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Charities must restore confidence to unlock £1.7bn text donation opportunity, finds Fonix research

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Even though 93% of UK adults own a mobile device, to date, only 17% prefer using their handset to make a charity donation, new research released today from mobile payments specialist Fonix and One Poll reveals – beautifully illustrated in this infographic.

The UK market for mobile donations has a market potential of £1.7bn, however, the research found that when it comes to donating to charity, concerns over trust and harassment clearly influence the channels that consumers use.

The majority of consumers (33%) prefer to donate through a charity’s website or via direct debit (29%), 17% opt for mobile while just 4% prefer to pick up the phone.

For those that do donate via mobile – and let’s not underestimate it, its still quite a lot; 2015‘s Children in Need was a record breaker for mobile donations –  83% said that they choose mobile because of its convenience and simplicity.  However, despite the volume of text donations increasing eight% year on year there’s still more work to be done by charities and service providers to drive more confidence to unlock its full potential.

The research found that 54% of consumers don’t make text donations because they believe their mobile number will be passed on to a 3rd party and lead to unsolicited calls and messaging, while 41% said they just don’t trust mobile donations.

With the charity sector currently under fire over some charities marketing strategies being seen as harassing and exploitive, it’s clear that consumers want the choice for less actual contact with the charity, even though they donate.

Only 1.4% of donors said they wanted to receive update calls from their chosen charity while a third (34%) would prefer not to hear from the charity at all.  Most donors (41%) said they would prefer to receive email newsletters, 15% prefer postal communications, 7.4% like text message updates with 1.2% undecided.

Like the current charity sector, the broadcast sector has had to overcome its own consumer trust issues in recent years around paid for interactive services such as voting and competitions.  However, TV and radio services have adapted to embrace the channels that users enjoy interacting with broadcast formats and now, for example, attract up to 80% of interactions via text message, despite alternative and free channels also being available.

When implemented correctly mobile is highly effective at helping charities acquire donors, boost gift aid collection and support sophisticated CRM programs – with many great examples since it’s inception in 2009.

Rob Weisz, CEO, Fonix, one of the fastest growing tech companies in the UK,  said: “It’s immediately evident from the size of the mobile carrier billing market for charity donations that mobile is a channel which has an increasing appeal with consumers – the majority of which is untapped.

“The kicker however is that charities need to approach mobile with skill and build trust.  That starts with transparency in the donation process and planning the appropriate levels of post donation CRM.  When executed correctly, carrier billing can be the most effective and frictionless way of gathering donations and engaging with consumers at scale.”

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