Donation through SMS

Recently, some guys here in Holland (from my hometown of Delft actually) started selling small cards with barcodes. The idea is to buy the card, a couple of euros, in some shop, where they’ll swipe the barcode. Most of the money, some 75%, is then donated to the NGO on the card. You can find their link here.

The idea is nice, but I don’t think it will work. Generally, people have to make a ‘real’ decision to donate to a charity. It just doesn’t happen at the cash point of a supermarket, just before paying and just after grabbing that snickers from the impuls-buy rack.

Nevertheless, I think they could do better. Forget about the cards, but let people donate through SMS.

On TV, particularly on channels like ‘Discovery’ or ‘National Geographic’, NGOs try to get you to donate money through a regular bank transfer. Why not let people donate through SMS? It takes away the need to physically have to do something to get the money transferred. People are watching television, most likely with their phone within range. With the possibility of donating through SMS, donation only takes seconds and almost no effort.

With almost no operating costs, it’s easier to implement, most probably has a higher pay-out per transaction and easily more transactions per period.