Can mobile phone text messaging be used to significantly increase donations and communicate with supporters? Marie Curie is hoping to find the answer through a corporate partnership that runs through 2011.
The partnership is with Txtlocal, an "SMS delivery provider" that enables businesses to communicate with thousands of their customers through text messaging. Txtlocal has agreed to provide its services to Marie Curie for free as part of the partnership.
According to Victoria Ludlow, head of digital at Marie Curie, the rapidly changing nature of technology means charities have to experiment constantly to see which methods are effective for soliciting donations. "We have been dipping our toes in to see how our supporters are feeling about using text," she says. "We've certainly found that the appetite to use these channels has grown."
Marie Curie first used mobile fundraising in a major way for 2010's Great Daffodil Appeal. The partnership will explore how texts can be used to garner more donations, but also to see if communicating with supporters by text is welcome. "If someone has run the London Marathon for us and they are exhausted, should we send them a text at the end to say 'our tent is round the corner, come and get a free massage'? We'll be asking questions like this," Ludlow says.
Darren Daws, managing director of Txtlocal, says the partnership should enable Marie Curie to communicate better. "Due to the personal nature of texts and their ease of use, we find on a regular basis that many promotions are viral and often reach friends, relatives and colleagues of the original recipient," he says.