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Children in Need raises £126,081 online in six hours

Howard Lake | 23 November 1998 | News

Last year BBC TV and Radio, together with its listeners and viewers all over the UK, raised £20.9 million for the BBC Children in Need appeal. Of that, £26,659.31 was raised via secure online credit card donations at the charity’s Web site.
UK Fundraising is watching the online total build, following the prominent mention of the online giving facility on the telethon itself.
As of 01.45 on Saturday 21 November, the Web site had raised a remarkable £126,081 in six hours! By Thursday 26 November that had risen to £246,888.

Children in Need fundraise online

Last year BBC TV and Radio, together with its listeners and viewers all over the UK raised £20.9 million for the BBC Children in Need appeal. Of that, £26,659.31 was raised via secure online credit card donations at the charity’s Web site.
This year the charity is using the Web again, and is being helped considerably by online coverage by the BBC. The Children in Need site itself promises to provide live and regularly updated information throughout tonight’s seven hours of TV entertainment. Visitors to the site before the fundraising took off could watch a timer count down the seconds to the beginning of the show.
Zap us ya ca$h!
BBC Children in Need's Pudsey animated gif (November 1998)The site encourages secure online credit and debit card transactions. In keeping with the focus on children, donors are encouraged to “Zap us ya ca$h!”, with a suggested amount of £12.50. The BBC Children in Need appeal is able to offer the secure donations facility courtesy of BT WebWorld, who incidentally also provided the secure credit card transaction facility for that other major BBC telethon Comic Relief.
The site sensibly places the appeal in the context of last year’s appeal. Children in Need publish a clear report on who got what. You can view the distribution of funds raised by region, theme, and you can also see who got the largest grant and the smallest (a Brownie pack that received £69 to buy tents!).
Credit card donations are not the only way to help. You can also buy Pudsey Bear merchandise. You can’t order it online but instead you are encouraged to order it via a telephone number. At least 20% of the purchase price goes to the charity.
The site promises live updates during the telethon. In the run-up to the show, however, visitors could still enjoy some of the highlights of last year. There are audio interviews with Richard Wilson, Magnus Magnusson, Ulrika Johnsson, Stephen Tomkinson, and Kermit the Frog. You can view Gaby Roslin’s autograph together with those of the members of Boyzone. There are mini-biographies, together with a variety of photos, of singers Louise Nurding and Peter Andre.

Online promotion

The BBC has provided considerable online coverage of the appeal at BBC Online, and the site itself is hosted by the BBC. On the BBC News site you can listen to an interview by Betty Redondo with Terry Wogan and Gaby Roslin about this year’s appeal. You can also read the BBC news coverage of the telethon, Entertainment stars come out for Children in Need.
There is considerable online promotion elsewhere. Charities Aid Foundation’s Charitycard site is featuring Children in Need. It is also pointing out that Charitycard holders can donate to the appeal online using their card.
UK Fundraising looks forward to hearing how much BBC Children in Need generates from its online fundraising this year.


Why your supporters are wealthier than you think... Course by Catherine Miles. Background photo of two sides of a terraced street of houses.


Update 20.54 (20 November 1998): The Web site has received considerable coverage on the TV telethon, including mentioning that viewers can donate online. £10,715 had been raised via the Web at 8.50pm. The TV programme is also targeting non-UK donors, with a special international telephone number for callers from outside the UK.
The site itself is regularly updated with stills from the various celebrity performances on the show. While the BBC 1 News interrupts proceedings, there is a 10-question online quiz with prizes. You have to answer ten questions about your favourite colour etc, and then guess what answers will be chosen most often by the rest of the contestants. The site even tells you what is on the TV at present!
Update 22:01 (20 November 1998): The Web site has now brought in over £18,000.
Update 01.45 (21 November 1998): The Web site has now raised a remarkable £126,081!
Update 25 November 1998: The Web site attracted nearly ten times as many pledges for this year’s BBC Children In Need Appeal as in 1997 when it went live for the first time. Pledges today total £246,222 compared with the £26,659 raised last year. BBC Children in Need claim that last year’s figure was the highest total raised for a UK charity on the Internet.
Sheila Sang, Head of Commissioning, BBC Online said:

” We believe this may be the highest ever raised through a charity event of this kind on the Internet. The huge increase on last year’s total reflects the growth in popularity of BBC Online as a whole. It also demonstrates the power of the Internet to make a big contribution to people’s lives as the ‘third medium’ alongside TV and Radio. I am delighted that we could contribute to Children In Need in this way “

The seven hours of live TV, hosted by Terry Wogan and Gaby Roslin has so far raised £11,380,888. This is marginally down on the 1997 figure at the same stage, £12,034,235, but it is likely that several more millions will come in over the next months.
Telephone lines for credit and debit card donations remain open throughout the weekend with calls charged at local rates on 0345 33 22 33. The secure online donations site will be available until the end of November.