'Skip' option will be available to text donors from next month

People who donate regularly by text message will be able to miss a monthly payment without cancelling donations completely

Text donors will have skip option
Text donors will have skip option

People who donate regularly through mobile phones will be able to miss a monthly donation rather than stop it altogether from next month, the regulator has said.

PhonepayPlus, the premium-rate services regulator, which is part of the communications watchdog Ofcom, began a pilot scheme in March 2012 that enabled regular text donors to charities to text "skip" if they wanted to miss a monthly donation.

Before the pilot scheme, text donors could only choose to text "stop", which would end their monthly donation if, for example, they were unable to afford it that particular month.

The regulator said the skip option would become part of its rules governing SMS donations from March when the pilot scheme ends, but donors would still be offered the stop function every three months.

Charities that do not want to offer the skip facility would still have to offer donors the opportunity to text "stop" every month.

Charities will also no longer need to get approval from PhonepayPlus for transactions that are worth more than £4.50 in a one-week period.

The regulator said the pilot showed the changes were popular with donors and that fewer of them dropped out of donating when compared with commercial applications of the scheme.

Open Fundraising and Cymba, two fundraising companies that were involved in the pilot, told the regulator that £2.7m had been raised for charities from 164,000 donors through text donations since the pilot scheme was introduced.

But the regulator was unable to clarify how much of this was raised because of the skip facility.

Charities such as Save the Children have welcomed the pilot scheme. Save the Children said it recruited 5 per cent of all new donors in 2013 through text donations.

"The monthly option to stop or skip payments is clear and simple, and we can see that 40 per cent of donors who choose to skip three or more consecutive payments choose to donate again," said Annie Moreton, the charity’s deputy director of individual giving.

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