SMS is the new black

A review of mass market mobile apps

No charity in mobile as club turns to SMS for survival

Posted by Jon Russell on March 9, 2009

The weekend saw Darlington FC, of England’s League Two, adopt an innovative form of fund raising in a bid to avoid administration and a potentially crippling points deduction next season.


Fans of the club, which needs to raise an estimated £300,000 to survive the rest of the season, have created an SMS donation service to increase awareness of the club’s situation and help it pull through. 

Sky Sports News reports that “players, management and all other staff at the football club were not paid during February and a wage deferral scheme is now being discussed with the administrators.”

To help support The Quakers, as the club is known, would be donors should text ‘GL SAVEDFC’ to 87070. The SMS will cost around £1.50 with around 95p going to the club’s survival fund.

The real news here is that the middleman fee is as significant as a one-third (55p of £1.50). The campaign is an excellent idea in theory but in practice donations are best received from more traditional channels that avoid service costs.

Surely, in the name of saving an 125 year old, historic club on the brink of extinction, the companies handling the service could be a little more charitable?

The publicity of the campaign could help promote the mobile donation service to a wider audience and potential customers, instead the club loses one-third of all donations made by the SMS service.

Sadly the companies involved are unknown to us at this stage so no naming and shaming.


2 Responses to “No charity in mobile as club turns to SMS for survival”

  1. Steve said

    Hi Jon,

    Just read your post. I hope you don’t mind me contributing. I trust I can further it by expanding on a couple of points you write about…
    I work at, so as the name suggests we’re pretty up to speed with SMS donations. Many charities use our services and many gain significant uplift to to legacy or new campaigns where previously a cashless ‘mobile’ transaction was perhaps not possible. I can list many more benefits however I’ll get back to why I logged on…

    In the case you detail the donor texts a premium short code. This text costs and them their standard rate (typically 8-12 pence). This text initiates a ‘billed’ response – in this case it’s 150 pence. The gift is only charged to the mobile user if they receive the billed text message. I say this in case a phone doesn’t have 150 pence credit available it won’t work!

    The 150 pence gift incudes VAT so the actual contribution is around 130 pence.
    If the service provider (I know who this one is but it would be unfair for me to publish names) provides the charity with around 95 pence (ex VAT), trust me this is good! This is worth checking. If so, it would mean it’s actually 73%. At we also provide charities a mobile GiftAid form that donors can complete and submit using their mobile phone which takes under a minute to do and increases the donaion yet further.

    Most of what’s left is retained by the mobile networks, not service providers like ourselves.
    Getting straight to the point – our main business benefit is the cash flow, not the donation.

    As for traditional methods; these all incurr service costs of their own (banking cheques, labour, postage, ect.) If, as we do the charity receives their money in the following month then the whole process works well.
    *Charities check this as I’ve heard of providers that keep your donations for a few months.

    In essence. SMS donations have their place and when done correctly and marketed well they work.

    If you need to know more go to: or call the our team of experts on 0845 08 29622.

    It’s agreat topic and one I can go on and on about. I’ll sign off now and hope I’ve cotributed in someway to those considering using SMS donations.

    With regards,

    Steve Hanna
    SMS Short Code Team

  2. Personally I don’t think that Mr. Handsome has received enough accolades for his humanitarian efforts. In my opinion a lot of celebrity do-gooders are totally phony and engage in so called good deeds merely for positive publicity. I have to say that I don’t think that George is one of the phonies out there in the world of celbrity do-gooders. I admire what he is doing for the Haitian people. I wish more celebrities were as real as he is when it comes to helping out those less fortunate in the world. So kudos to George and his desire to make this world a better place.

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