What would you do if you woke up one day and you no longer had access to your cell phone, computer, Facebook or Twitter? We’ve become so reliant on technology and forms of social communications that without them, who knows what would happen. For the most part though, these tools have changed things for the better.  Information is accessible like never before and we can stay in touch with someone on the opposite side of the world with the press of a button. But what about those people who don’t have access to the same technologies, who cant afford them, how are they benefitting from all this technology?

With thanks to social networks & mobile technologies, both charities and ways of fundraising have changed and evolved. While maybe not as quite as effective as some ways of raising money, it has made things easier and who knows, maybe it will become a lot more successful in the future. From texts, to mobile check-ins, to sites like Facebook and Twitter, charities are learning and finding new ways to raise money.

Do you use FourSquare or Facebook places to check-in to places? Still not as popular as they can be, check-in platforms can offer a lot of benefits not only to the person checking in, but to other parties as well. When FB places launched, it announced a few partnerships. The North Face pledged $150,000 to national parks and Starbucks pledged $1 for every check-in.  Another big platform to raise money was CauseWorld, which had over $1 million in charity donations. There have been many other charities benefitting from check-ins through social networks like Foursquare and Gowalla.  Check-ins make for a great initiative and we’re still really only at the early stages of something bigger. If you like to learn more, you can find out here.

After the Haiti disaster, there was a huge relief effort to help raise money. One the big contributors came through text donations. The effort helped raise $32 million in the month after the disaster.  The major benefit of a text donation is the fact that they bring in younger donors who most likely wouldn’t have donated to begin with. Texting is still catching on and still has many issues, such as fees, charges and contracts with the mobile companies before the money even gets to the end user. The Haiti relief effort fortunately had waived user-messaging fees and expedited funding, because of the urgency of the situation. In other cases, it could take a lot longer, sometimes up to 120 days. Other efforts using text messages to raise donations were the Red Cross and The World Food Programme Again; it’s still rather a young strategy in raising money. Hopefully we’ll see some big changes in the future with more efficient means of texting donations.

Then we have social networks: Twitter & Facebook mainly, although other platforms can be used just as well. Twitter can be handy due to how public it is and a little something called #hashtags. You can find hashtags on just about anything. There are plenty of charities using hashtags for their cause, whether it’s to raise money or even just awareness. A great resource for finding relevant tags can be found here. Generally known as social good, hashtags such as #socialgood, #giveback, #4change, #charity, #humanrights and many others can be beneficial in finding organizations and ways to give back. Facebook is a bit different when it comes to causes. You can find plenty of pages relating to causes and charities. The key is engagement and updates with your current fans, in hopes they share your content, and so forth and so on. One of my favorite social charities is Charity Water. They’ve done a lot so far to help bring clean drinking water to millions of people.

Lastly we have something a little bit different. Whether you’re trying to raise money for the arts, music, dance, design, fashion, technology, and many others, Kickstarter is the platform to turn to. Kickstarter can be defined in many ways. It’s a way for creative people to land fundraising for their projects. In fundraising, it is a donation more than anything. Keep in mind, when pledging money to someone, or something on Kickstarter, it doesn’t net you a profit or a stake in the company down the line, it’s just a way to help with a project you really believe in.  You might get early access to a platform, an album from a recording artist, tickets to a show, swag or even a computer based on what you donate, but mostly it’s to be a part of something other than yourself.

Those are just a few examples of how technology is helping those raising money for charities and other similar causes. Do you have any examples of modern day fundraising or charities making a difference?