Inbox Insider: E-mail and social help organizations raise money in time of need

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E-mail and social media are great tools for marketers who are trying to mobilize support for a cause quickly. This past week's disaster recovery and rescue efforts in Haiti are a great example of how marketing professionals are using these tools to reach people quickly and to raise funds for the earthquake victims.

Since the January 12 earthquake, nonprofits and brands alike have Tweeted about their relief efforts and called customers to also contribute to the cause. For one, TripAdvisor sent out a special e-mail about the crisis in Haiti, telling consumers how to get involved. The message included links to charity organizations working on the rescue effort, with instructions on how to donate. For example, one message read “The American Red Cross,, text ‘Haiti' to 90999 to donate $10 (billed to your phone).”

TripAdvisor's marketers are also taking their cause efforts to their Twitter pages, where they are Tweeting information about how to donate. Some of the marketers' Twitter accounts are also furthering the debate about the ethics of traveling to the region, as cruise ship companies are reconsidering whether they should dock in Haiti so soon after the earthquake.

For household-name brands, such as TripAdvisor and the Red Cross, sending messages to consumers via social networks and e-mail has emerged as an effective way to get the word out to large lists and to help raise money in real time.

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