Charities are not keeping up with surge in text donations, survey suggests

The latest Digital Donor Review by the online platform Give as you Live finds that only a quarter of charities use SMS as a method of fundraising

Text giving
Text giving

Donations by text message have increased in popularity over the past year but only about a quarter of charities use SMS as a method of fundraising, according to a new survey by the fundraising platform Give as you Live.

Give as you Live, which enables online shoppers to donate to charity using money from retailers’ marketing budgets, surveyed more than 3,100 people for its latest Digital Donor Review.

The proportion of people who said that donating by text was their preferred method of giving increased from 9 per cent in 2012 to 11 per cent last year.

And the proportion of people who said they preferred to donate by purchasing items from charity websites  increased to 9.5 per cent from 8 per cent in 2012.

Sponsorship remained the most popular method of donating, chosen by 22 per cent of people, although this was one percentage point down on 2012.

The proportion of people who said they preferred to make donations online remained steady at 21.5 per cent, but those saying that giving by direct debit was their preferred method fell from 21 per cent to 18 per cent.

But despite the growing preference among donors to give by text, a separate Give as you Live survey of 375 charity workers this month found that only 26 per cent used SMS to fundraise and 83 per cent did not have a mobile strategy.

Polly Gowers, founder and chief executive of Give as you Live, said other sectors, such as retail and social media, had made mobile a priority in recent years.

"However, our research suggests that charities are currently left behind," she said. "The third sector needs to work together to embrace mobile and use it to increase charitable support."

Give as you Live has predicted that 60 per cent of the population will be surfing the internet using a smartphone by 2015 and that charities need to understand the intentions of people who visit their websites.

The Digital Donor Review says that "making a donation" was the top reason for visiting charity sites, with 21 per cent agreeing with this statement, but also that 10 per cent of visits were to make a purchase from the charity.

Andrew Ball, director of fundraising at the children’s communication charity I Can, said the survey underlined the important role that digital platforms sould have in current and future fundraising strategies.

He said I Can had launched a text donation option this year and invested in the development of an app.

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