FUNDRAISING NEWS: Service expands pledging by text message

Emma Maier

Charities will soon be able to make more use of mobile phone messaging to raise funds and develop donor relations, thanks to a service launched last week by new media specialist Frank's Ice Store and its parent company Bluefrog.

The service, known as 'Thumb', will enable charities to respond to text messages from individual donors and take part in a two-way exchange for the first time. They will also be able to send pictures and video clips of their work to engage donors by showing how their money is spent.

Like the other existing services, Thumb also allows donors to give up to £1.50 by replying to a message from the charity or responding to a text number given on a charity advert or poster. The pledge is added to the bill at the end of the month or deducted from pay-as-you-go credit.

Text message fundraising could become more widespread when the £1.50 upper limit for donations set by providers is increased to £5 or £10 later this year.

"The service is fast and cheap - messages cost between 5p and 7p, which is much less than a direct mail pack, and a response can be sent in 20 seconds," said John Wallbank, head of planning at Frank's Ice Store. "It is particularly good for emergency appeals."

The method was first used by Comic Relief as part of its Sport Relief campaign last May, and this was quickly followed by a similar service from Mdonate.

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