Small charities get TLC from mobile mentors

One by One, a new online mobile network from MobileCause, looks to bring together nonprofit and service-minded individuals to enable mentoring and fundraising advice.

A new network employing mobile devices and social networks wants to make it easier for small charitable organizations to raise the money they need to help their causes.

MobileCause, a Web service for nonprofit fundraising in the social-media age, has launched a new mobile mentor program, One by One, in an effort "to increase mobile philanthropy and provide essential mobile tools free-of-charge to smaller nonprofits."

According to MobileCause's stats, of the more than 1.5 million established nonprofits in the United States, more than 50 percent raise less than $500,000 a year from donations because they don't have the budget to cash in on a diversity of fundraising tools in the Information Age.

So, MobileCause will provide an online, mobile giving setup allowing large and medium nonprofits to support a charity of their choosing. The hope is that mentoring and support will provide hundreds of early-stage and smaller charities access to various mobile solutions they couldn't use previously.

Here's how it works: A supporting charity signs up for MobileCause. That larger charity must have raised more than $500,000 during their prior fundraising fiscal year and sign up for MobileCause's Pro or Starter Package. Once signed up, they can then nominate a smaller charity with annual revenues under $500,000 to receive the MobileCause Intro Package. The normal monthly fee and mobile messaging charges will be waived.

The Intro package includes non-carrier billing options and a variety of tools for building mobile lists and communicating through social networks, smartphones, and so on. MobileCause puts the value to a recipient charity at more than $1,300 over the course of a year. MobileCause will be implementing the One by One mobile mentor program as a permanent offer.

At first glance, they system might seem like a little bit of a charity pyramid scheme. But MobileCause is too well-established and has taken legitimate roles in support of NPR and disaster relief efforts around the world. It's not a scam and could prove a useful tool for local or regional charities struggling to tap into a larger fundraising pool during tough economic times. The bottom line is, if it can help people in need without presenting major obstacles to under-equipped/well-meaning nonprofits, more power to One by One.

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