Making the World a Better Place Through Mobile Engagement

Oisin Lunny, Chief Evangelist – December 10, 2014

Making the world a better place… through elegant hierarchies for maximum code reuse and extensibility.

Making the world a better place… through scalable fault-tolerant distributable databases, with ACID transactions.

Making the World a Better Place… through Mobile Engagement.

Making the world a better place

One enduring cliché in technology is the “making the world a better place” pitch, as mercilessly lampooned in the HBO comedy “Silicon Valley.” Set in the Valley, the series follows the trials and tribulations of a startup called “Pied Piper” (making the world a better place by providing a suite of compression services across diversified market segments), which is competing to bring their product to market against cultish tech giant “Hooli” (making the world a better place thought minimal message-oriented transport layers).

Making the world a better place

Every company in “Silicon Valley,” big or small, is convinced that their product is making the world a better place. The first series culminates in a string of pitches at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, with many featured companies using the now immortal tagline in their closing statements.

So, with this in mind, I hope you’ll forgive me if I now use the mother of all tech clichés to tell you a little about OpenMarket and what we’ve been up to over the past few years.

Every day OpenMarket is making the world a better place by helping global enterprises across vertical markets enhance their relationships with customers and employees and streamline their internal operations across multiple use cases.

You see, there are now more mobile devices in the world than people. And people are using mobile for just about every kind of digital interaction. From media consumption to retail and brand engagement, from customer service to logistics and supply chain management, the world is now undoubtedly “mobile first.” This has a huge effect on how people choose to interact with the charities and causes that are important to them.


OpenMarket has been supplying our mobile engagement solutions to major charities such as the DEC, and third sector agencies such as Open Fundraising, for over four years. This year alone our solutions have processed over £30,000,000 in mobile donation revenue. Cancer Research UK, the world’s largest dedicated cancer charity, recently selected OpenMarket to implement an innovative mobile engagement strategy, a first for a charity sector organization. Our systems powered the viral donation phenomena #IceBucketChallenge in the UK, also BandAid30, Comic Relief, Children In Need, StandUpToCancer, and the groundbreaking UNICEF ‘Put Children First’ campaign at the Commonwealth Games for our friends at Open Fundraising.


UK consumers love using their mobile handsets for donations due to the frictionless contribution experience, which takes an average of five seconds to complete. Charities love mobile user journeys, as this five-second donation can simultaneously be an opt-in to regular giving, AND an opt-in to a follow-up contact from a call center, AND the start of a seamless gift-aid opt-in. Gift aid adds 25% to a charitable donation, so it’s a huge issue for charities; OpenMarket’s SMS-based gift aid solution has seen opt-in results of nearly 60% compared to 15-20% through microsites.

The processing cost and inefficiency of cash is also an issue. Charities can collect up to 50% of their donations in coinage, which can cost a fortune to secure, process, collate and count. Cash donations are also intrinsically anonymous. That means every new campaign requires acquiring all new users from scratch. With mobile donations a charity will instantly know the donor, and the user data is 100% clean.

As Julie Ask from Forrester correctly states, “Mobile is an enabling technology that will transform your business.”  Large businesses everywhere, including major charities, are using mobile to optimise processes across their entire organisation. This includes many of their “horizontal” business functions such as sales and marketing, customer service, operations and logistics, IT and security, and human resources. Charities such as Cancer Research UK are using mobile not only as an entirely new revenue stream, but also to streamline operations across their business units.

Open Fundraising WWF

Mobile donations in the UK have been so successful that train companies have had to limit the available space offered to charity advertisers. A mobile donation call-to-action will often succeed where a direct debit request will fail. Mobile donations have largely been the preferred contribution mechanism of massive viral campaigns such as #nomakeupselfie, #icebucketchallenge and the Stephen Sutton Teenage Cancer Trust (#StephensStory) campaigns, even though online channels were available, and the campaigns were largely online. Some major TV promoted campaigns have noticed a 10:1 preference of SMS:IVR when offering a joint call-to-action. Consumers are now adopting higher price points, with a large number of donors from recent campaigns choosing to donate £10, even when a £3/ £5 price point is advertised.

So while OpenMarket’s “Saas-based Mobile Engagement Platform” may sound a little like the pitches in “Silicon Valley,” our company is clearly making a genuine difference, and with over £30,000,000 raised in the past year alone, is making the world a better place.


OpenMarket and DEC will present a joint case study at the 2015 IoF National Convention: 

See all blogs

Related Content