How to Text Donations

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Text donations capitalize on immediacy in crisis situations, to allow those who are moved in the moment to give. These donations are generally capped at $10, though some charities may offer $5 increments too. No matter what cell phone provider you use, you can text donations within a couple minutes. Depending on your cell phone provider, you may or may not be charged your plan's text message fee for sending the text donation.

Find out the message you need to text, and the number to text it to for donations. For example, during the 2010 Haiti earthquake relief effort, the American Red Cross used "HAITI" for the message, and accepted donations sent to "90999." Check the charity's website for this information, or look for news media announcements.

Open your cell phone's text message application and type the numeric code in the "To" field. Then type the message using the information you just obtained. Click "Send."

Receive a confirmation text from the charity that asks whether you want to give. Text "yes" back to confirm your donation and donate via text.

Pay your cell phone bill when it arrives. Charities don't receive text donations until you pay your bill. This means it can take up to 90 days for charities to get the funds from a text donation, according to Consumer Reports.

Earmark your cell phone bill when it arrives, so you can showcase the charitable donation on your taxes.

Understand that the message may change, depending on the relief effort. As of April 2011, the American Red Cross accepts general donations at "90999" if you type "REDCROSS." Don't assume that the message you see will be valid for future donations.