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Text donations increase in popularity, driven by AIME’s work in the UK

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The Association for Interactive Media and Entertainment (AIME) has been pivotal in facilitating collaboration between charities, mobile network operators and their intermediaries to test an increase in level of donations sent via a text short code, which are donated directly through the donor’s mobile phone bill.

Donating by text has increased in popularity with both donors and charities over the past two years due to its simplicity and ease for donors, as well as the knowledge that the full donation goes directly to charity. £122m of text donations were generated in 2016. Generally this volume came from £5 and £10 requests. However, they were generating a lower average donation value compared to other channels.

Through one of the Associations working groups, broadcasters, mobile network operators and charities developed the possibility of increasing the donation level.  AIME member, BBC Children in Need, was the first to trial offering an increased text donation of £20.

Text donations have proved to be the most popular way of donating during the annual Appeal: “People love the ease and the immediacy of giving by text but we have historically restricted the amount of time we promote text donating during the campaign because it produces the lowest average donation value compared to online and phone based donations,”  says Kerry Howard, Head of Operations Appeal at BBC Children in Need.

“This is because there was a maximum ask level at £10.  We tested increasing the ask level to £20 whilst keeping £10 and £5 to give our supporters the choice.  The great news was that up to 30% of donors chose to give £20.  The addition of a £20 price-point in text giving generated an additional £1 million for BBC Children in Need in 2016 compared to the year before.  We will certainly be continuing to focus on this channel which is clearly proving very popular with our audience.”

AIME member, Fonix, which developed the technology to enable BBC Children in Need to test the £20 price, are delighted that Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day 2017 also tested the higher donation level.

Kat Heath, Product Manager at Comic Relief has says: “We’ve offered supporters the chance to donate £10 via part of the telethon for the last few years, this year we promoted a £20 price point alongside the traditional £10. We saw a fantastic uptake with 40% of supporters choosing to text into the £20 price point. We’re delighted with the reaction and will continue to work with Fonix and AIME to ensure that our supporters can donate the amount they want to using the mechanisms they wish to.”

AIME has worked with its mobile network operator members O2, Vodafone, Three and EE to ensure that charity campaigns are successful and new ways of requesting donations can be trialled.

Mobile operators generously pass 100% of their customer’s donations through to the charities and are great supporters of giving by text. Charities are also able to increase the donation amount by 25% through a Gift Aid reclaim of the income tax that a donor has paid.

AIME will continue to foster new initiatives for charities and our other members.

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