Category Archives: charity

Egyptians Give Nearly Half a Million Mobile Donations During Ramadan

Over a quarter of a million people – 284,632 – donated $484,702 (£311,625) to good causes during Ramadan in Egypt this year, a 462 per cent increase on 2012’s figure.  

$241,000 was raised in the last two days alone for charities including the 57357 Children’s Cancer Hospital, the Egyptian Food Bank and Resala, via TA Telecom’s Megakheir SMS service. Megakheir processes 95 per cent of all mobile giving in the country.

“Donating to charity has always been an integral part of Ramadan, however, the proliferation of mobile technology that the region has seen in recent years has provided the people of Egypt with a highly way of channelling their generosity,” said Amr Shady, CEO and co-founder of TA Telecom. “SMS donation platforms allow charities and NGOs to reach a wider audience, generate more funds and ultimately make a greater difference to society.”

Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/egyptians-give-nearly-half-million-mobile-donations-during-ramadan#kGZzJpe0bimxTMLP.99

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Spotlight: Open Fundraising

Open Fundraising, an ad agency that works exclusively with charities, found itself in a perfect storm three years ago. Just as mobile was becoming the personal communications platform of choice for consumers, the government said that it wouldn’t tax mobile services and operators agreed that they were keen to give as much as possible to charities seeking a new form of revenue here. 

This, with the fact that “no one else was doing the same thing”, meant Open Fundraising found itself in the position to help its clients use the mobile channel to increase giving and open up communications with supporters. “We didn’t set out to be a tech company – we did this because no one else could,” says James Briggs, creative director of Open Fundraising. 

“Out of nowhere came a really amazing payment system, with a response mechanism for traditional media,” he says. “We thought, ‘wow, what would happen if we tried this out for someone we work with?’. We took out a full-page ad for Christian Aid in the Guardian’s Saturday magazine explaining that every 45 seconds a child dies of malaria and asked people to text ‘net’ to donate. 

“The initial response prompted us to try the same in other papers and then on trains and other places where people are hanging around with phones in their hand. This is how we can be sure that people use their phones while they’re on the toilet,” he adds. “Before we knew it, we had thousands of new donors all putting their hands up and saying ‘I want to help children dying from malaria’.” 

Premium-rate hangover 

As a new form of giving, the effort was not without its challenges. The hangover from the heady days of Crazy Frog meant all SMS campaigns were regulated by the PhonePayPlus trade body, which specified a mandatory STOP opt-out. “But for charities”, says Briggs, “this was not a good message. It was like we were saying ‘we don’t want you’.” Briggs headed down to meet PhonePayPlus with the head of individual giving from UNICEF – which has been “blazing a trail” in mobilising the third sector –  to put the case for an alternative system. 

PhonePayPlus agreed to change the rules so charities are exempt from having to communicate STOP every month and can instead give the option to SKIP a gift rather than cancel. “We were excited to test that system,” he says. This messaging system is now used by 18 of the top 20 UK charities. 

How big is this opportunity?  

As early as 2010, explains the company’s MD, Tim Longfoot, the Red Nose Day campaign processed 250,000 donations online, 750,000 using the traditional telethon mechanism, while 4.2m people texted their contribution. Today £150,000 worth of donations pass through Open Fundraising’s Mobilise platform each month and within a year of its launch, the agency expects to have taken more than £1m in mobile gifts. Longfoot says the value and volume is doubling each month too.  

“70 per cent of what Open does is still writing to older people,” he says. “The reason we’ve seen such extraordinary growth in our mobile operations is because it’s easy. On the same device that money is taken, communication is overseen. People actually read texts; no one reads corporate charity emails. And the option to skip puts the control firmly in the hands of the donor.” 

Donors text back 

Open Fundraising ran a campaign for Breakthrough Breast Cancer as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to “put health information into purses and handbags”. The integrated campaign started with print ads to request information, which was fulfilled with a phone call and followed by monthly reminders to help women follow the advice. “Then we started receiving text replies from women whose lives had been touched by cancer. We were surprised by this, and then we realised we really shouldn’t have been,” Longfoot says. “This is a really personal interaction on exactly the right platform.” 

So what about other types of mobile communications? “We are not here to sell you an app,” says Paul de Gregorio, head of mobile with the agency. “That might change as smartphone connections get faster, but SMS is number one for us on mobile today. Simon Cowell knows just how powerful text and TV is. Mobile blurs on and offline, traditional with newer channels.” 

Making activists of Middle England 

“Our Friends of the Earth bee campaign – where you text ‘bees’ to give £3 and receive bee-friendly flower seeds as a thank you – proved that we were creating activists in ‘Middle England’, not just ‘bored young people’, as had been one accusation,” he says. “People also criticise this as ‘armchair activism’, but it’s exactly the same thing whether you are approached in the street or respond via text to a print ad. In fact, smartphones actually make giving into a mass market.” 

