OpenMarket Raises £1m Via SMS for E. Africa Appeal

OpenMarket has revealed that it has raised more than £1m for the Disasters Emergency Committee’s (DEC) East Africa drought appeal through SMS donations, via its mobile payments and campaign management platform. The fund has been boosted by a further £250,000 through a Gift Aid response mechanism to the SMS donations enabled by OpenMarket’s CMX2 platform. More than 60 per cent of donors have responded to the request for Gift Aid details.

The DEC campaign, which launched across the UK on 8 July, is raising funds to help more than 10m people now in desperate need of humanitarian aid because of what, in some parts of East Africa, has been the worst drought for 60 years. 

The DEC is an umbrella organisation of 14 UK and International charity agencies which deliver effective and timely help to people affected by major disasters such as floods, earthquakes or drought. Anyone can donate £5 directly to the appeal by texting ‘HELP’, ‘CRISIS’, ‘AID’, ‘DONATE’, ‘HELP’, ‘SUPPORT’ or ‘AFRICA’ to 70000. The 70000 shortcode, which ensures that 100 per cent of the donation goes to the appeal, has appeared in newspapers, posters, TV, online and across the London Underground. It has been developed specifically for DEC charity appeals, and can be rapidly launched across all networks in less than 24 hours.

“Given that this campaign has been running for less than a month, the UK public’s response to the appeal via SMS has been incredible,” says OPenMarket general manager, Alex Moir. “OpenMarket’s CMX2 platform is designed for donations to be made in an instant,and we have also seen a very positive response to the Gift Aid option. To raise more than £1.25m through SMS donations is an indication of how mobile payment mechanisms are powerful tools for charities to achieve high impact donation responses.”

Polly Gilchrist, Fundraising Manager, DEC, adds: “We have raised £1,063,000 by this method, which with Gift Aid comes to more than £1,250,000. This is over 500 per cent more than we have raised from texting in the past. It is also encouraging that more than 60 per cent of SMS donors have responded to the request for Gift Aid details, which means nearly 25 per cent can be added to the value of their donations.”

On September 15, OpenMarket will speak at the Interactive Tech for Charities seminar, organised by AIME (Association for Interactive Media and Entertainment). David Sheridan, director of market development for OpenMarket, will share best practices for charities to drive higher donations and increase awareness of SMS donation channels.