SMS continues to drive donations, particularly when combined with other emerging technologies, says Andrew Darling
Innovations in technology and the continuing consumer uptake of connected devices, such as tablets, smartphones and other portable communications devices, is driving change in the way donors interact with charitable organisations.
Indeed mobile has become an important addition to the arsenal of fundraising options available to charities of all sizes. Relatively quick and simple to set up a service, the ability to drive additional revenues to your usual fundraising channels has been well illustrated by the recent Disasters Emergency Committee's East Africa Drought Appeal. It has raised over £1,000,000 through the use of this tool - 500 per cent more than it has raised from texting in the past. Coupled with the fact more than 60 per cent of these donors responded to the Gift Aid response mechanism means SMS can pay dividends. Indeed, Polly Gilchrist, fundraising manager at the DEC, believes these results "lay to rest scepticism about whether texting works as a method of giving funds".
The DEC is not alone. Many UK charities and funders are already reaping the rewards of 'thinking internet first'. Some, such as Comic Relief, The Jamie Oliver Foundation and Unicef, have made big investments in this area, utilising the Web, mobile, Red Button, call centre and IVR technologies. Others, like the relatively small League Against Cruel Sports have exploited low or no-cost tools like Facebook, coupled with advice and help from agencies such Pocket App and Chameleon, to produce fundraising and communications platforms which integrate social media channels and SMS donation functionality.
Good use of technology allows charities to maximize their resources, raise more money, communicate more powerfully and to wider audiences, operate and deliver services to end users more effectively, cheaply, 24/7 and ultimately to change more lives. Today's radically changed funding environment means it has never been more urgent for charities to put technology at the heart of their organisations.
Andrew Darling is K&N Seminar Chairman & Communications Director at the Association of Interactive Media & Entertainment
AIME's "Empowering the Charitable Sector with Interactive Technologies" conference takes place on September 15th 2011
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