From sunrise to sunset, 365 days a year, more than 1.3 million visitors walk along Rhode Island’s most visited attraction, a free, 3.5-mile National Recreational Trail known as the Cliff Walk.
Hugging a breathtaking coastline, walkers travel through tunnels, scramble over rocks, and gaze at famous mansions. Constantly battling forces of nature, the Cliff Walk is impacted by ocean waves, salt air, and periodic destructive hurricanes. In 2012, the damage from Hurricane Sandy alone cost $5.8 million in repairs.
While government funding has historically paid for major repairs, the wear and tear has prompted members of Newport’s Cliff Walk Commission, a volunteer advisory panel, to seek new ways to preserve and maintain the trail.
As a result, in May 2021, the commission launched its first voluntary donation program, #Cliff Walk Together, facilitated by Give by Cell’s mobile fundraising technology.
“We wanted to find a way that people could donate while on the Walk,” reports commission member Peter Ranelli.
Signs located along the trail instruct people to text “CLIFF” to 56512. Once the text message is sent, the user receives a link back to a donation page where they can donate any amount via credit card. The mobile donation page is also accessible by scanning QR codes located on trail signage.
By providing this mobile-friendly tool, Cliff Walk visitors can donate right in the moment they are inspired—no lengthy website to type into a browser and no mailing address to remember later to send in a check.
As donations roll in, administrative users can view reporting data on the Give by Cell dashboard such as donor name, phone, email, zip code, donation amount, and method of payment.
The Cliff Walk Commission has promoted their text-to-donate campaign through advertising and a press release to local papers. Future social media campaigns are in the works.
Warning, if you start researching this magnificent trail, you may find yourself spontaneously booking a trip to Rhode Island. It’s definitely one for your bucket list.