The mobile phone provider Vodafone and the donation website JustGiving have launched a new service that they say will enable all UK-registered charities to raise money through text donations for free.
The companies say the new JustTextGiving service, which is launched today, will allow charities to set up text message fundraising for free and collect donations without any commission or charges being taken off.
Smaller charities in particular have often found the associated costs of using text donation services prohibitive.
The companies say JustTextGiving will incur no set-up or running costs for charities, no commission will be taken and no extra charges will be added to donations, no matter which mobile phone network the donor uses.
To use the service, a charity must register for a unique code at www.justtextgiving.co.uk. The code will be publicised by the charity, inviting donors to send donations.
This message would have to contain the unique code and the amount the donor wanted to give, and then be sent to 70070.
The donor would then receive a text message that thanks them and contains a URL; by visiting that web page, they can sign a Gift Aid declaration and opt in to share their contact details with the charity.
Charities that are members of JustGiving will be assigned up to 10 of the unique codes. Charities that are not can sign up for one.
There are also plans to launch the service to all individual fundraisers from 20 June.
Guy Laurence, chief executive of Vodafone, which has invested £5m in the new technology so far, said the new fundraising method meant that people would be able to donate spontaneously.
A spokeswoman for Vodafone said the idea had come from Laurence after he saw how much could be raised for charities through text donation campaigns.
Anne-Marie Huby, managing director of JustGiving, said: "The future success of the charitable sector depends on making giving relevant for the next generation of donors and fundraisers – with mobiles a pocket essential, the ability to harness the power of a simple text is game-changing for the country’s charities."