Salvation Army takes five dollars by text message instead of pocket change

Short on change as you walk by the red kettle and bell ringer?  The Salvation Army is testing mobile donations in Atlanta this year. Text “TSA” to 90999 to initiate a premium SMS charge of $5 (i.e., added to your phone bill).

“We are not the most progressive movement in the world, we change very slowly. With the regular use of debit and credit cards, many shoppers are short on loose change or cash in-hand. We want to afford anyone and everyone who desires to make a donation, a user friendly and convenient means to do so.” Says Major James Seiler, Metro Atlanta area commander of The Salvation Army, Atlanta, Georgia, in Mobile Marketer.

Mobile Marketer doesn’t mention the revenue share percentages for this particular program, but a dirty secret of the industry is that as much as 60% of premium SMS transactions are held back by mobile carriers and platform providers. Until recently, this was even for most text-to-give donations.

I checked with a friend at Mobile Accord, and now this drops to 5% rev share held back (min $.25), so the Salvation Army actually nets $4.75 per donation, minus the cost of setting up and running the program. They have a hundred NPOs signed up for text-to-give.

I don’t know about you, but the sound of those ringing bells is enough to keep me away from a mall. What do I have to text to turn down the volume?

10 thoughts on “Salvation Army takes five dollars by text message instead of pocket change

  1. 60% of service charge is a lot. Glad they have a lower amount now. Mobile services are very competitive these days and who knows for social services like this, some might offer free service charge.

  2. 60% of service charge is a lot. Glad they have a lower amount now. Mobile services are very competitive these days and who knows for social services like this, some might offer free service charge.

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