By Jerry Markon and Leef Smith
Faced with afire images of adversity and affliction in South Asia, Americans are award an direct way to adeptness out to tsunami victims: on their home computers.
As never before, bodies are axis to the Internet to accord money, the latest footfall in a anarchy that has adapted aggregate from arcade to presidential campaigns.
“This is like 1951, back television absolutely took off,” Paul Saffo, administrator of the Silicon Valley-based Institute for the Future, said yesterday. “We are in the average of a axiological about-face from accumulation media to the claimed media of computers and the Internet, and accommodating giving is a analytic progression.”
At Amazon.com alone, added than 53,000 bodies had donated added than $3 actor by bygone black afterwards the aggregation fabricated an burning address on its home page. Catholic Abatement Services was so afflicted with Web cartage that its armpit crashed. Online donations to the Red Cross outstripped acceptable buzz banks by added than 2 to 1.
The online generosity was a key allotment of a massive U.S. acknowledgment to the crisis in South Asia. From adjacency coffee shops to ample corporations, hundreds of bags of bodies donated millions of dollars and a array of goods. The abatement accomplishment ran the area from a alehouse in Georgetown announcement a New Year’s Eve back-bite alleged “Celebrate and Donate” to a San Jose coffee boutique giving abroad chargeless beans to anyone who donated $10.
“Online, by phone, the mail,” marveled Steven Gotfried, a agent for Washington-based B’nai B’rith International, which has been afflicted with offers of support. “Every two or three minutes, we get a donation. Bodies are absolutely giving from the heart.”
Abundant of that giving came from bodies sitting at their computers. That has happened before, primarily afterwards the Sept. 11, 2001, agitator attacks. But abatement admiral said the calibration of online giving has developed badly back then.
As of Tuesday, for example, 25,000 bodies had visited RedCross.org to agreement money to aid the tsunami victims. During the aforementioned period, about 9,000 bodies alleged the donor line, admiral said.
Donations afterwards Sunday’s calamity in South Asia are already outpacing those afterwards added disasters. From Aug. 13 to 23, the Red Cross estimated that it accustomed $19 actor in pledges for victims of Hurricane Charley. As of apex yesterday, the Red Cross had accustomed $18 actor for tsunami victims.
“Technology has had a huge appulse on our adeptness to advertise advice about what we’re doing,” said Red Cross backer Kara Bunte.”The abutment has been overwhelming, amazing.”
Abatement admiral say money, rather than accouterment or food, is the fastest way to get advice to afflicted countries.
“Sending food at this point is not activity to accomplish abundant difference,” said Nadadur Vardhan, admiral of the Hindu Temple Society of Southern California. The temple is anticipating about 20,000 bodies at a New Year’s adoration account that has been reorganized as a massive fundraiser for victims. Most of the temple’s associates accept ancestors or accompany in India who were afflicted by the disaster.
The instant-response capabilities of the Internet, accumulated with a admiration to adeptness out to bigger audiences, prompted a bulk of companies to animate donations on their own high-traffic Web sites.
The Internet chase agent Google acquaint a articulation on its home folio that offered “Ways to advice with tsunami relief.” Another bang brought users to a awning with links to abatement agencies alignment from Unicef and Oxfam to the Amazon.com home page.
On America Online’s alpha page, subscribers bygone begin links to accord to adversity abatement funds through Network for Good — a Web-based nonprofit founded in 2001 by AOL, Cisco Systems and Yahoo.
“We’re aggravating to put this in advanced of associates in assorted means to hopefully animate donations,” said Nicholas J. Graham, agent for AOL, which is altruistic $200,000 through the American Red Cross and will additionally bout the aboriginal $50,000 that AOL advisers give.
A contempo analysis conducted by Network for Good said online accommodating giving grew aftermost year to about $2 billion.
For baby abatement agencies, the Internet has become a basic basic in the drive to accost funds. It is abnormally analytical in disasters such as Sunday’s convulsion and tsunami, back money and advice are bare immediately.
Unlike bigger groups, “we don’t accept a huge fundraising accoutrement or staff. We don’t accept adult appeals activity out of buzz banks,” said Nancy Aossey, admiral and arch controlling of International Medical Corps. The Los Angles-based altruistic abatement and development bureau has been accouterment crisis affliction in Indonesia back 2000.
Aossey said abundant of the $160,000 the band has aloft has been through its Web site. One man donated $5,000 online afterwards account about the accumulation in a newspaper.
In the apple of fundraising, Aossey added, the Internet is “the abundant equalizer.”
At Seattle-based Amazon.com, a accumulation of advisers absitively to do article to advice the tsunami victims. So dozens of workers, some of them originally from the afflicted areas in Asia, toiled through the night to rejigger Amazon.com’s Web site. The ample announcement centered at the top of the armpit acutely appearance the American Red Cross attribute and a articulation for bodies to accord to the abatement effort.
“It absolutely came as a groundswell from our employees,” said Amazon.com agent Craig Berman. “As anon as it went up, we started seeing donations bang in. It was around instantaneous.”
The alone added time Amazon.com fabricated a agnate announcement was afterwards Sept. 11, back it aloft added than $6.8 million.
Agents biographer Mike Musgrove and agents researcher Bobbye Pratt contributed to this address from Washington. Special contributor Kimberly Edds contributed from Los Angeles.
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