Donating to political campaigns just got a little bit easier for Americans: it’s now as simple as sending a text message.
To donate to a campaign, a cellphone user can text an monetary amount to a five-digit number set up by that campaign. Donations will be automatically charged to users’ phone bills. Text message donations will be capped at $50 each billing cycle for each individual campaign.
The Federal Elections Commission, which oversees campaign finance law, approved the change Monday night.
Non-profit organizations, such as the Red Cross, have been collecting money for disaster relief and other causes this way for years. Partisan political campaigns, however, were prohibited from doing so until now.
Some campaigns got around the restriction though a work around: after supporters donated online, campaigns kept their credit card information on file. It would then ask for additional donations later on via text message. If the supporter agreed to give more, the campaign would take the money from that person’s credit card account instead of charging it to their phone bill.
The Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) decision means that political campaigns can now broadcast these calls to action to their entire mobile-equipped supporter base whenever they find themselves in need of a quick boost of cash. A person close to Barack Obama’s reelection campaign told Time earlier this year that a text-based “quick donate” drive generated a response rate 20% higher than other phone-based calls to action.
Will being able to quickly and easily donate to a campaign make you more willing to do so? Share your opinions in the comments below.