Southern University is launching a new fundraising approach — $10 at a time, one text message at a time.
Southern supporters can now donate $10 to the university by texting SUJAGS on their mobile phones to the number “80888.”
Text message donations were popularized last year as the American Red Cross used the text-to-give system as a means of raising relief funds in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake.
Tracie Abraham, the Southern University System Foundation director of development, said the text donations are a great way to engage students and alumni with little effort required to quickly give $10.
“It was something we decided to do amidst the financial crisis we’re in,” Abraham said.
Earlier this month, the Southern Board of Supervisors rejected in a split vote a request to declare a financial emergency, called exigency, at the university because of a declining campus budget and dwindling student enrollment levels.
So Southern’s private, nonprofit foundation is leading the effort to help build the university back up with each text message.
“We have to start somewhere,” Abraham said. “We realize a lot of our younger alumni are tech savvy. This is just another way we can reach out and engage them and show they can make a difference.”
“And they can do it multiple times,” Katara Williams, the Southern System director of media relations, quickly chimed in.
Of course, Williams added, much larger donations can be made online at foundation.sus.edu.
Abraham said other historically black colleges such as Howard University and Morehouse College are seeing results from similar text-to-give operations.
Most of the money raised would go toward student scholarships, she said.
Southern University System President Ronald Mason Jr. said he sees the text donations as a “positive step” toward larger fundraising goals.
“This works great at football games,” Mason said.
Just announce SUJAGS and “80888” at football games, Mason said, and everyone in the stadium can give $10 at once.
“It’s part of the agenda for the future,” he said. “We’re just getting started.”
Southern is going to start marketing the campaign to alumni and through social media like Facebook and Twitter, Abraham said. The text-to-give efforts also will be advertised on campus and at events, she said.
The text-to-give donations can be made only by mobile phone customers of AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.
The one-time $10 donations will appear on the donor’s mobile phone bill.