Charity text donations rise to almost £50m

21 Aug 2019 News

The amount of money donated to charity by text grew by £12.1m to £49.6m last year, according to recently published figures.

The Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) published its annual market review for the year to March 2019 yesterday and said the increase was helped by two major charity telethons being held: Children in Need and Red Nose Day.

It is estimated that over 25 per cent of the donations made to major charity telethons were made by text.

According to the report, industry interview participants suggested that up to 80 per cent of the spend on charity donations comes from telethons, while 64 per cent of consumer survey respondents that made a charity donation in the past 12 months reported they had done so to support a telethon.

The availability of higher donation amounts was also cited by the report as a main driver of text donations. The previous limit of £20 per donation via premium SMS was lifted by mobile operators to £30 in late 2018.

The report said this higher donation cap also incentivised telethon organisers to promote premium SMS as a donation method more actively.

PSA: 'Considerable potential for the charity sector'

Joanne Prowse, chief executive of the PSA, said: “This news demonstrates that donating by text is an increasingly attractive option for UK donors, with considerable potential for the charity sector as a whole. We’re keen to continue to support the charity sector through effective regulation, which enhances consumer confidence.”

The review was conducted by Analysys Mason, and uses figures calculated from an online consumer survey of more than 8,700 people, interviews and data received by the networks.

It reports an overall growth of more than £90m in the phone-paid services market. It also estimates that 58 per cent of adults used a phone-paid services at least once last year. The UK phone-paid services market was valued at £630.9m, an increase from 2017/18 when it was valued at £540.5m.

Expected decline in the coming year

But, the PSA has said the value of charity donations made by text was expected to fall to £43m in 2019/20. This is because there would be fewer telethon events during the year.

Last year the figure for charity text donations plummeted by £86m because it had previously been overestimated.

In its annual market review for the 2017/18 financial year, it said the mistake had come about because it had received the wrong data from the mobile phone industry. Previously, it had estimated that the average donation was around £20, but its new research has concluded that it is actually £5.76.

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