Fundraisers’ Telco Campaign for SMS Giving
Thursday, 24th October 2013 at 10:48 am
National fundraising peak body, Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA), is leading a sector-wide push for the use of premium SMS, via Australia’s telcos, as a viable fundraising medium.
The move comes as mobile donation platform, GiveEasy launched its own SMS giving system earlier this week ahead of the telcos.
“The charity sector is uniting through FIA to tackle premium SMS issue once and for all,” FIA Chief Executive Officer Rob Edwards said.
“Barriers to the use of premium SMS by the charitable sector include current telco charges, infrastructure and billing issues, and Australia’s Not for Profits are keen to work together to find a solution.”
A working group, including 16 organisations, has already held an inaugural meeting and is currently in the process of pooling information and previous learnings to develop a strategy for success.
“FIA is pleased to coordinate this initiative on behalf of the sector. We look forward to helping make wide-spread and cost-effective access to premium SMS services a reality for all Not for Profits,” Edwards said.
“While previous attempts have been made to bring premium SMS services to the charitable sector economically, to date there hasn’t been a whole-of-sector approach.
“This new initiative brings together many of Australia’s leading charities and other interested stakeholders, all of whom are deeply committed to making it work.
“Australia is woefully behind most in the use of premium SMS for donations and it’s high time we caught up. Premium SMS has proven to be a highly successful way to acquire, engage and upgrade supporters worldwide and there should be no reason why Australia can’t follow suit.”
On the back of the international success of SMS giving, GiveEasy has launched its SMS platform.
GiveEasy’s Business Development Manager Jeremy Tobias said the Australian SMS giving platform gives charities a giving solution via mobile texting that the telcos have so far not come to the party with.
Tobias said the system was simple for both the donor and the charities.
“The system provides charities with a unique mobile phone number that can be used for any fundraising appeal and allows mobile phone donors to make a fast donation by just typing in the dollar amount within the SMS,” he said.
Australia’s Not for Profits have been urging telcos to do more to help the sector use mobile telephone technology to raise funds for more than a decade.
Not for Profit peak body, the Community Council for Australia (CCA) 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 back in March 2012.
Donating via text is huge in the UK, Canada and the US – after the Haiti earthquake, the American Red Cross raised almost $25million in donations in two weeks from text messages alone.
CCA CEO David Crosbie said he believed that while the telcos were slow to develop instant SMS giving they would eventually come to the party.
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 with the telcos since then.
Any charities or other sector stakeholders interested in adding information or input to the FIA working group should contact Nicole Mackey at FIA via firstname.lastname@example.org.