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Mobile Fundraising moving up

With mobile phone text messaging no longer just a communication avenue for young people, more and more not-for-profits are soliciting campaign donations via SMS.

According to CTIA, the international association for wireless telecommunications, there are currently 270 million mobile phone subscribers in the United States. Ratings firm Nielsen found in 2008 that 59 per cent of users between 35 and 54 regularly send text messages, as compared with 37 per cent in 2007.

The United States organisation Share Our Strength, for example, recently launched a mobile text campaign, through which donors could contribute $US5 by texting ‘SHARE’ to a specific 5-digit code. The donation would appear on the donor’s monthly bill or be debited directly from the prepaid account balance.

Mobile donation campaigns that go through the Mobile Giving Foundation, who negotiated with wireless providers to waive fees for approved organisations, are no longer subject to carrier fees, which could be as high as 50 per cent of a mobile donation.

Due to the major reduction in fees, the advantages of mobile giving are attracting a growing number of not-for-profits, including the Salvation Army and the ASPCA.

Mobile giving, however, remains a small piece of overall charitable donation: only $US500,000 was donated in the US via SMS in 2008, compared with a reported total of $US306 billion in 2007.

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