SMS Fundraising Finds Joint Telco Effort
10 January 2005 at 12:01 pm
Australia’s mobile phone operators joined forces to help drive donations towards the Asian tsunami and earthquake appeal – using SMS text messaging in an Australian fundraising first!
The ‘Australia Unites’ initiative has seen telecommunications companies set up a system where mobile customers can send an SMS to donate money to the appeal.
The companies involved are: Telstra; Optus; Vodafone; 3; Orange; Virgin Mobile; AAPT; Primus Telecom; Austar; SimPlus; m8 telecom; B Digital; DigiPlus; and People Telecom.
It’s the first time the Telcos have joined forces to enable the SMS fundraising on all mobile phones.
Several Australian charities have individually used SMS texting to accept donations but they have not been able to link the process with the service providers billing system.
In May last year savvy Aussie mobile phone users were able to download the Salvo’s Red Shield Appeal icon to their phone and Telstra and iTouch donated the download cost of $2.95 to help the youth on the streets.
For the weekend telethon fundraiser for World Vision, three special donation numbers were created, each with a dollar value attributed to them. The relief effort donation numbers were:
· 193 002 to donate $2
· 193 005 to donate $5
· 193 010 to donate $10
Australians were able to send a free SMS with the word “unite” to the special number to have the corresponding amount donated to the relief effort. The donation would then be added to their next mobile phone bill or deducted from their pre-paid mobile account balance.
The initiative was run in conjunction with Channel Seven, Nine and Ten’s ‘Australia Unites – Reaching out to Asia’ relief concert and Channel Nine’s coverage of the tsunami appeal cricket match.
Luisa Ford from Optus and representing all the Australian Telcos says so far the SMS campaign has raised more than $1.15 million for World Vision.
Ford says the initiative was a massive task which meant all the operators had to reconfigure their networks to one system to allow the SMS number to work.
She says they worked around the clock for four days to have it operating for the Telethon.
She says Legion Interactive providing the total aggregation and set-up of the premium SMS number service for all carriers involved.
Based on the success of the project, she says the Telcos will probably look at the system for future domestic fundraising campaigns.
Pro Bono Australia has been in discussions with the mobile phone networks for almost two years for a donation system using SMS texting – and our talks may get a better hearing in the New Year.