Unused Cell Phone minute question

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by susiestar, Nov 28, 2008.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I have wished for a very LONG time that we could donate those "rollover" minutes that expire, or even just unused cell phone minutes that we pay for and don't use to a good cause. donate them to the soldiers, to veterans in the VA hospitals or who are disabled and unable to work. Donate them to cancer patients, or anyone in a hospital for a long time who has trouble keeping in conctact with family because the cost. Donate them to families with kids in RTCs so that it helps withthe cost of the facilty and coordinating all the services.

    how many of us actually use all the minutes we contract for? And yet we lose them and CAN'T do anything to put them to good use other than letting someone else use our phone.

    Does anyone know WHY some organization hasn't been able to get one of the cell phone carriers or ALL of the cell phone carriers to let us donate the unused minutes? The cell phone companies make a ton selling us something that we don't use all of. It is an intangible asset, incurring very little in the way of storage fees, etc....

    What would the barriers to this be, other than corporate greed?

    How many of us know of someone who could really USE those minutes, once or on a regular basis? That single mom who works late and makes minimum wage. That person in a health care crisis, or with a sick child, or with a family member with a mental disorder and the unending bills and pharmacy costs.

    I think I need to start writing to the Breast Cancer foundation, or an autism group or Ronald McDonald House to try to get some way to do this. I could easily donate 1000 minutes right now to help someone. But I am not ALLOWED to.

    Some of this is thinking out loud, so I understand if there aren't many responses. It was triggered by ML's fundraiser for her coworker. Imagine if that family could have their cell phone bills covered for the length of her treatment by people donating soemhting they won't use anyway. It would free up that much of her time and effort, and hwo much of the family budget? It depends on the number of people to stay intouch, but it could be substantial. And a patient who gets better will remember the cell phone company who helped this happen, adn will end up a customer for life - regardless of who has the coolest free phone.

    And all of the relatives will be customers for life also. So will the co-workers who remember how they were able to help someone.

    That is all for me right now on this topic.

    What do you all thing of it?
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I found a site that lets you donate your old cell phone to send international calling cards to the soldiers in Iraq. I don't know how legit it is, I just found it. But one old cell phone =250 minute calling card.

    A $40 donation - 1,200 minute calling card.

    These are international calling cards.

    But it doesn't address the unused minutes that so many people have.
  3. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    This is an interesting concept. I like it the problem I would see is how would you choose who or what to support with those minutes. That would be hard.

  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    My thought is that at first some well established charities, like Ronald McDonald House, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, the USO, Autism Speaks, even Heifer International could be beneficiaries. It would need to be worked out somehow with the big groups adn with a cell phone provider.

    But some big name charities with established track records would be the start. Then a series of campaigns online to get people to be aware of the option to donate minutes.

    Maybe, at some far point in the future, it would be possible to send minutes to a fund at major hospitals, or some charity that works with children's hospitals, to help identify families that could use this.

    But at first, just letting Ronald McDonald House have the minutes so that families can call home, discuss treatment options with spouses back home or other family members, and generally keep in touch.

    Let the Salvation Army use minutes to let soldiers call loved ones.

    let the Red Cross use minutes to help coordinate services in disaster areas, to let families reconnect after a natural disaster,etc...

    Let the Autism Now or another autism foundation use the minutes to cut down on overhead so more $$ goes to research. Or let them give minutes to families who are dealing with autistic children.

    Let the Hole in the Wall Charities use the minute so terminally ill kids in their camps can call home whenever they need to, or every night.

    It just seems there is SO MUCH going to waste. WE pay for those minutes, and the cell phone carriers make money every month when the minutes are not used. Why would it be so hard to set a system up so that anyone with a cell can donate their unused minutes every month to a charity. Let the charity register cell phone numbers that are eligible for the minutesand then let them give the phones out to whoever they think needs them. When the minutes for the phone are used up the call ends, like whn your GoPhone runs out of minutes.

    I know it isn't that simple. But I don't see why it couldn't happen. Heck, for every 2 minutes a person donates, one minute goes to the charity. That way the cell carrier still gets some of the overage to pay for whatever overhead they have.

    I wonder who I need to contact to see if a group would be itnerested in this, and if they could help get a cell carrier on board.

    Hmmmmmm.... This may be a project for me for 2009.
  5. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    "WE pay for those minutes, and the cell phone carriers make money every month when the minutes are not used."

    Susie, I think that's the answer right here! The cell phone companies count on it that a lot of people never use all those minutes that they contract for and then they lose them. If you contract for and pay for a certain amount of minutes every month, and then never use all those minutes, you have actually paid a higher rate for those minutes that you did use and the phone companies make more money.

    It's a wonderful idea. But a cell phone company would probably never go for it unless the good publicity they got for doing it outweighed the money they are making by not doing it. Maybe that's how they should be approached. Wouldn't it be great if there was a list of four or five major charities like the Red Cross or Ronald McDonald House and people could choose to donate their unused minutes to one of them!
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    That is what I was thinking Donna. That if I could get some backing from the RMH or REd Cross we could make this work. I mean even if by donating 100 minutes to RMH the cell phone co only gave them 50 minutes, it would still be better than nothing.

    I have to think on how to organize this.
  7. Tiapet

    Tiapet Old Hand

    Ugh! Trolls!

    Susie I absolutely agree and LOVE your idea. I have someone I can ask this question to and I'll let you know the answer.
  8. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Tiapet, this might still be relevant but the original thread was from November, 2008. The trolls are digging through the old stuff!