OpenMarket Powers SMS Donations for DEC Drought Appeal

By David Murphy, MobileMarketing

OpenMarket, the global mobile transaction hub, has announced its support for the East Africa drought appeal, launched last week across the UK by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).

OpenMarket is enabling SMS donations via its CMX2 mobile payments and campaign management platform. Anyone  can donate £5 directly to the appeal by texting ‘HELP’, ‘CRISIS’, ‘AID’, ‘DONATE’, ‘HELP’, ‘SUPPORT’ or ‘AFRICA’ to 70000.

The appeal has been prompted because of the unprecedented drought in East Africa which has left over 10m people in East Africa desperately needing humanitarian aid. It launched on Friday 8 July, and has already generated almost £400,000 from SMS donations alone.

OpenMarket guarantees that 100 per cent of the money raised via text will to the DEC appeal. Donors can also opt in for Gift Aid, adding 25 per cent to the amount donated. When the Gift Aid feature was used for the Pakistan floods appeal, more than 60% of people responded, making a significant difference to the amount donated via mobile.

OpenMarket also assisted DEC with its appeal for flood victims in Pakistan in 2010 and through its agency partner network, works with a number of other high profile charitable organizations. The 70000 shortcode has been developed specifically for the DEC charity appeals and can be rapidly launched across all networks in less than 24 hours, allowing charities to reach the 50m mobile users in the UK.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) is an umbrella organisation of 14 UK and International charity agencies which deliver effective and timely help to people affected by major disasters such as floods, earthquakes or drought. The agencies will be working through local partners to access remote and difficult to reach areas across East Africa with food, water, therapeutic feeding for malnourished children and medical treatment.

A support network of television and radio broadcasters, banks, the Post Office, BT, regional and national press is helping DEC to publicise the appeal. As well as by SMS, donations can be made online, by post and in any high street bank. Adverts featuring the 70000 shortcode will be appearing in newspapers, posters, TV, online and across the London Underground. Each media partner will feature a different keyword attached to the 70000 short code, including ‘AFRICA’, ‘WATER’, ‘GIVE’ and “DEC’.

“In any disaster situation speed is always of the essence, which is why OpenMarket set out to create a way for the public to donate in an instant, getting the funds to where they can make the most difference“, says Alex Moir, general manager for Europe at OpenMarket. “We are immensely proud to be able to use our mobile know-how to help charities and organisations like the Disasters Emergency Committee.”