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Press Release: Mobile Texting Raises R655 000 in Carte Blanche 20th Birthday Charity Drive

13 November 2008

Grapevine Interactive, a wireless application service provider (WASP), said today that SMS aficionados let their thumbs do the talking by raising R655 000 for Carte Blanche's making a difference campaign.

The money was raised through an SMS donation line set up by Grapevine Interactive as part of the MNET actuality show's CB20 social responsibility initiative.

"We believe that this campaign is one of the most successful charity fundraising drives to leverage SMS in South Africa to date," said Neil Hutchinson, Managing Director of Grapevine.

Carte Blanche aimed to raise some R20 million for charity to celebrate the show's 20th year on air and the goal was comfortably exceeded thanks to the generosity of the public and corporate donors.

"Viewers donated more than R1 million to the show while corporations donated some R26 million to date. The viewer funds will be passed on to the Johannesburg Child Welfare Society and the Johannesburg Parent and Child Counselling Centre," said Peter Griffiths, Interactive Editor of Carte Blanche.

The SMS drive was aimed specifically at Carte Blanche viewers in a campaign that ran over seven weeks. "We were pleased with the amount of money we were able to raise in such a short time. This as an excellent example of the way that mobile technology is helping to streamline charity fundraising," said Mr Hutchinson.

Grapevine has run a number of charity collection lines in the past and currently hosts a devotional message service for many church communities who use the money collected for good causes. But none of these has raised as much money as quickly as the Carte Blanche SMS initiative did. Over the seven weeks of the campaign, South Africans opened their hearts to the charities and sent over 66 000 messages at R10 per SMS to the CB20 SMS line.

One factor that helped to ensure the success of the project was the willingness of Carte Blanche, Grapevine, MTN and Vodacom to donate 100% of their share of the SMS revenue generated to the charities.

According to Leon Perlman, chairman of WASPA (The Wireless Application Service Providers' Association of SA): "SMS is a convenient channel for donors and fundraisers alike because the donor can simply make a spontaneous micro-donation by sending a text message rather than having to make a cumbersome bank transfer or a risky cash donation."



WASPA represents the mobile development; value added services and content services community in South Africa. After lobbying the mobile operators and WASPs in late 2003 for an industry body, WASPA's formative meeting was held in August 2004. Membership of WASPA was made mandatory by the mobile operators and TV stations for any company doing value added services in South Africa.

WASPA's remit is to promote and self-regulate the WASP industry. As part of the self-regulatory component of WASPA, there is the now internationally recognized and emulated self-regulatory regime for mobile value added services that includes the WASPA Code of Conduct & Advertising Rules. WASPA's Code of Conduct regulates inter alia, competitions, chat, adult services, spam, CRM, advertising of services,subscription services and pricing. The first version of the Code was passed in June 2004 and implemented on 1 September 2005. It has been updated numerous times as the need has arisen.

Enforcement of the Code & Advertising Rules is achieved by a novel quasi-judicial system that consists of a procedure for lodging and responding to complaints where it is thought the Code is being contravened. Adherence to the Code and the Advertising rules is mandatory for all providers operating in South Africa.

ICT lawyers acting as WASPA adjudicators will find on the merits and have the power to suspend, fine, expel any WASP or Information Provider found to contravene the Code rules. Adjudications are enforced through contractual provisions in all WASP agreements. There is also a 3-person appeals panel as well as an emergency panel.

Issued by:

Ivan Booth
Reliable Sources PR
082 851 7419
ivan (at) reliablesources.co.za