Thursday, 14 January 2010

The American Red Cross and Haiti: Fundraising 2010-style

Much was made of Barack Obama's ability to harness new technology to bankroll his election campaign in 2008.

Now, in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, a new example of excellent use of technology to fundraise has emerged with the American Red Cross' SMS text message campaign.

Mobile phone users in the US can text 'Haiti' to 90999, which results in $10 being debited from their phone account and handed to the Red Cross appeal. The project is a joint initiative between the US State Department and the Red Cross which was started late on Tuesday night.

The company managing the campaign, mGive, has confirmed on Twitter that $2 million has now been raised through the initiative.

This is an excellent example of how new technology can be used to simplify the process of charitable donation. By using a device the majority of us uses every day- a mobile phone- to enable people to donate to the Haiti campaign in the simplest of ways, they have been able to raise a vast amount of money is less than two days to help people affected by the earthquake.

This campaign will set a benchmark for future fundraising campaigns by charities and other groups, and shows just how new technology is changing dramatically many aspects of daily life.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt's E-mail Regarding Parliamentary Labour Party Leadership Ballot

Dear Colleague,

As we move towards a General Election it remains the case that the Parliamentary Labour Party is deeply divided over the question of the leadership. Many colleagues have expressed their frustration at the way in which this question is affecting our political performance. We have therefore come to the conclusion that the only way to resolve this issue would be to allow every member to express their view in a secret ballot.

This could be done quickly and with minimum disruption to the work of MPs and the Government. Whatever the outcome the whole of the party could then go forward, knowing that this matter had been sorted out once and for all.

Strong supporters of the Prime Minister should have no difficulty in backing this approach. There is a risk otherwise that the persistent background briefing and grumbling could continue up to and possibly through the election campaign, affecting our ability to concentrate all of our energies on getting our real message across.

Equally those who want change, should they lose such a vote, would be expected by the majority of the PLP to devote all of their efforts to winning the election. The implications of such a vote would be clear – everyone would be bound to support the result.

This is a clear opportunity to finally lay this matter to rest. The continued speculation and uncertainty is allowing our opponents to portray us as dispirited and disunited. It is damaging our ability to set out our strong case to the electorate. It is giving our political opponents an easy target.

In what will inevitably be a difficult and demanding election campaign, we must have a determined and united parliamentary party. It is our job to lead the fight against our political opponents. We can only do that if we resolve these distractions. We hope that you will support this proposal.

Yours fraternally,

Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt