ITV’s Christmas fundraising appeal Text Santa raised a record £8.5m for three charities in 2015 – the highest amount since the broadcaster launched the annual appeal five years ago.
This year’s appeal, which ran from 1 December, raised £8.4m during a three-hour television programme on 18 December and an extra £100,000 since it was broadcast. The fundraising total in 2014 was £6.2m, which was also the previous high.
The money raised will be shared equally between Macmillan Cancer Support, the international development charity Save the Children and Make-A-Wish UK, which grants wishes to children and young people with life-threatening conditions. All operating costs and the programme itself were funded by ITV.
The programme included six charity films fronted respectively by the actors Julie Walters and Martin Clunes for Macmillan, the television presenters Bradley Walsh and Ant & Dec for Make-A-Wish, and the Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden and the former pop singer Myleene Klass for Save the Children.
A spokeswoman for ITV told Third Sector that the broadcaster did not seek applications from charities in 2015 but rather chose from the more than 90 organisations that had applied to receive funding from the 2014 appeal.
She said donations were still being received so the broadcaster did not expect to know the final total until February. She declined to give a breakdown of the proportion of donations that were made by text, phone and online respectively or how much had been raised individually by the appeal partners Primark, Vodafone and the department store Liberty. The fourth partner, Papa John's, raised £204,000 of the total amount, a spokesman for the pizza chain said.
The amount raised brings the total raised by Text Santa since its launch in 2011 to more than £29m for 21 charities.
Macmillan’s chief executive Lynda Thomas said in a statement in September that the cancer charity intended to use a third of the money raised through Text Santa to fund its nurses and support workers.
Peter Fincham, director of ITV, described the appeal as a fantastic achievement and said that 100 per cent of the money raised would go directly to the three beneficiary charities.