Let your fingers do the giving

Advances in technology have rapidly changed the way we pay for things. Whether it’s tap and go credit cards, in-app payments or mobile wallets, the benefits for consumers are endless. But on the other side of the coin, charities dependent on real currency and street collections fighting against a huge range of other organisations and causes for the donated dollar are starting to suffer as cash carrying declines. So what are the options to prise open increasingly electronic wallets? 

Charities have approached this problem in different ways. The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation armed some of their collectors with mobile EFTPOS machines during its recent appeal. Most bank apps also offer the ability to pay anyone easily and ASB’s app even allows customers to pay via phone number or email. And with the launch of mobile wallets like Semble, the ‘sorry, I’ve got no money on me’ excuse is a bit of a stretch these days. 

Txt donating is also an important part of the equation and Vodafone has just launched TXT2Givea new initiative by the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation and FundraiseOnline that aims to give charities a cost effective way to get donations via text.

After joining FundraiseOnline, charities choose a keyword and then they are good to go. Donators can then text the chosen keyword to 7003 to give $3, 7005 for $5 and 7010 for $10. 

The major difference with TXT2Give compared to similar services is the cost for the charities. Vodafone says it stands to make no money from it. Although the charities pay a monthly fee to FundraiseOnline and a five percent transaction fee per text (donating via credit card is between 1.5 percent and 1.8 percent, but it doesn’t charge a transaction fee). 

“TXT2Give is the only low cost text donation service on the market, and will make fundraising easier,” says Vodafone chief executive, Russell Stanners. “We understand that fundraising is hard work, and believe technology such as text can simplify the process.” 

Charities such as the Red Cross are already using TXT2Give.

“We have already used text successfully for our Red Alert appeal to support people affected by the Christchurch earthquakes. Vodafone customers donated a total of $740,000 after the 2010 and 2011 quakes – and we see huge potential for this new low cost option,” says Patrick Cummings, the general manager of fundraising for the New Zealand Red Cross. 

The launch of TXT2GIve follows the success of Vodafone UK’s JustTextGiving which started in 2011. JustTextGiving has raised a total of $20 million for over 18,000 charities so far. And with sites like Givealittle, which is owned by the Spark Foundation, it’s very easy to support a wide range of causes, not just registered charities. 

According to research undertaken by Vodafone, text fundraising works best as one part of a wider campaign with a ‘sense of urgency’, something Campbell Live has successfully tapped into with some of its fundraising efforts. 

Overseas, a startup called DipJar is trying to solve a similar problem with tipping. The creators made a device that can take tips straight from a credit or debit card and they see an opportunity for charities to get on board too. 

Other research suggests that charities should use more attractive collectors in order to get bigger donations. And who are we to argue with science. 

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