The Swedish Red Cross has reported a 92-percent drop in SMS donations since Swedish mobile operators required their customers to register online, including the submission of sensitive personal information, in order to greenlight a money transfer via text message. [The Local via reason.com]
The organization published its figures at the end of February, comparing SMS donations to February 2012, and warned the drop could have humanitarian consequences.
"It quite simply dried up," Red Cross spokesman Pär Wilhelmsson told the TT news agency.
He said many young people use text message payments to give money.
Charities blame a new money transfer system, WyWallet, that requires potential donors to fill in their personal identification number (personnummer).
The ability for supporters to donate via cell phones is having a significant impact on the campaign finances of both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama during the final months of the Presidential race. Forbes reports.
Democratic donors are much more likely to donate in this manner than Republicans. The study found 15 percent of Democratic donors made donations with their mobile device compared to 6 percent of Republicans.
Marking the beginning of what could be a revolution in U.S. campaign finance, the Obama campaign said on Thursday it is wrapping up agreements with Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel Corp, U.S. Cellular and T-Mobile USA to open the floodgate for donations by text this week.
In the coming days, voters are likely to start seeing a message on video screens at Obama rallies, at the end of ads or on fliers, encouraging them "to contribute $10 to Obama for America, text GIVE to 62262."
The campaign of Republican Mitt Romney, Obama's rival in the November 6 election, has supported the notion of text donations in the past. It is expected to follow suit for its own short code of 466488, although has not made any announcements yet.
A plea to text “donate” to 62262 (that’s O-B-A-M-A) may be coming to a political ad near you. The Washington Post reports.
The Federal Election Commission announced Wednesday that it has approved legal guidance that will allow small political donations to be added to cellphone bills when a campaign supporter sends a specific text message.
The agency unanimously approved two opinions spelling out technical details of how the proposals from Republican and Democratic firms would comply with the complex requirements of campaign finance law. It was an unusually swift move from an agency that’s known for foot dragging and partisan gridlock.
According to Reuters, wireless carriers are balking at U.S. regulators' move to allow political donations by text message, a plan that could reshape the nation's campaign finance system by giving cell-phone users the ability to make instant contributions.
The carriers - who account for about 90 percent of the more than 330 million wireless subscriptions in the United States - are worried about an array of liability and regulatory issues they could face in handling contributions to presidential and congressional candidates.
The carriers are asking the FEC for more guidance on how they should implement a donations-by-text program, according to four industry sources.
One sticking point is that the carriers want to make sure they will not be held liable for determining donors' eligibility to contribute to a campaign, industry sources said.
That means ruling out that a donor is a corporation, foreign citizen or underaged American who is not allowed to contribute, or whether the donor has met various limits for donations to a campaign.
According to The Wall Street Journal, federal campaign-finance officials are close to approving a plan to allow political donations via text message.
Several Federal Election Commission commissioners signaled their interest in approving a plan from two political consulting firms to allow campaigns to accept donations via text message at a meeting Thursday.
The FEC rejected a similar wireless industry proposal to allow text message donations two years ago but say the new plan appears to satisfy federal campaign-finance rules.
A vote on the plan could happen as soon as Friday.
A new survey by Pew Internet Project of donors who used text messages to send gifts to charities after the earthquake that crumpled Haiti two years ago finds that for most of them, it was an impulse decision with fleeting impact.
The first-ever, in-depth study on mobile donors by Pew Internet Project – which analyzed the “Text to Haiti” campaign after the 2010 earthquake—finds that these contributions were often spur-of-the-moment decisions that spread virally through friend networks.
... More than half of the donors surveyed have made text message contributions to other disaster relief efforts since their Haiti donation. Two in five of these donors (40%) texted a donation to groups helping people living in Japan following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, 27% texted a donation to groups helping people living in the US Gulf region following the 2010 BP oil spill, and 18% texted a donation to groups helping victims of the 2011 tornadoes in the United States. Taken together, 56% of Haiti mobile givers in our sample made a contribution to at least one of these events.
Coming to a cellphone near you in 2012: campaign contributions on the fly, at a moment's notice. NBC Los Angeles reports.
California is the first state in the nation to adopt new rules which allow a phone user to simply text a campaign donation. It's the same idea as texting a donation to a favored charity or a disaster relief organization. The amount pledged goes into the phone bill, then is pass on to the campaign.
