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British Parliament candidate taps mobile payments to raise funds

The newly created constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn has all the ingredients for a very exciting election battle—including a mobile fundraising initiative.

The constituency boundary changes have resulted in the Labour Party lead being cut to just 474 votes, and with elections slated for tomorrow, Ed Fordham, the Liberal Democratic candidate, is projected to win the seat, which is No. 6 on the Liberal Democrats’ target list. To support his very tight election battle, Mr. Fordham has turned to mobile payment service provider paythru to help him raise funds.

“Mr. Fordham is a regular user of social media to reach out to the constituents of Hampstead and Kilburn and saw the potential to raise funds through mobile as a logical extension of this strategy,” said Keith Brown, managing director at paythru, Amersham, England.

“The mobile channel offers the opportunity for supporters to donate how much they want, when they want and where they want,” he said.

Paythru is a mobile payment specialist that provides companies with a new sales channel, letting consumers buy or donate via their mobile phones.

Driving mobile donations
Liberal Democrat supporters can now text the keyword 474TOWIN to the short code 67766 to donate £4.74 to Mr. Fordham’s campaign, or any amount they choose, charging their credit or bank card.

A frequent user of social media to connect with voters, Mr. Fordham has been blogging, as well as using Facebook and Twitter, since the beginning of the campaign.

The mobile payment details were promoted on Mr. Fordham’s Web site and other campaign literature. He also used the media to engage party activists to promote impulsive mobile giving.

Mr. Fordham said that even when using social media channels, modern political campaigns need to be well-funded.

With the vast majority of people having a mobile phone, it is the ideal way for people to donate.

Mr. Fordham said that he chose paythru to provide the service because it lets supporters pay with any bank or credit card and works on any phone.

“Paythru gives Mr. Fordham the simple ability to enable people to give money back to his immediate campaign needs,” Mr. Brown said. “Mobile has enabled him to connect to his supporters and allow them to give to him, impulsively, when he most needs their support.”

Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats raised £2.3 million in the first week of the election campaign, which started April 6, according to the British Electoral Commission.

The significance of 474 is the number of votes that has been estimated Mr. Fordham needs to gain compared to the last election to win the seat.

The campaign asked supporters to donate £4.74 based on the 474 swing votes required to take control of the Hampstead and Kilburn constituency.

“However, sponsors are able to give as much as they wish courtesy of paythru’s unique ability to charge debit or credit cards to any amount,” Mr. Brown said. “We cannot disclose due to confidentiality the average amount donated—however, it is in excess of ‘the ask.’

“The campaign is ongoing,” he said. “We can realistically confirm that [Mr. Fordham has raised] more than any other party has raised via mobile to date.”