Arts organisation mobile fundraising scheme launches

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A new fundraising initiative that allows people to make donations to arts organisations by using their mobile phones has been launched.

Donate will be introduced by organisations including the Almeida Theatre, Octagon Theatre Bolton, touring company Phoenix Dance Theatre and the Southbank Centre, from tomorrow (March 28).

Payments can be made to specific cultural campaigns by text message, using a credit or debit card, by online money transfer website Paypal or through contactless methods.

Each organisation will have a unique code, to identify the campaign it is trying to raise money for.

Profiles of the campaigns will be available on the Donate website or via its web app – which is compatible with mobile and tablet devices - where payments can be made.

The minimum donation is £3 and users can register to apply for Gift Aid, which allows the art organisation to reclaim tax on the contribution.

Donate has been set up by new charity the National Funding Scheme, which plans to roll out the initiative nationally at the end of the year.

Robert Dufton, interim chair of the NFS, said: “This scheme has been set up because we carried out some research which showed if you asked people at the moment they feel most connected with the arts then they are more likely to give and give more often. So based on that research we tried to work out how to make it easy for people to use.”

“It is also easy for the cultural institutions to use because we have pulled together the best bits of technology and have packaged it. They don’t have to work it out for themselves and negotiate with technical providers and we can provide them with the support material and advice on how to use it.”

Roddy Gauld, chief executive of Octagon Theatre Bolton, said: “This scheme is a necessary step because people use their phones all the time – they text during shows and use social media to tell us how good the show is in the interval – so at the same time they can also make a contribution and help to keep theatre going.”

He added: “For a theatre like the Octagon Bolton, major gifts are harder to come by. There is a much bigger impact to be had by lots of people giving a little bit.”