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BBC Children in Need raises £1.75m via mobile donations

Howard Lake | 25 November 2009 | News

BBC Children in Need has raised £1.75 million in SMS donations since 26 October. Mobile network operators waived their usual fees and the Treasury confirmed that there were no VAT charges due, so the full donation has been received by the charity.

Donors were also offered the opportunity to make a Gift Aid declaration, making each qualifying £5 donation worth an additional £1.40.

Children in Need’s SMS donations service was developed and run by Mobile Interactive Technology (MIT) using its MIDAS platform, with digital agency Jigsaw designing, building and hosting the BBC Children in Need Gift Aid website, and mobile internet publishing business Kilrush designing, building and hosting the mobile internet site enabling supporters to add Gift Aid to their donation.


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

In the four weeks before the telethon on 20 November, viewers of ‘The One Show’ were invited to text a keyword (based on the presenter’s name) to support the presenter they wanted to participate in the latest challenge. Each interaction donated £5 with donations capped at a maximum of seven per day.

The Children in Need Rocks the Royal Albert Hall, broadcast on 19 November, featured invitations to viewers to text keyword ‘DONATE’ to shortcode 70077 to donate £5.

Rob Weisz, Commercial Director, MIT said: “MIT has a proven track record for enabling donations for large scale broadcast events and BBC Children in Need’s success really underpins an appetite for viewers to interact and participate via mobile.

“With the addition of Gift Aid via the mobile internet, as well as the traditional internet, the channel has really optimised donations. It’s key for charities to diversify into multiple donations channels for wider reach and appeal.”

Anna Bennett, Director of Operations and Finance, BBC Children in Need said: “This is the first time BBC Children in Need has used SMS to interact with our supporters. The donation mechanic has made it easy for our supporters to donate and has helped us to reach a wider audience.”

The £1.75m income from 376,568 mobile interactions was the position at 23 November, and final figures will be calculated at close of campaign on 30 November 2009.