Textraising – follow up

I posted about textraising a few weeks back (you can read that post here). After I posted I was contacted by Joanna Fortune the CEO of an Irish charity, To Russia With Love. Joanna got in touch to say that they have actually had some success with textraising. Here is what Joanna had to say about the successes they have had:

Debbie Deegan was awarded International Person of the Year andat the Rehab People of the Year Awards last year and she decided to capitalize on the opportunity (it’s a televised ceremony) and developed the charities first text donation campaign, the TV audience was asked to donate €5 to To Russia With Love by texting the word CHILD to 57800.  In the first 24 hours 14,000 people donated!!

They  have since run a number of campaigns by text, each one ongoing!  You can also subscribe to donate 2 euro per week by texting TRWL to 57802 and every Friday you receive a text thanking you for your ongoing support, this brings in a couple of thousand a monthweek, which isn’t bad going at all.

While they have had some success with this type of giving there are some challenges and, CEO Joanna Fortune told me that “a text campaign requires a lot of advertising and PR to make it work and this costs money.  We were lucky with our first campaign in that it was a live televised appeal so it didn’t costs us anything to run and the networks waived their charges for it.  The networks are reluctant to waive their fee on an ongoing basis though they may consider requests to do this for a specific campaign time period of a week or so.  To Russia With Love is highly cognisant of all costs associated with campaigns especially in these current times so we cannot invest in PR to really promote our text campaigns like they need to be to make them as successful as the first one”

Meanwhile Third Sector Magazine in the UK reports that “four fifths of text donations reaches good causes”. The article states that:

Research by the Text Donation Campaign Group, a coalition supported by the Charities Aid Foundation and the Institute of Fundraising that lobbies for cuts in charges, revealed the following charges:

A £1 text donation through Three results in 95p going to charity, but only 80p of the same donation through T-Mobile reaches the good cause. T-Mobile passes on 90 per cent of £3 and £5 donations. Charities receive 90 per cent of money donated through O2, Orange and Vodafone, and 89 per cent fromVirgin.

Operators have up to now waived charges for big charity campaigns such as Comic Relief and absorbed charges for charities supported by their corporate social responsibility strategies, but their fees have made it difficult for other charities to use text fundraising.

O2 lowered its fees last year, with Vodafone, Virgin and Orange making changes this year so that more of the money was passed on. On average, 91 per cent of a £5 text donation given through any major operator now reaches the recipient charity.

The campaign group’s leader, Joe Saxton, estimated that good causes could raise £100m a year through text donations in five years’ time.

He said it would be interesting to see whether charities publicised the percentage of donated money they received from each mobile operator, which could put pressure on providers with higher charges to lower their fees, or stated the least amount the good cause could receive from a text donation.

Louise Richards, director of policy and campaigns at the Institute of Fundraising, called for a fixed fee. “For donors, it’s really important to know that the majority of their money is going straight to the charity, not to the operators,” she said.

2 thoughts on “Textraising – follow up

  1. Thanks for sharing, Conor. A few months back I visited the Terra Cotta Warriors Exhibit in D.C. At the end of the exhibit, National Geographic had posted a call to action to text in donations in support of their work to make artifacts like these accessible to all. It seemed so simple, yet with the potential to be very turnkey, and I presume it is something they are implementing with other exhibits. If you or any of your followers have access to someone with National Geographic, I’d love to hear a status report.

    • Hi Katie,
      Not sure I have anyone in National Geographic reading, but I will certainly go ask them about it and see if they reply to me. Thanks for commenting again, hope you are well

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