Telcos Seek to Pilot Premium SMS Donations in Australia

Press release – March 24, 2015

In a united initiative to support charitable giving in Australia, the country’s leading telecommunications companies are embarking on a 12 month pilot program of Premium SMS donations, and are inviting Expressions of Interest from Australian charities to participate. Submissions are open until Wednesday April 8th, 2015, with the pilot program expected to involve up to 15 registered charities and commence in July 2015.

The use of Premium SMS as a donations platform has been growing in countries such as the UK and USA. It provides mobile users with a quick and convenient method for donating to their favourite charities, with the charge appearing on their mobile bill and the funds being passed on to charities by their phone provider.

Australian telcos are collaborating on this project via a working group brought together by Telco Together Foundation which includes representatives from Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and mobile engagement provider, OpenMarket.

“Announcing this pilot program for Premium SMS donations is a significant milestone for both the telco and non-profit sector, and a clear indication of the telecommunication industries’ commitment to giving back to the community and realising the potential for mobile giving in Australia,” said Renee Bowker, the CEO of Telco Together Foundation.

“This project has been a long time in the making, with much work being done to unlock some of the complexities associated with developing an approach that can be utilised across the sector. I would like to extend a big thank you to our members for making this collaborative project a priority and for extending the time, commitment and significant shared resources to get us to this important initial trial phase,” said Bowker.

Tim O’Leary, Chief Sustainability Officer at Telstra, says: “Telstra is always looking for innovative ways to use technology for making a difference to our customers and the community. We are delighted to participate in this united industry effort to trial the technology in Australia.”

Helen Maisano, Associated Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at Optus said, “It’s always great to see technology being used to provide customers with a simple way to make a difference. Optus is proud to be part of an initiative that benefits customers, the community and Australian charities.”

Michael Stanley, Chair of the Vodafone Foundation Australia, said, “We’ve seen how effective text giving is for raising money for charities.  We are proud to support a program that will allow individuals and charities to use the power of mobile to help make a positive difference.”

The Telco Together Foundation will be co-ordinating the Expression of Interest process, with submissions being accepted via email. Click here to learn how to lodge an expression of interest to take part in this exciting mobile giving pilot program.

Applications close on 8th April 2015 and successful submissions will be notified by 6th May 2015. For additional information about the project click here.

EOI Submission Questions Contact:
Please email questions regarding EOI submissions to

About Telco Together Foundation
Launched in July 2012, Telco Together Foundation is a registered charity that brings together the telecommunications industry in support of Australian communities in need across areas including Indigenous communities, the homeless, mental health and refugees.

The core focus of the Foundation’s work is the development of community projects that build on the technology, reach and capabilities of the telecommunications industry to support the not for profit sector of Australia, as well as promoting fundraising, volunteering and workplace giving across member organisations.

Members of the Foundation include Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, NBN Co, M2, iiNet, Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent and 16 other ICT organisations. The Foundation is governed by an Advisory Board that has Executive Officer level representation from members.

For more information, please visit our website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter @TelcoTogether.

Media Contact
Caroline McComb
Communications Manager
T: 0452 188 494