A telecommunications charity organisation will within weeks begin a trial of a bill-based contributions program that could put millions of dollars into the pockets of a range of charitable efforts, the group’s CEO has confirmed.
According to Telco Together Foundation (TTF) CEO Renee Bowker, by November the organisation will begin a trial in which some 25,000 telecommunications customers, across a range of carriers, would be given the option to add an automatic donation to their telco bills as an easy way of informal giving.
“There are 25 million bills getting sent out across the industry" every month, Bowker told the recent CommsDay Melbourne Congress.
“The idea of potentially adding a donation capability onto these bills has a massive impact, potentially, around introducing new funding into the charity sector. This pilot program will help our members roll out a donation program to help with the donations they want to look at.”
The program is just one of numerous fundraising efforts Bowker has co-ordinated with its 19 member telecommunications providers – including Optus, NBN Co, Vodafone, Dodo, M2 Telecommunications, iiNet, AAPT, Community Telco, BigAir, Vocus and others – since the TTF was formed a year ago.
Others include a climb of Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro next week that has already raised over $50,000 in pledges; January relief efforts that delivered 350 volunteers and over $9,000 to the Red Cross Tasmanian Bushfire Appeal; and $150,000 raised for various community partners.
Beneficiaries of TTF include homeless-support group Second Bite; mental-health organisation Inspire; indigenous-health group Red Dust; and refugee-support charity Sports Without Borders.
Partner efforts have also proven highly effective at raising charity support: a recent M2 Telecommunications channel conference, for example, saw more than $45,000 raised and distributed to charities through TTF. And, in July, executives at the Communications Alliance & CommsDay ACOMM Awards raised $75,000 for the organisation in three hours.
Another TTF program, Ask for Change, is looking at promoting the use of mobile technologies and apps within the not-for-profit sector; work with member Informatel helped develop a low-cost app for charities and educational services to help them benefit from mobile technology.
The billing-donations trial – which will explore GST management, receipting and other logistical issues – is expected to be expanded across TTF members’ billing businesses over time, with some 13 million customers targeted to sign up for facilitated donations.
“You don’t have to be a maths genius to figure out that if you get just a small percentage of all bills, to have even a $1 donation on the bill would put a large amount of money into these charities,” Bowker said. “Communications technology is a key enabler for business and the community, and that puts us in quite a unique position to do some significant good within the community.”