Text donations to charities grew by 32% last year, from £37.5 million to £49.6 million, according to figures from the Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA).
The PSA released the figures in its annual review for the 2018/19 financial year, and said that the increase was helped by two major charity telethons: Children in Need and Red Nose Day.
It estimates that over 25% of the donations to major charity telethons last year were made by text, with industry interview participants suggesting that up to 80% of the spend on charity donations overall comes from telethons. 64% of consumer survey respondents that made a charity donation in the past 12 months also reported they had done so to support a telethon.
Most donations are made to well-known and large charities: 40% of those survey respondents that made a charity donation in 2018-2019 donated to Comic Relief, which includes Sports Relief and Red Nose Day.
Drivers of growth highlighted in the review include the higher donations individuals can now donate by text. This follows 2018’s lifting of the previous limit of £20 per donation via premium SMS to £30.
PSA’s research also pointed to the growth in mobile donations outside of telethon events, with industry participants suggesting that promotion of premium SMS as a donation channel during telethon events has had a positive effect on broader consumer awareness, as well as an indirect positive impact on the number of individuals opting to subscribe to charities and make regular donations via premium SMS.
However, the report states, while 2018/19 saw a substantial increase in donation totals, these can vary year to year due to some key charity telethon events only occurring every two years. For example, in 2018–2019 across all spending channels, an additional £33.9 million was raised through telethons, compared to that raised in 2017–2018.
Overall, PSA found, the phone-paid services market grew by £90 million last year, and was valued at £630.9 million: up from 2017/18’s £540.5 million, and largely driven by Operator Billing.