The new texting rules were approved by California's Fair Political Practices Commission earlier this year. Commission Chair Ann Ravel thinks the move will engage more people in the political process. And she believes other states will eventually get behind the idea.
What began with a plan to hold an iftar (Ramadan fast-breaking meal) in every district of İstanbul to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) turned into a humanitarian aid campaign for Somalia in which 100,000 SMS messages were sent at the same time on Sunday night. World Bulletin reports.
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç and AK Party İstanbul Provincial Chairman Aziz Babuşçu organized iftar dinners in every district of İstanbul, with the goal of reaching 100,000 SMS messages making donations for Somalia.
Arınç was the first to send an SMS message. Addressing the crowd before iftar, Babuşçu said that as they were breaking their fasts, there were millions in Africa who do not even have a morsel of bread or water to break their fasts. Babuşçu then invited Arınç to the podium to help launch the SMS campaign for Somalia.
"At the start of iftar dinner, we are doing a good deed simultaneously with close to 100,000 of our brothers. May God accept it," Arınç said.
Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ told journalists in a statement delivered at AK Party headquarters Monday that TL 150 million ($85,000) in aid was sent to Somalia.
The DEC, which launched across the UK on July 8th, has raised funds to help the 12 million people in East Africa suffering through the worst drought in 60 years which has resulted in a famine in parts of south Somalia. 160characters.org reports.
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 special 70000 shortcode, which ensures that 100% of the donation goes to the appeal, has appeared in newspapers, posters, TV, online and across the London Underground.
Alex Moir, General Manager for Europe, OpenMarket, said today: “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.
While it is unlikely many people are going to become aware of or excited enough about a local campaign for the Legislature to text a contribution, the regulatory change could add a new dimension to ballot-measure campaigns, which could incorporate appeals for text-message contributions into their television advertising.
"Online money in politics comes from passion and it comes from immediacy," said Jacobs, who in 2004 was California director for presidential candidate Howard Dean, whose campaign pioneered the use of small contributions collected over the Internet.
Allowing people to make contributions by using their cellphones as they are watching a television ad, Jacobs said, would make it "much easier to get immediacy."
Founder Rick Jacobs said 90 percent of the Courage Campaign's funding comes from online contributions that average $40.
According to the BBC, an estimated 10 million people have been affected in East Africa by the worst drought in more than half a century. More than 166,000 desperate Somalis are estimated to have fled their country to neighbouring Kenya or Ethiopia.
The UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden, said $300m was needed to address the famine in the next two months.
Médecins Sans Frontières, whose clinic in the Dadaab camp has been helping famine-struck Somali refugees is among some 10,000 registered charities that have signed up to the UK's first free text donation service, underlining strong support for new technology that enables people to donate on the spot. The Guardian reports.
The scheme was launched in May by the mobile phone operator Vodafone and the online donation service JustGiving to allow the UK's 50 million mobile phone users to give money to charity, free of charge, by text message.
Vodafone's chief executive, Guy Laurence, will tell a conference in Birmingham today, organised by the Institute of Fundraising, that more than 1,000 charities a week have been joining since the launch – a total of 9,200. That figure is set to increase as individual fundraisers can now personalise their unique six-digit codes to start receiving donations of up to £10 for their chosen charities, which is being publicised with a national ad campaign on TV and print.
JustTextGiving is a new service that allows any charity in the UK, big or small, to receive donations via text message. It’s completely free to set up and run, and 100% of the donation, plus Gift Aid, goes to charity.
According to an article in The Guardian, substantial set-up costs have also been a barrier to entry, but the launch of the free text donation service, JustTextGiving, a partnership between Vodafone and JustGiving, may well be what we've all been waiting for.
Charities could be fined up to £500,000 ($820,000) for sending unwanted SMS messages, emails, live and recorded phone calls as a result of amendments to UK regulations due to come into effect next month. CivilSociety reports.
The amendment to the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations gives the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) more powers to regulate, audit and fine marketers for sending out undesired communications on electronic channels. Given the recent spike in charities embracing SMS in particular as a way to communicate with supporters, this is an area of particular interest to the sector.
