Don’t forget about mobile

Mobile donating is a way for supporters to donate to an organisation through a mobile device. At present, the most popular means for mobile donating, in terms of volume, comes in through SMS.



Inbound SMS – which is usually achieved using print or outdoor advertising for your call to action – is a great way to get extra donations for causes and events.

Save the Children – Inbound SMS fundraising

Successful campaigns are made up of a combination of fundraising solutions and brilliant creative, such as Save the Children- Christmas Jumper Day UK , where teams were invited to fundraise by sticking on a silly Christmas jumper, taking a selfie and using the photos to ask their friends to donate via text using a keyword (such as your team name).

Save the Children created a Text Donation Leader Board, which showed the amount of money your team had raised and your position on the leader board.

Text to donate

In Australia, this way of asking for donations isn’t widely available as it is in US, UK or Canada, where the Mobile Giving Foundation – a platform that supports this kind of fundraising – facilitates the service. The Mobile Giving Foundation says that text donations often outpace other online donor acquisition by a factor of 3:1 (Mobile Giving Discussion Paper, 2012).

The reason the SMS to Donate platform is so successful overseas is that donors don’t have to give any personal or credit card information – their details are already known by the phone company. All you do is text back the keyword for your Charity and that’s it! The donation is a set amount of $5 or $10 that you choose and is charged to your monthly mobile account.

    Santa_SMS                          RedCross_SMS


SMS donations in Australia

In Australia, the Telco Foundation and GiveEasy have provided charities with the platforms to use SMS donations over the past three years.

The Telco Foundation (Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, OpenMarket and Telco Together) just finished a Premium SMS trial in Australia (October 2015 – October 2016), which included 15 top Australian charities. These charities had the chance to include a $5 SMS “Call To Action” in their campaigns for donors to text back the selected keyword (e.g. SUPPORT) to a specific phone number and a donation of $5 would be charged to their mobile bill. There is no publicly available list of which 15 charities got the opportunity to participate in the trial, but from our network and what we’ve seen in the market, we know that Vinnies, Red Cross, Unicef, Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Salvation Army and Oxfam were included.

Some examples of the trial campaigns are:

  • Salvation Army – Carol’s at the Domain Campaign: On screen at the event, mentioned during the TV broadcast and donors also got a letter from the Director informing those people present at the domain that they could text HOPE to donate from their Mobile phones.
  • Oxfam – “Laughter is infectious; Water doesn’t have to be”: Attendees of Melbourne International Comedy Festival Gala or people watching on TV, were encouraged to text SMILE to donate $5 to support Oxfam.

We still don’t know the results of the Premium SMS trial, but we found on the Telco Together Foundation Annual Report 2016, that throughout the broadcast of the Oxfam – Melbourne International Comedy Festival Gala, 20 different mention/ calls-to-action were made on camera by some of the Australia’s most popular comedians, and were supported by a social media and outdoor marketing campaign.

By the end of this campaign, Oxfam raised $62,500 from 12,500 texts, as well as acquiring 8000 new leads.

SMS Fundraising Platforms

GiveEasy, a very well known fundraising platform in Australia, provides an SMS donation solution that is working its way into the Australian market. GiveEasy offers both Inbound and Outbound SMS options and is being used by over 250 Non-For-Profit Organisations. GiveEasy has raised over AUD$4 Million dollars in SMS donations over the past three years.

“Donating via SMS is an amazingly effective way of raising funds for organisations big or small, either from inbound and outbound SMS,” says Jeremy Tobias, CEO of GiveEasy. “We have been involved with a significant number of fundraisers ranging from natural disasters to live events.”

With the GiveEasy platform, after a supporter has donated once, they never have to fill in a form again (unless their credit card expires). Donations to any charity take only a few seconds and the donation amount is unlimited.

First-time donors only need to click a link to a secure mobile donation page, then fill in a form with their information and credit card details or PayPal, just once. After that, the donor can respond with just a text and their card is debited.

What we love about the GiveEasy platform is that every new organisation that uses that platform benefits from the fundraising done by charities that have come before them. If a donor has given to ANY charity using GiveEasy, their supporter just needs to reply with a keyword and confirm and they are done in four seconds.

“Using the GiveEasy SMS donations platform allows supporters to donate quickly and easy whether they are watching TV, listening to the radio, on Facebook or at a live event,” says Jeremy. “The growth has been very pleasing over the past year. We’re excited about what 2017 will bring.”

Inbound SMS Fundraising


BigFreeze_SMSInbound SMS donations generate excellent results when advertised on TV, radio, live events and social media.  GiveEasy’s average inbound SMS donation is $45.

Cure for MND Foundation at the Big Freeze at the G has raised in excess of $500,000 each year for two years straight.

Other organisations such as Cancer Council NSW with their Dancing with the Stars event, and Australian Working Dogs, are also regular users of inbound SMS.

Outbound SMS Fundraising

Outbound SMS through GiveEasy is an excellent platform to use for appeals at:

  • Tax time
  • Christmas or
  • Emergency Appeals.

Mobile donation forms are pre-filled for first-time SMS donors, making the experience easy. If supporters have donated via SMS previously, they are asked to reply with either a keyword or an amount ONLY, so they can complete their donation in seconds.

Organisations such as Australian Red Cross, Oxfam, Amnesty, CARE, Make a Wish Australia are among the charities that have successfully used the platform. GiveEasy say the approximate average donation is $65 – but it will vary across sectors and depend on the urgency of your ask.

SMS works

SMS donation platforms are excellent tools to ensure money is going straight to your charity, to collect data from new donors for follow-ups, and for generating leads to convert into regular donors. But best of all, it offers quick access to donors during emergencies.

Did you know that mobile SMS has a 96% read rate? You won’t beat that contact rate on any other channel.

We look forward to getting our hands on more results from the Telco Foundation Premium SMS trial to give you greater insight into the good use of mobile payments. But until then, if you’d like to share your experience, please comment below.