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Berkman Center to Launch First Detailed Study of Mobile Giving

Cambridge, Mass. – The potential of mobile giving, which helped raise more than $41 million for Haiti disaster relief, will be examined with a new study by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, along with the mGive Foundation and the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

The study is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. 

The Berkman Center will use the Haiti case to examine the impact of new digital tools on charitable giving.

The detailed study, the first of its kind, will survey people who donated to the campaigns to determine how mobile donors differ from general donors. The results will help charitable organizations design more effective mobile giving campaigns in the future.

“We’ve had a year since the devastating earthquake in Haiti to witness first-hand the power of mobile giving,” said Jenifer Snyder, executive director of The mGive Foundation. “Now it’s time to analyze the data that’s been collected and determine how we can harness this tool for future campaigns.”

“We at the Berkman Center are delighted to have the opportunity to take a serious look at the emergence of mobile giving,” said Dr. Urs Gasser, Executive Director of the Berkman Center. “This has important implications for non-profit organizations as well as political and social engagement online.”

“Ultimately, the study will help nonprofits use social media tools more effectively - and help them engage new supporters,” said Amy Starlight Lawrence, Knight Foundation’s Journalism Program Associate.

The Berkman Center will survey donors to the Haiti mobile giving campaigns to compare their giving habits with the general population. The project will also explore how the campaigns spread within social media. The results from this part of the research will be compared against records from the campaigns to assess the relationship between donations and social media activity.

About the Berkman Center for Internet & Society
The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University is a research program founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development. Founded in 1997, through a generous gift from Jack N. and Lillian R. Berkman, the Center is home to an ever-growing community of faculty, fellows, staff, and affiliates working on projects that span the broad range of intersections between cyberspace, technology, and society. More information can be found at

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Since 1950, the foundation has granted more than $400 million to advance quality journalism and freedom of expression. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote informed and engaged communities and lead to transformational change. For more, visit

About the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project
The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project is one of seven projects that make up the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan, nonprofit “fact tank” that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. The Project produces reports exploring the impact of the internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life.

About the mGive Foundation
The mGive Foundation ( is a 501(c)(3) established to make it easy for nonprofits to quickly execute effective mobile giving campaigns – and for mobile operators to support them. The mGive Foundation has partnered with more than 60 of the nation’s leading mobile carriers (covering 99 percent of U.S. mobile customers) to enable nonprofits of all sizes to increase overall donations and reach new audiences using affordable, reliable and regulation-compliant text-based mobile giving campaigns. The mGive Foundation has supported more than 7,000 mobile giving campaigns for more than 500 nonprofit clients and processes around 85 percent of all mobile donations made today.

Berkman Center for Internet & Society
Rebecca Tabasky

Knight Foundation
Marc Fest
Vice President for Communications