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Charity text donations surge by £25m during the pandemic

This news post is over 1 year old

The findings have been revealed by the UK phone regulator

Donations to charity by text message surged by £25m during the pandemic, a new report has revealed.

Text donations increased by 64% to £65.8m, which is the highest level recorded, in the year to March 2021, according to research published by the Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA).

This £25.7m boost is attributed to an extra telethon from Comic Relief and Children in Need early in the pandemic, as well as to donations to various campaigns to support the NHS.

Charity text donations were the only channel measured by the PSA in the UK which reported an increase during 2020-21. 

Last year the PSA had expected a £7.8m rise, but the popularity of text donations for fundraising campaigns to support the NHS and the addition of the Big Night In telethon on the BBC, which was a joint Comic Relief and Children in Need initiative led to a bigger than expected rise. 

Some expected telethons were cancelled or postponed during the year, but the amount raised through the one-off campaigns offset this. For example, the Big Night In raised £70m overall, with £27m coming via text donations. However. the PSA also notes that some telethons suffered because social distancing restrictions made producing high-quality content more difficult. 

“Telethons that did go ahead faced severe filming restrictions, which resulted in a reduction in the quantity and quality of content shown. The strong link between quality of content and on-night donations was reflected in the below-average amounts raised for both Children in Need and Red Nose Day in 2020–2021,” the report said.



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