There are few people who did not see the images of the human and physical devastation caused by the earthquake on the ocean floor near Sumatra, Indonesia and subsequent tsunami on 26 December 2004. These images and reports were the catalyst for unprecedented levels of individual and corporate philanthropy. From a communications perspective, it is a useful indication of channel preferences. Over £350 million was donated to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Tsunami Earthquake Appeal through a range of channels shown in Figure 8.5. While the Internet was a source of many donations, it is perhaps
How donations were received
Telephone Banks Postal donations Corporates, trusts and other Web site Post Office From DEC member agencies Gift Aid tax reclaim
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 £millions surprising that the volume of online donations is not higher and it shows the continued popularity of traditional communications channels. The popularity of the web in comparison to e-mail and SMS is also striking as indicated by these details of donations:
• Telephone: Over £75 million was donated through the DEC appeal telephone line. Overall the appeal received a total of 1.7 million calls via the automated system at peak times and over 100 volunteers answered 12,500 live calls.
• Online: On New Year's Eve, with the help of major Internet service providers, the world record for online donations was broken with over £10 million donated in 24 hours. Overall £44 million was donated online by over half a million web users.
• Text messaging: Major UK mobile phone operators raised £1 million by joining forces and offering a free donation mechanism - enabling people to text their gifts.
• Interactive TV: The Community Channel raised over £0.5 million from donors using the 'red button' on interactive TV.
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