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Pew: More Young Americans Go Digital to Donate to Japan

03/23/2011 10:09 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Alexander Howard Senior Editor for Technology and Society, The Huffington Post

The phenomenon of American citizens making digital donations saw a substantial increase with the introduction of a mobile shortcode after the Haitian earthquake in January 2010, when more than $30 million dollars was donated using text messaging. In 2011, when younger Americans want to send funds to stricken humans on the other side of the planet, they now turn in equal numbers to their mobile devices and computers.

According new findings from the Pew Internet and Life Center, in the immediate aftermath of the Japan earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear plant crises, 12 percent of Americans under age 40 have donated by texting, websites, and email, as compared to 12 percent that donated by traditional methods like postal mail, phone calls, or in-person donations.

Pew's survey showed a substantial increase in the proportion of Americans under 40 that made digital donations to Japan in the wake of the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami. While Americans over 40 are similarly more likely than in the past to give to disaster relief efforts via electronic means, they still prefer traditional methods of giving.

Japanese disaster relief through digital donations was also in evidence at this correspondent's publisher. Yesterday morning, O'Reilly Media, No Starch Press, and Tidbits announced that they would donate all revenues, less author royalties, from their "Deal of the Day" ebook and video sales to the Japanese Red Cross Society. By Tuesday's end, more than $150,000 had been raised for Japanese disaster relief, with the effort extended through Wednesday.

For more examples of digital donations, consult the PBS Newshour's comprehensive list of ways to help Japan earthquake and tsunami efforts on its Rundown blog. The post includes

Readers can also find other means, both digital and analog, to help Japan earthquake relief here at The Huffington Post.