Text donations increased by a third last year, report reveals

Figures from the regulator the Phone-paid Services Authority show donations by SMS were £49.6m in the year to the end of March, up from £37.5m in the previous year

Text donations: up to almost £50m
Text donations: up to almost £50m

Donations to charity by text grew by about a third last year to just under £50m, the latest figures show.

Data published by the regulator the Phone-paid Services Authority shows that charity donations by premium SMS totalled £49.6m in the year to the end of March, compared with £37.5m in the previous year.

The PSA’s annual market review, which was drawn up by the research firm Analysys Mason and published on Tuesday, says the increase was accounted for by large biannual telethon events, such as Comic Relief, occurring during the most recent year and an increase the maximum donation limit from £20 to £30.

The donation limit, which was increased in late 2018, helped to push up the value of the average donation and incentivised telethon organisers to more actively promote text donation as a donation method, the report says.

It adds that the increase in charity donations was a factor in the overall value of the phone-paid services market increasing from £540.5m in 2017/18 to £630.9m last year.

The figures were calculated by using returns data from the networks, an online consumer survey of more than 8,700 people, in-depth interviews with industry participants and market modelling.

The report says that up to 80 per cent of charity text donations are made during telethons, and almost two-thirds of survey respondents that said they had made a donation by text in the past year said they did so to support a telethon.

But the PSA said the value of charity donations made by text was expected to fall to £43m in 2019/20 because there would be fewer large telethon events during the year.

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