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Shaking the digital tin: mobile giving to rocket by nearly 900 percent in 5 years

20 December 2012

Donating by text in the UK is set to increase by 880% from 2010 to 2015 research published today by the UK regulator of premium rate telephone services indicates. PhonepayPlus’ Charitable Donations by Premium-Rate report shows that in 2012 in the UK, 1 in 10 donated by text compared with just 1 in 100 who donated this way in 2010/11 (as reported by the Charities Aid Foundation).

PhonepayPlus’ report highlights that text giving offers a real growth opportunity to charities when other sources of public and private funding are under pressure. The research shows that text donation brings new money and new donors to charities and is especially popular with younger people. In PhonepayPlus’ Annual Market Review, 25% of 18-34 year-olds said that they had donated by text in the last six months, compared with just 8% of those aged 35 or older.

The convenience and immediacy of text giving allows donors to react spontaneously to a campaign, such as a poster on a train or a TV appeal. In the research, respondents saw a text donation as dropping money in a digital tin and they felt a feel-good buzz after donating, as one participant said “Your phone is just there when they ask for a donation. I do it because I want to and I don’t forget”.

This is despite the fact that the research shows some donors do not realise that the entire cost of the text goes to charity as mobile networks have waived their charges for charitable giving.

Patrick Guthrie, PhonepayPlus’ Director of Strategy and Communications, commented on the report saying:

"As the regulator who deals with charitable text donations, we have worked hard with charities to ensure this innovative way of giving works for both charities and donors. Mobile networks waiving charges has certainly helped in attracting more charities to text donation and our aim now is to continue to help charities and their supporters, whether large or small, use this method of giving confidently and securely.”

Nick Marsh, Head of Individual Giving at Shelter, said:

“People have busy lives and the major advantage of text donations is its convenience. Many of us use our mobiles constantly and text donation means people can donate wherever they are, whenever they want, using a pre-set amount for minimum effort. It’s proved to be more effective than any other way of finding new supporters. For Shelter, there is the added advantage of having a low-cost way of reaching people who wouldn’t normally respond to more traditional calls for donations, such as face to face fundraisers or direct mail. More and more of us will be using mobile devices for all kinds of transactions in future, and we’re keen to approach people to donate in the way that makes the most sense to them.”

The research, Charitable Donations by Premium-Rate, can be found here.