“We’re an ad agency using all the marketing tricks to achieve good things,” he adds. “I like advertising – so to be able to do it for good is just amazing. This is the future of where fundraising and change will happen.”

Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/spotlight-open-fundraising#MrTtv2jmX1BRVUVi.99

JustGiving Just got Easier with One-touch Mobile Donations

After its mobile traffic overtook desktop for the first time back in April, JustGiving has made it even easier for smartphone and tablet users to make donations to their favourite causes. 

The JustGiving mobile website has been updated so it remembers donors’ credit or debit card details after their first donation. It is hoped that this ‘one-touch’ process will encourage repeat giving. The additional Gift Aid option has also been simplified to ensure more UK tax payers opt in. 


JustGiving anticipates that by 2014, around 70 per cent of all traffic will come from mobile devices. Its Android and iOS apps will be brought in line with this at a later date, the organisation said.


“The way that people give is changing – more than ever, people want to give wherever and whenever they want, on any device,” said Lee Marshall, product manager at JustGiving. “In a world full of distractions, it’s vital for us to continue to make giving as easy and intuitive as possible. Our next challenge now is to encourage mobile donors to give more, and more often, to their favourite causes.”


Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/justgiving-just-got-easier-one-touch-mobile-donations#ZZYqYCV6iGb3Dd9S.99

PayPal and Jadu Launch Weejot Charity Web Apps

Jadu has launched an app creation platform integrated with PayPal’s Express Checkout to help charities create web apps that can quickly process tablet and smartphone donations.

Weejot was launched with the Alzheimer’s Society by Suraj Kika, CEO at Jadu, who demonstrated the platform. “It allows non-technical people to build apps in real-time,” he said. “You can deliver to any device without app store approval. I’ve just built an app in one and a half minutes.”

The apps can help fundraising managers capture data on who is donating, where, using GPS, and why. They are responsive and adaptive to different screen sizes, including tablets, but don’t work on older handsets. If charities have developers in-house, they can build their own custom templates, but as the platform is free for a year, and negotiable thereafter, it is designed to be used by chairities without large budgets. The platform is cloud-based and open source so any updates made by developers can be shared with the whole community.

Cardless payments

PayPal currently has 123m users and enables people to pay on the platform without entering their card details. Using PayPal, charities can build in monthly donations so users can schedule payments like a DirectDebit. Although Kika said there were no plans to integrate with other payment sources, developers can wire in their own. The apps natively supports Giftaid.

John Lunn, global director of PayPal Developer, said that PayPal already has more than 300,000 not-for-profits collecting donations on its platform, processing $4.6bn every year, but only 3 per cent are currently coming from mobile.

He suggested that future applications could see charities have NFC tags or QR codes on street fundraisers’ clipboards to make it simpler and feel safer to sign-up in the street. He also highlighted that by using PayPal Now, charities could take on-the-spot chip and pin payments using a mobile device with the chip and pin reader. “We don’t want to interfere in someone’s decision to do something by putting too much in the middle. Weejot Donate makes simple impulse things easy.”

Download, tweet and like

Users can download the web apps to their phone, whether that is singly, or as an ‘app store’ from the relevant charity. The charities can add in Twitter and Facebook automation so users can either communicate to others that they have made a donation, or like the Facebook page. They can also ask users to tell them why they made the donation.

Liz Monks, director of fundraising at the Alzheimer’s Society, said that charities need to use technology in ways that suits the donor. She pointed out that during the recent Comic Relief campaign, more than 60 per cent of donations were made on mobile between 9 and 10pm.

Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and first published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/paypal-and-jadu-launch-weejot-charity-web-apps

Oxfam and Coldplay Ask Scoopshot Users to Help End Land Grabs

Oxfam and Coldplay are asking mobile photographers to help create a crowdsourced music video using Scoopshot to call for an end to land grabs by governments, banks and other investors.

Scoopshot has a network of photographers in 170 countries who have been asked to show displacement in their lives by moving a personal object or task done in their home to somewhere unfamiliar. Coldplay’s music video director, Mat Whitecross, will curate and stitch together the film and photography submitted via Scoopshot’s apps and Oxfam’s website to play alongside Coldplay’s ‘In My Place’.

The film will be launched in April as the World Bank convenes its annual Spring meetings. Campaigners say that the World Bank is in a unique position to change the situation as an investor in land and an adviser to companies on buying and selling land. This is the first time that Scoopshot’s crowdsourcing service has been used for this kind of campaign.

Oxfam’s Campaigns Director, Ben Philips said: “Campaigning is all about putting yourself in someone else’s place we know that when we unite and stand up against global injustice we can make a real difference”

Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/oxfam-and-coldplay-ask-scoopshot-users-help-end-land-grabs