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Voss’ mobile giving campaign lets users text to support clean water

Voss Artesian Water is running an SMS donation campaign that supports the building of clean water access points in Africa.

The effort launched on March 22, which was World Water Day, and will run through Earth Day. Mobile calls to action asking users to scan a QR code or text in to donate appear on marketing collateral inside Whole Foods, CVS and other retailers, restaurants and hotels where Voss is available.

“Last year our 31 Days to Make a Difference campaign was a text-based campaign and we did not use a QR code,” said Jack Belsito, CEO of Voss Water, New York. “In 2011, the 31 Days campaign was introduced in only a few stores and was primarily a West-Coast based initiative.

“Voss is taking advantage of the latest technology for this year’s 31 Days to Make a Difference Campaign,” he said. “The use of QR codes gives customers a very easy way to give.”

A global need
The 31 Days to Make a Different campaign is an international effort intended to communicate the global need for clean drinking water solutions. In Sub-Saharan Africa, young girls and women often walk 10 miles a day to get water and carry, on average, 44 pounds of water on their heads.

There are more than 300 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa who lack access to clean water.

Since 2008, the Voss Foundation has helped construct 36 water access points in five countries.

Mobile users can text DROP to 89544 on their U.S. mobile to automatically donate $5 to the Give A Drop campaign, which funds building wells and clean water access points in Africa. Give A Drop is a partnership between nonprofits Project Clean Water, which was founded by Jewel in 1997, Voss Foundation and Virgin Unite.

Users can also scan the 31 Days QR code that appears on in-store signs and other marketing collateral to link to the Voss Foundation mobile site where they can also make a donation.

Voss has created support materials for all of its merchant accounts that are participating in the effort, including retailers, restaurants and hotels.

Retailers participating in program include Whole Foods, Sedano’s, Safeway, CVS and Walgreens.

The support materials include point-of-purchase displays, table tents and print and digital ads for in-store circulars.

Voss also ran advertising supporting the campaign in USA Today.

Mobile giving grows
Using text messaging and QR codes to enable users to make a donation is a growing trend among nonprofits and others partnering various causes.

EBay recently teamed up with nonprofit Make It Right to let consumers bid for auctioned products by scanning a QR code near the display with their mobile device (see story).

Additionally, Susan G. Komen placed QR codes in ads appearing in a recent issue of Marie Claire magazine to drive readers to its mobile site where they could make a donation (see story).

The Voss effort builds on its mobile giving campaign from last year to try to drive a bigger response.

“Since the donations go directly to Give A Drop, it is difficult to track exactly how many donations were made,” Mr. Belsito said. “We did notice a significant increase in Web traffic to the Voss Foundation Web site during last year’s campaign.”