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Cancer Research UK enlists mobile for far-reaching program including donations, loyalty

Cancer Research UK is introducing smartphone applications for several devices that will deliver content, a mobile wallet and a loyalty program for regular donors.

The nonprofit is tapping mobile to make it easy for supporters to make regular donations and access important information from their mobile phones. Users will be able to make single donations as well as set up regular donations and receive rewards for their loyalty.

“As the biggest charity in the UK and a leader in innovation, Cancer Research UK are aware of the power of mobile and the benefits offered by this new technology,” said Richard Stevenson, a product specialist at Corethree, Britain.

“Cancer Research’s goals are to create awareness of symptoms and allow donors the ease and convenience of contributions from their smartphones,” he said.

“They are also keen to open new channels to communicate with their supporters via these new, growing mobile platforms.”

Engagement with a cause
The initiative includes applications for the iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Phone 7.

The content on the apps will include information about cancer symptoms and the location of the charity’s retail stores.

Users of Corethree’s service portal app, Core, who purchase items such as bus and train tickets, will be able to round-up the price of their purchase with the difference being donated to Cancer Research UK.

Core delivers services, content and information from a wide range of online providers and real-world venues.

Cancer Research is the latest nonprofit to embrace mobile for its ability to not only facilitate donations but also to drive engagement with a cause.

For example, the Salvation Army recently partnered with mobile payment company Square to increase donations via the nonprofit’s widely recognized Red Kettle holiday fundraising program, supplying volunteers across the country with more than 800,000 of Square’s credit card readers (see story).

Additionally, charity Do Something said it will significantly increase the number of its text messaging campaigns this year as it leverages mobile to have conversations with teens about the various causes it supports (see story).

Creating awareness
Cancer Research UK’s mobile program will launch next month. The first stage will be a mobile donation service, with charity awareness and a mobile symptom checker.

There are plans to add additional functionality to the app at a future date, including the ability to buy Cancer Research UK products such as bags and clothing as well as to interact with charity’s fundraising events such as Race for Life.

“With mobile commerce growing eight times faster than ecommmerce, mobile as a marketing channel has the greatest potential when communicating and building relationships directly with large numbers of consumers,” Mr. Stevenson said. “It is also a powerful tool for payments and donations as the technology is available 24/7 whilst on the move.

“Corethree’s mobile platform services help charities such as Cancer Research create awareness of potential symptoms and allow donors the ease and convenience of contributing to their chosen charity,” he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York