NFP Campaign Urges Telcos to Assist in Mobile Giving
16 March 2012 at 9:58 am
Flickr image: Some rights reserved by alex.ragone
Australia’s Not for Profits are urging telcos to do more to help the sector use mobile telephone technology to raise funds.
NFP umbrella organisation, the Community Council of Australia, has launched a campaign calling on the telcos to use their technology and their reach to help establish a Mobile Giving (giving via text message) platform in Australia.
Donating via text is huge in the UK, Canada and the UK – after the Haiti earthquake, the American Red Cross raised almost $25m in donations in two weeks, from text messages alone!
CCA Chair Tim Costello and CCA CEO David Crosbie have kicked off the campaign saying the sector needs to harnesses mobile and wireless technology so that it is quick and easy to make tax deductible donations to approved charities, through any mobile phone without having to provide any personal information.
Under the scheme they says a NFP organisation or a specific fundraising campaign is given a shortcode (like a phone number) and a keyword (for example, EMPOWER). A quick text message including the keyword and a preferred donation amount (usually $5 or $10) is sent to the shortcode number, the donation is passed on to the charity in full, and the donation amount is added to a phone bill or deducted from a pre-paid balance.
Tax receipts for donations would be available online, and there would be no need to send any personal information, bank account or credit card details.
The CCA says Mobile Giving has been operating in the US, Canada and the UK with quite a bit of success for a few years now.
It says the Mobile Giving Foundation, which operates in the USA and Canada, works as the link between the fundraisers, the telcos and the givers, providing a back office function that takes away any onerous administrative work from telco providers.
CAA says Australia has not harnessed this technology yet, but with 6 million more mobile phone subscribers than people in this country, and a profitable telco market, now is the time to take a serious look at starting a widepsread mobile giving platform in Australia.
David Crosbie says clearly a lot of work needs to be done before Mobile Giving gets off the ground in Australia.
“But if we can harness the combined support of government, the Not for Profit sector, maybe the Mobile Giving Foundation and of course the telcos, it could be big.”
Pro Bono Australia began discussions with Australian telcos in 2003 to try to engage them in a simple system to allow donations via SMS on mobile phones.
In 2005, 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 companies involved were: Telstra; Optus; Vodafone; 3; Orange; Virgin Mobile; AAPT; Primus Telecom; Austar; SimPlus; m8 telecom; B Digital; DigiPlus; and People Telecom.
But little has happened since then.
CCA has begun an online poll to gauge the sector’s interest in Mobile Giving at http://nfppulse.com.au/