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Text users urged to donate to charity at Christmas

Howard Lake | 18 December 2002 | News

Mobile operator Virgin Mobile admits that the growth in sending text messages at Christmas could damage charity Christmas card sales, so it is encouraging mobile phone users to make a donation to charity to counter this effect.

Virgin Mobile says that, with Christmas greetings sent via text are set to reach an all time high this festive season, charity Christmas card sales are likely to be affected, resulting in a drop in income for many charities.

Over the past three years, the use of text around Christmas has become more and more popular, with operators reporting an average year on year usage increase of 183%, according to the Mobile Data Association. If this increase continues this year, then as many as 5.6 billion messages will be spent. Virgin Mobile estimates that, at an average cost of 10p per message, this means that consumers are set to spend £560 million on Yuletide and New Year texts.

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Virgin Mobile is therefore urging consumers to donate the monetary difference between the cost of a text and a card to their chosen charity.

Of course, Virgin Mobile and other mobile operators are themselves benefiting substantially from this switch away from sending Christmas cards. Part of the company’s official partnership with the British Red Cross, which will include multi-year sponsorship of a number of fundraising initiatives, is therefore likely to involve donating a percentage of the money generated through services such as text over future Christmas and New Year periods.

Steven Day, Corporate Affairs Director at Virgin Mobile, said: “It is becoming increasingly obvious that texting is seen to be a more popular means of contacting people over Christmas, however we are aware of the impact that technology is having on organisations like the British Red Cross who generate a lot of money through the sale of charity Christmas cards each year. As a company, we believe in being open and honest and therefore want to make people aware of this issue and aim to put something back in our work with the British Red Cross”.

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