About the Text Giving Pilot Program

Telco Together, along with Telstra, Optus and Vodafone have developed a pilot program to test the use of SMS donations for charitable giving in Australia over a 24 month period, facilitated by mobile engagement provider OpenMarket.

Donating via text has proven itself as a highly successful way to raise much-needed funds for charities worldwide, so this is great news for Australian charities.  

With texting firmly embedded in Australian culture, the immediacy and convenience of donating via text will now enable anyone with an eligible mobile phone service provided by Telstra, Optus or Vodafone to securely donate to their chosen charity anywhere, anytime when the mood strikes. 

Fast Facts

  • Up to 15 Australian charities will participate in the pilot

  • The pilot is now active until October 2017

  • The donation amount is set at $5 per text message

  • The donation will be charged by the mobile phone provider, provided PSMS, (Premium Short Message Service), is available from the mobile service

  • For post-paid customers: The donation will appear on the mobile phone bill 

  • For pre-paid customers: The donation will be deducted from the phone credit or applicable charity top up (provided there is sufficient credit)*

  • Charities will receive $4.95 of each donation, with charities charged a 1% administration fee by OpenMarket. 

  • The pilot also includes a dedicated emergency relief appeal number 1999 HELP which can be used by various selected charities to raise much needed funds in the event of a crisis. 

* Not available on Optus pre-paid services


The pilot program will also include a dedicated Emergency Relief Appeals number 1999HELP across multiple charities. Donations to each individual cause will be separated by individual keywords chosen by the charity, for example Text UNICEF to 1999HELP to donate $5 to UNICEF, Text RED to 1999 HELP to donate $5 to Red Cross, etc.

The success of the text giving pilot will be reviewed after the 24 month trial period has ended, with cost, uptake by charities and donors, charity/donor experience and administrative effort being assessed to determine the future of the program in Australia

The technology behind Premium SMS (PSMS) donations has been successfully used for competition and voting lines in Australia for the past 15 years. Until now, however, the use of text giving via PSMS for charitable fundraising has not been widely available in Australia for a variety of reasons.