FUNDRAISING NEWS: Children in Need in net success

Fifty per cent more people used the digital media to donate money to this year's Children in Need than in 2001.

Around 50,000 people pledged £1 million via interactive TV and the internet, which accounted for 7.5 per cent of the total raised on the Children in Need night. The total for the appeal currently stands at £13.5 million.

Funds were raised through the official Children in Need web site, www.bbc.co.uk/pudsey, and the BBC Radio 2 web site which had a specially designed fundraising page where people could read about the appeal and donate.

Money was also pledged for the first time via an interactive TV service, with around two-thirds of the £1 million raised coming via this route.

"The biggest development this year was the launch of our interactive TV service," said David Ramsden, head of finance and operations at Children in Need. "This channel works especially well for us because people don't have to interrupt their TV viewing to make a donation."

Viewers with access to Sky Digital services followed prompts from presenters during the TV programme on 15 November.

Once they pressed the interactive button on their remote control, supporters were taken through to a donation page where they could input credit card details to donate money to the appeal.

Ramsden said that the charity hoped to grow its use of new-media significantly in the years to come. "Our philosophy is to give people as many opportunities to support us as possible," he said. "We have to make sure that we're utilising every channel we can and, as this year shows, people are getting very comfortable with using digital media to support a charity campaign."

All donations via the digital media were handled by BT, which also provided the telephone service for the appeal.

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