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Community Channel launches interactive TV donation service

Community Channel launches interactive TV donation service

You can now press the red button to give to charity via your TV set, now that the Community Channel has today launched what it says is the UK’s first 24-hour interactive television donation service.

The Community Channel’s interactive TV giving service is available on Sky 585, and provides a round-the-clock on-air presence for selected charities to encourage donations from viewers.

The eight charities involved at launch are British Red Cross, Barnardo’s, Dogs Trust, Youth Music, National Trust, Wildlife Aid, Spinal Research and Save The Children.

Sinéad Hughes, the Community Channel’s Interactive TV Editor, responsible for setting up the service, said: “We soft-launched the service in the weeks leading up to September 1st 2004, putting up red buttons on-air asking people to donate, request a fact sheet or have their say on a programme and we got a fantastic response from viewers.

“This is the first time that there has been a 24 hour service dedicated to raising money for charities on TV and we intend to grow the service over the coming year by adding in other fundraising opportunities for charities like mobile ringtones and charity shopping.

“We want to make this kind of opportunity available to all charity organisations, regardless of size or resources. The Home Office’s Active Communities Unit has funded the project and Sky has donated the capacity to broadcast it, thus enabling us to cut the cost of providing an interactive TV fundraising campaign down to a tiny fraction of regular commercial costs.”

There are two fee levels. Bespoke campaigns are charged at £500 per month, which includes a branded donation section, interactive TV promos made by and broadcast on the Channel; charities using this option receive 90% of the donated amounts.

For generic campaigns there is no charge for inclusion on the service, although the branding and promos are not included. Charities with generic campaigns receive 85% of the donated amounts.

Both options have an opt-in for Gift Aid and the option to use either credit card or bank account for one-off or regular donations.

The Community Channel will also red-button-enable existing programmes, films or adverts of participating charities and broadcast these to further promote their fundraising campaigns, at no extra cost to the charities.

The donation system was designed and built by Sky Interactive. en Stimson, Head of Corporate Responsibility for BSkyB, said: “Interactive TV fundraising will revolutionise donating to charity and provide access to a wider audience of givers. It is an exciting development for the charity sector and allows them to make the most out of the new, innovative technology from Sky. We are always looking at ways to extend our offering to charities – interactive fundraising is another example of Sky leading the way.”

Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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