Mobile-phone companies have been criticised for charging fees to process charitable donations made via text message, an increasingly popular way of giving. Many people who give money using their mobile phones are unaware that some of the cash may end up going to the operators, with smaller charities complaining they can lose as much as 20% of a donation via text message. The Guardian reports.
... In a sign that the mobile-phone operators are anticipating a backlash from consumers, 02 and Vodafone have scrapped all charges.
"We're seeing a lot more charities use text donations and our customers keep telling us it's an easy and simple way of supporting charitable causes," said Vodafone UK chief executive Guy Laurence.
... Separately, pressure has been mounting on Apple to allow donations via iPhone apps. Apple's guidelines stipulate donations must be collected through a website or in a text message, not via an app. An online petition urging Apple to change its guidelines has attracted almost 40,000 signatures from around the world.
Because Japan has been deemed a non-emergency situation and is under a different policy than what happened with Haiti. Here's the deal. For non-emergency donations, the carriers will only give the money you've donated once they have your money in their pocket, which means they have to wait until you pay your monthly bill (with the tacked on donation) before any money goes to Japan. Some say the process can take anywhere from 30-90 days.
UK based messaging agregator, mBlox has deployed a charity SMS campaign, which uniquely added a second layer to enable donors to offer a tax refund to the charity in addition to their initial donation. The campaign, on behalf of children's charity, NSPCC enabled a donation of £5 to be made via premium SMS. [via Cellular News]
These charity short codes are exempt of VAT, enabling the full value to be passed directly onto the charity.
The campaign ran for the month of December, and donors were sent a "thank you" SMS after donating, and uniquely, donors could then add Gift Aid via SMS or mobile internet. This increases the value of donations to charities by allowing them to reclaim the basic rate tax on the donation.
They were supposed to be agents of compassion, but lotteries in Kenya have turned into wheels of fortunes for shady businessmen. Business Daily Africa reports.
Investigations by the Business Daily into the ongoing SMS lotteries that have raised eyebrows for the big prizes being paid out to winners - with little being passed on to charitable causes - pointed to the underworld scheme to fleece gullible Kenyans of their hard earned monies.
It emerged that local casinos were flouting anti-money laundering laws that require gamblers to declare the source of their money, with some of the owners behind the lotteries where participants are winning unprecedented prizes in cash.
In August, while Apple's official policy on mobile giving was still unclear, PayPal added a feature to its iPhone app that allowed users to donate to a charity or nonprofit of their choice with the click of one button. Within two months, the app raised $10,000 for charities in the United States, the UK and Canada. Then, in late October, Apple asked PayPal discontinue the feature, offering little explanation as to why.
According to ABC News, Federal regulators have recommended against a proposal from the cell phone industry that would've allowed voters to send donations to political candidates via text.
An advisory report from the FEC voiced concerns that the program would not adequately "separate corporate funds from political contributions" and would allow people to exceed the $50 limit for anonymous donations. It left the door open, however, for a new proposal for texted donations, provided it meets certain conditions.
Caleb Burns, a lawyer representing the CTIA, the trade group that submitted the proposal in September, said he was "disappointed" in the FEC's recent advisory opinion, and that "CTIA and its members must now assess whether implementing those requirements is economically viable."
CTIA's lawyers pointed out the massive amounts of charitable money raised through cell phone contributions after Haiti's earthquake as evidence this new method of giving had come into its own.
... "The effectiveness of [cell phone messaging] to initiate small dollar contributions in short order was clearly demonstrated in the Haiti relief context earlier this year," the petition to the FEC said. "Accordingly, [cell phones] are potentially significant tools in grassroots campaign organizing and fundraising and a means to promote small dollar support for federal candidate, party, and political committees."
Four nonprofit groups - including The American Red Cross - are trying to attract $25 gifts through text messages this holiday season, an experiment that may increase the popularity of giving via mobile phones among charities. Bits reports.
Jim Manis, chief executive of the Mobile Giving Foundation, said the experiments will aim to determine not only whether consumers will respond to high-dollar-value solicitations to give through their phones, but also whether those larger gifts produce heavier burdens on mobile carriers, like more demands for customer service or refunds.
“It’s a trial, not a commercial implementation,” Mr. Manis said. “This will be newsworthy when we can make an announcement about the results of those tests.”