Chris­t­ian Aid: text for nets

Exhibited by
James Briggs, Open Fundraising.
June 12, 2012
Medium of Communication
Face to face, press advertising
Target Audience
Type of Charity
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
June, 2010

SOFII’s view

This exhibit is a great example of modern fundraising. While there is a lot of talk about fundraising through text messages, rarely do we find an appeal that makes it so easy, so compelling and so tangible. With such clear, direct copy and such a simple product, donors were convinced that they really could make a difference and save the life of a child for just one pound.

Creator / originator

Christian Aid and Open Fundraising.

Summary / objectives

Christian Aid wanted to find a new way to recruit regular donors cost-effectively using a variety of channels. We knew that a conversation on the telephone was the best way to secure a direct debit. But how do you identify the best prospects for these calls?


We approached this project with a list of fundraising techniques that work:

  • Emotive examples of need – tangible, clearly priced products.
  • A suggestion for a low first donation – easy response routes.

And we know that people love a bargain. Our challenge was to bring all of these elements together. And we did, by asking donors to save a child's life by buying a £3 mosquito net via a premium-rate text message.

Even better, a Christian Aid donor agreed to give a further £2 for every pound we raised so we could offer our nets for just a pound.

The proposition worked well in the press and when we took it out onto the street we added another twist that drove recruitment costs down further. Street recruiters with mosquito nets draped around their shoulders asked donors to buy a net there and then using their phones.

That was just the start. We then asked them to share the experience of buying a net – both online through their social networks and in the real world using the postcards that we gave them. In doing so, we increased the reach of the campaign – generating extra prospects for free.

Special characteristics

The convergence of matched funds with the ease of giving by text and the deliberate focus on both on and offline sharing make this a first for fundraising.

Influence / impact

The approach is now being rolled out – not to mention imitated.


The attrition rates and recruitment costs compare very favourably to other fundraising routes.


It's innovative, it's simple and it shows how powerful an idea can be when an organisation is willing to put a bit of tied funding and matched giving in the shop window.

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The appeal worked well in the press.
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Supporters were asked to share their experience of buying a net – both online using their social networks and in the real world using specially-made postcards.