Mobile texting raises R655 000 in carte blanche 20th birthday charity drive.

Published on: November 13, 2008

Grapevine Interactive, a wireless application service provider (WASP), said today that SMS aficionados let their thumbs do the talking by raising R655 000 for Carte Blanche’s making a difference campaign.

The money was raised through an SMS donation line set up by Grapevine Interactive as part of the MNET actuality show’s CB20 social responsibility initiative.

“We believe that this campaign is one of the most successful charity fundraising drives to leverage SMS in South Africa to date,” said Neil Hutchinson, Managing Director of Grapevine.

Carte Blanche aimed to raise some R20 million for charity to celebrate the show’s 20th year on air and the goal was comfortably exceeded thanks to the generosity of the public and corporate donors.

“Viewers donated more than R1 million to the show while corporations donated some R26 million to date. The viewer funds will be passed on to the Johannesburg Child Welfare Society and the Johannesburg Parent and Child Counselling Centre,” said Peter Griffiths, Interactive Editor of Carte Blanche.

The SMS drive was aimed specifically at Carte Blanche viewers in a campaign that ran over seven weeks. “We were pleased with the amount of money we were able to raise in such a short time. This as an excellent example of the way that mobile technology is helping to streamline charity fundraising,” said Mr Hutchinson.

Grapevine has run a number of charity collection lines in the past and currently hosts a devotional message service for many church communities who use the money collected for good causes. But none of these has raised as much money as quickly as the Carte Blanche SMS initiative did. Over the seven weeks of the campaign, South Africans opened their hearts to the charities and sent over 66 000 messages at R10 per SMS to the CB20 SMS line.

One factor that helped to ensure the success of the project was the willingness of Carte Blanche, Grapevine, MTN and Vodacom to donate 100% of their share of the SMS revenue generated to the charities.

According to Leon Perlman, chairman of WASPA (The Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association of SA): “SMS is a convenient channel for donors and fundraisers alike because the donor can simply make a spontaneous micro-donation by sending a text message rather than having to make a cumbersome bank transfer or a risky cash donation.”