Amadeus Teams With UNICEF To Furnish Traveler 'Micro-Donations'

A few years ago, Amadeus provided the donation engine for Massivegood, a Millennium Foundation-backed fundraising project devised to combat deadly diseases in the developing world. Massivegood since floundered, but Amadeus this week announced a new charitable initiative that is reminiscent, this time partnering with the United Nations Children's Fund to raise funds from the travel industry.

Like the Massivegood project, the new cause will focus on "micro-donations" from travelers when they book travel online. And like with Massivegood, Amadeus is providing the donation engine.

According to Amadeus, "this partnership aims at setting the foundation for a wider collaboration using technological innovation and engaging the global travel industry to crowd-source funds for children's projects around the world."

The idea is for participating brands—airlines and online travel agencies, for example—to enable customers to add a UNICEF donation when they complete the travel shopping process on websites. "The product will exist as a neutral standalone system, cross-channel merchant engine," Amadeus explained. "This consists of a donation interface to collect donation data that is linked to an Amadeus payment gateway. The donation payment is processed as a separate transaction from the travel purchase, simplifying things for the partner and for UNICEF."

According to comments attributed to Amadeus senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary Tomás López Fernebrand, negotiations are ongoing "with several airlines including Iberia." He added that the "the primary focus currently is airline websites, but the donation engine can also be rolled out to online travel sellers, including aggregators and online travel agencies, so the potential to scale this across multiple channels is significant."

A global advocate for children's health, nutrition education and safety, UNICEF is active in more than 190 countries and territories and is the leading provider of vaccines in developing countries. It is funded entirely by voluntary contributions from individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

According to Tim Hunter, the organization's director of international fundraising, "this new initiative with Amadeus will significantly improve UNICEF's ability to reach a large number of people online and to provide them with a one-click opportunity to help some of the world’s most vulnerable children survive and thrive."

Massivegood fizzled and Millennium pulled the plug in late 2011. Hopefully, this new initiative will gain more traction.