Charity text donations fell by £14.1m, a decrease of 28.1% year-on-year, to £35.9m in 2022-23, according to new research.
The Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA)’s annual market review, found consumers in the UK spent £594m on phone-paid services in 2022-23.
This represents a 0.9% year-on-year increase, but this was driven by a growth in non-charity spending.
Charity donations declined as a result of cost-of-living pressures and decreasing viewership of telethon events, the review reads.
As well as a general year-on-year decline in telethon viewership and popularity, another factor in the decline is charities’ recent use of alternative digital payment mechanisms, the report adds.
The proportion of charity donations via phone-paid services that were recurring payments is estimated to have grown from 23% in 2021-22 to 27.1% in 2022-23.
Rise expected as Stand Up to Cancer returns
Red Nose Day 2023 raised £31.9m across all payment mechanisms compared to £42.8m in 2022. In addition, Stand Up to Cancer did not run in 2022–23 because it returned to its bi-annual format. Non-telethon charity donations also fell, largely due to cost-of-living pressures, the report adds.
In its 2021–22 annual market review, the PSA anticipated the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on telethon donation totals, “but the scale of this effect was greater than anticipated”.
Nonetheless, it states: “Consumer spending on charity donations is forecast to increase by 15.8% year-on-year.”
This growth will be largely due to the return of the Stand Up to Cancer televised event, which will return in 2023-24.
It says the event “raises increasing amounts of donations every time it runs and is a direct reason for the seasonality of the phone-paid charity donations market, which usually sees increased donations every other year (with an exception during 2020–2021/2021–2022, when Stand Up to Cancer was held consecutively).”
The PSA predicts donations in 2023-24 will be lower than in 2021-22 “because of continued cost-of-living pressures and because viewership of other telethon events is declining”.
It expects the phone-paid services market overall to increase to £619m in 2023-24, and “this growth will be driven by further increases in consumer spending via operator billing (+9.1% year-on-year), and charity donations (+15.8%), with the return of the Stand Up to Cancer telethon expected to generate increased donations”.