Research - Text Giving
Text Giving is a new fundraising platform that allows donors to give to their favourite charity by sending a single SMS text message.
text giving, mobile giving, fundraising, fundraise, sms donation, text donations, mobile donations, telco together,
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Overseas experience

Mobile giving through Premium SMS was first launched in 2008 in the US, with one of the first campaigns being launched by then-presidential candidate Barack Obama, who urged his constituents to text donations to the Red Cross Disaster Relief fund as Hurricane Gustav approached New Orleans. Text giving gained widespread recognition as a fundraising channel after the Red Cross “Haiti Appeal” in 2010 – by far the most successful text-giving campaign, with more than 3 million donors using text messages to donate $32 million to the appeal. The success of this appeal revealed the potential of mobile giving to many not-for-profit organisations, and there have been many successful appeals in the US, UK, Canada and South Africa in the years since.

Text Giving in Australia

With over 30 million mobile subscribers currently active in Australia, it was acknowledged that the opportunity existed to ensure the not-for-profit sector is enabled to benefit from this technology-based giving trend, thereby creating a widespread, efficient & cost-effective way of reaching new donors and raising much needed funds.

A cross-carrier working group was formed by Telco Together Foundation in November 2014 with the goal of establishing a pilot program for Text Giving donations in Australia using PSMS.

This working group, consisting of representatives from Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and aggregator OpenMarket, selected 20 charities to participate in a two year pilot program which launched in early September 2015.

Australian Pilot Findings

Donor feedback

  • Donors are very positive about their experience using text giving to donate to their chosen charity, are very likely to use the platform again, and are very likely to recommend it to their friends and family. Typically aged between 25-34, donors see text giving as an easy way to give and like that the donation is applied to their mobile phone bill.
  • If available, a majority of donors would be willing to donate more than $5 per text to their chosen charity, and if available almost half would consider becoming a regular giver via text giving.
  • A large majority of donors do not report any significant difficulties in using the text giving platform. Those donors that do experience difficulties are typically related to the conduct of contact from charities after the donation was made.

Charity feedback

  • Text giving is desired by charities as a way of attracting new donors and a different demographic of donors. When the platform is coupled with follow-up contact, charities report that donor conversion to regular givers is higher than traditional fundraising channels.
  • Charity satisfaction with the channel are heavily influenced by their marketing effectiveness and campaign execution, as opposed to the technical capability of the text giving platform.
  • Charities report that they receive minimal complaints from donors who use text giving. Complaints received relate primarily to after donation contact by the charities themselves.


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