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Obopay, Benevity partner to encourage more text-to-give programs

October 19, 2010

Consumers can donate to their favorite charities

Consumers can donate to their favorite charities

Obopay and Benevity have partnered for a new text-to-donate service that lets nonprofits set up mobile donation programs.

The mobile donations service combines Obopay’s mobile payment technology with Benevity’s donation management, tax receipting and corporate matching functionality. Consumers can give donations by texting a keyword established by a charity to a short code.

“The new service changes the landscape of mobile giving by making text-to-donate accessible to any registered charity and by enabling companies to create innovative mobile cause marketing campaigns through the use of unique capabilities,” said Bryan de Lottinville, CEO of Benevity, Calgary, Canada.

“Mobile is increasingly where consumers live and also where they give,” he said. “For charities, the new service expands the mobile donations market to all registered charities, facilitates donations of any amount and enables charities to receive donated funds much more quickly and cost effective than the carrier-based mobile giving model.

“For consumers, the new service helps bring more opportunities for mobile giving to support a broader range of charities that matter to people and enables more mobile cause marketing offers.”

Obopay offers financial institutions an interoperable mobile payments service by transforming any mobile phone into a way to send and receive money.

Benevity lets companies integrate user-directed, tax receiptable donations and corporate matching programs into their existing transaction environments, using their own brands and systems.

Text mobile to donate
After users text a keyword to a short code, they are directed to a mobile payment site where they can make donations to their chosen charities and receive electronic tax receipts.

Consumers can text the keyword PAKISTAN to donate to the Mobilink Foundation in support of relief for victims of the recent flood in Pakistan or text the keyword GORILLA to donate to the Conservation Through Public Health in support of efforts to save endangered mountain gorillas in Africa.

“When one considers the prevalence and trends of social responsibility and cause marketing initiatives, as well as increased emphasis and investment in mobile marketing and mobile payment systems, the intersection of mobile and charitable donations seems particularly relevant,” Mr. de Lottinville said.

“Increasingly, people and payments will be mobile and so we need to develop more and more mobile applications, both within our company and in partnership with mobile players like Obopay,” he said.

Text to give
The service lets charities collect high amounts – up to hundreds of dollars.

Additionally, the service expands mobile donations as a fundraising option to any registered charity in the United States.

“Mobile is a big part of everyone’s future, so we’re committed both to internal development and building partnerships, such as our alliance with Obopay,” Mr. de Lottinville said. “We are currently developing an Android app for mobile giving that will have some interesting implications. 

“We’re also talking to a number of mobile marketing applications providers about building donation currency incentives into their discount and loyalty initiatives,” he said.

“Benevity’s vision is to have everyone carrying around their personal foundation of charities on their mobile device, having that foundation filled with donation currency through a combination of their own funds and cause-related investment from the companies with whom they do business making mobile giving a cultural element of a society that is focused on giving back.”

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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