CAF Shortcode Delivers for Leukaemia Charity
ACLT is a small charity, run by five people plus volunteers, which collects around £250,000 a year in charitable donations. Although it stands for Afro-Caribbean Leukaemia Trust, its remit today goes beyond trying to increase the number of black, mixed race and ethnic minority people on the UK Bone Marrow Register, to trying to encourage everyone to be involved.
Working closely alongside organisations such as the Anthony Nolan Trust and the National Blood Service, the charity’s work has succeeded in recruiting thousands of potential black and mixed race donors, though more are always needed, as, at any one time, there are around 24,000 people in need of a bone marrow transplant. The charity’s work has been helped by the fact that it is now possible to get bone marrow matches based on a simple saliva sample – a non-invasive, virtually risk-free way of becoming involved.
It has been helped, also, by the Charities Aid Foundation’s (CAF) text donation service, which makes it easy and affordable for all charities to fundraise and communicate with supporters through their mobile phones. Working with Vir2, which provides mobile fundraising solutions to the not-for-profit sector, CAF set up two charity shortcodes to collect £3 and £5 donations. CAF run’s the service on behalf of charities, setting up campaign keywords, collecting payments from the mobile phone networks and claiming Gift Aid, thereby freeing up charities to focus on running their fundraising campaigns.
ACLT was already using a commercial text donation service, but was one of the first charities to adopt the CAF charity shortcodes. ACLT uses the servive to ask for £3 donations. “We often ask for text donations at concerts and events, where many of the audience are youngsters on pay as you go phones,” says Orin Lewis, who co-founded the charity with his wife, Beverley, after their son, Daniel, won his battle against leukaemia after receiving a bone marrow transplant. “Five pounds will make a dent in their own phone usage, whereas £3 is a low enough amount for them not to feel it too much."
The code is promoted at the end of DVDs and at fundraising events. At a recent event put on by a group of young dancers, 110 donations were made in just one hour. This, says ACLT, charity, is significant for a charity of its size, particularly when the effort involved is sometimes as simple as adding the shortcode to the end of presentations, or to materials already being created.