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Text is the fastest growing means of communication in the world, and with the advent of premium text messaging, it is also a way of paying money - deducted from subscribers' mobile phone bills - to providers of mobile content and services.
Previous Views from the Fen have described the use of text to implement football prediction games and interactive text voting. Now Mediation Technology's sister company mTank, together with its partner Payco UK , has launched a way of using premium text for charitable giving.
Called , the new service allows individuals to sign up by sending a simple message - such as TEXTAID followed by the name of your favourite charity - to a designated five digit number. Thereafter you will receive weekly messages, each time deducting 50p from your mobile bill. 50p a week is not a lot - individual donors will hardly miss it - but thousands of individual donations add up to a significant sum which may allow charities to afford, for example, a new minibus, additional nursing care, research equipment or whatever their current needs are - but certainly something that will make a genuine difference to the lives of the people the charity cares for.
Much charitable giving - let's be honest - is based on guilt. allows individuals to make a positive contribution they can feel good about, and in a way which they hardly even notice. Into the bargain they get a regular message acknowledging the good they are doing.
messages can simply say,"thank you for your donation" . More usefully, they can tell donors exactly what their money is buying. recommends going one stage further and actively involving donors through simple games and quizzes, which give them an opportunity to win prizes (typically donated by corporate sponsors). not only allows individuals to do good by remote control, it entertains them and gives them an opportunity to win something of value - meanwhile telling them exactly how their contribution is making a difference , and raising awareness of the charity concerned.
All this is possible because of the power of text, which reaches the parts that no other medium can, and raises money from it to boot.
is something genuinely new , that should give pause for thought. It mobilises thousands of individual actions - and thousands of individually tiny payments - to create a force to be reckoned with. If text can do this in the charity sector, what can it do elsewhere?