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Regulation changes contributed to 6% drop in 2016-17 charity text donations, says PSA

Regulation changes contributed to 6% drop in 2016-17 charity text donations, says PSA

Regulation changes and the move to ‘hard opt-in’ were causes of the 6% drop seen in text donations in 2016-17, the Phone-paid Services Authority has said.

The Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) revealed in its annual report last month that charity text donations had dropped to £115m in the last financial year, from £122m in 2015-16. However, despite the 6% fall, it remains the largest market sector, with charity text donations accounting for 16% of the overall market. The next largest market sector online is competitions at £70m. The charity sector also scored the highest level of consumer satisfaction at 74%, followed by music and video content at 66%.

In its newly published Annual Market Review, its independent view of the phone-paid services market, conducted by Mobilesquared, the PSA attributes the decline in text donations to regulation changes, and the move to ‘hard opt-in, stating:

“Wider regulation introduced by the Fundraising Regulator had a negative impact on charity donations, which experienced a 6% decline year-on-year. The enforced migration from the soft opt-in model to a hard opt-in reduced the number of one-off donations. This was largely offset by an increase in broadcaster donations via telethons as a result of the successful introduction of the £20 donation point.”

However, charity donations are expected to return to growth following their decline in FY2016-17, as drop off in one-off donations are increasingly converted into monthly subscriptions, the review says. The PSA estimates that charity donations will account for 19% of spend (from projected donations of £124.4 million) between FY2016-17 and FY2017-18.

Jo Prowse, Chief Executive of the Phone-paid Services Authority commented:

“The report highlights that people like the convenience of paying for goods and services through their phone bills. The continued popularity of donating to charity by text highlights the convenience and trust people have in phone-paid services when they are delivered well.”


Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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