New SMS technology to drive donations

A pilot program has been launched to test ‘text to donate’ campaigns in Australia. The Telco Together Foundation is coordinating major telcos Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, as well as the mobile engagement provider OpenMarket, to launch this initiative to the Australian public.

Users who are able to use Premium SMS (PSMS) can simply text a unique code to a specified number to donate $5 to their charity of choice.

Initially international NGOs UNICEF Australia and World Vision will trial the program, followed by other major charities such as St Vincent de Paul, Cancer Council and the Australian Red Cross.

Telco Together Foundation CEO, Renee Bowker, said with texting firmly embedded in the Australian culture, this new fundraising channel provides the opportunity for charities to include an SMS call to action in their campaign materials.

“Text giving is a fantastic way to leverage telco technology and reach to help Australian charities raise funds. In addition to giving existing supporters a new way to give, our research suggests this channel can unlock donations from new and younger supporters, which is a great outcome for charities,” Bowker said.

While SMS-to-donate services are popular in countries such as the UK, Australia does not currently have a dedicated service. The future of PSMS donations will be determined at the end of the pilot period, which will run until October 2016.

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