code 20222 to donate $5. The donation is used to send care packages to soldiers stationed overseas, assist wounded soldiers and support veterans and their families.

“Text-based technology with donations keeps Soldiers’ Angels strategically in line with cutting-edge social media components,” said Shelle Michaels, national communications director at Soldiers’ Angels, Pasadena, CA. “We have led the way across the nation in social media since inception of the organization.

“Soldiers’ Angels is a viral-based community – that is where our roots are,” she said. “The Text-to-Donate falls into our philosophy in giving our volunteers, sponsors, friends and donors multiple ways to support the troops with ease through Soldiers’ Angels.”

Soldiers’ Angels is promoting the campaign through a variety of social media, including a Facebook fan page, Twitter, Linked In, text updates, blog posts, a newsletter and the Soldiers’ Angels Web site.

The nonprofit has teamed up with other organizations for the text-to-donate initiative, including the Drumhike charity and Letters to Lyrics, a campaign that encourages people to send letters to soldiers – which Soldiers’ Angels organized in conjunction with Dodge Ram and the Zac Brown Band.

“At concerts, people no longer light their Bic lighters, but flash their cell phones,” Ms. Michaels said. “What a great way to have the ‘Text SOLDIERS to 20222’ flashing into a concert.”
Soldiers’ Angels is also developing more ways to expose consumers to the call to action.

“We have a social media widget being built,” Ms. Michaels said. “Our current widget – viewable at – showcases our social media, and this component will also be added.

“We also have Facebook applications being designed,” she said. “We will continue to roll this [campaign] out in stages, as we have found this is a great way to keep everyone engaged in the process.”

Soldiers’ Angels are implementing other initiatives in the mobile space as well: the organization also offers an opt-in mobile alert service called the Soldiers’ Angels Mobile Support Club.
“We allow our volunteers, sponsors, warriors etc to receive Soldiers’ Angels updates via text,” Ms. Michaels said. “[This includes] up to four monthly alerts and updates on events, projects, soldier stories, support needs and much more.”

SMS donations are a popular way to raise money for charities. For example, mobile marketing company Mad Mobile launched a similar initiative to support oil spill relief efforts in the Gulf earlier this month (see story).

Soldiers’ Angels does not have a hard-and-fast target established for the text-to-donate campaign – its main goal is to use the mobile initiative as a supplement to existing fundraising efforts.

“We don’t have a target – as we will continue to utilize this option, rolling it into our general fund, Ms. Michaels said. “This just gives Americans an ease in donation.”
The main objective is to provide the means to attract as many consumers as possible to donate.

“[This campaign targets] America as a whole,” Ms. Michaels said. “[We want] to engage those who want to give [and] support the troops, but do not always have a lot of time or money to give – to engage those that have never given before.”