Ukrainian Philanthropists Forum receives award in the ‘Philanthropist of the Year’ category

Ukrainian Philanthropists Forum advocates for SMS giving and receives award in the ‘Philanthropist of the Year’ category

The Ukrainian Philanthropists Forum received the Good Lobby Award 2018 for its campaign on SMS giving in Ukraine. The idea to develop a mobile charity service in Ukraine was inspired by the Czech Donors Forum and the Bulgarian Donors Forum. In 2012 the director of Bulgarian Donors Forum visited Ukraine to introduce the idea of SMS giving to Ukrainian mobile operators.

Mobile charity has proven to be an effective method of encouraging people to make donations, mobilising volunteers and empowering charity work. For non-profit organisations and charitable foundations, text messaging has become an important way to attract people’s attention and to encourage them to support a social cause.

Until recently, however, no such service existed in Ukraine. While millions of Ukrainians were ready to make donations to support their war-torn country, there was no convenient and easily accessible tool for collecting charitable donations. Taxes for SMS donations amounted to 27,5%, including VAT and contributions to the pension fund. This made charitable giving by text message nearly impossible.

The Ukrainian Philanthropists Forum addressed this problem and initiated a campaign for tax exemptions and legislative amendments that would allow the launch of SMS giving in Ukraine. The Forum appealed to mobile operators, law companies and charities and leveraged their collaborative efforts.

The united efforts of NGOs, foundations, lawyers and employees of telecommunication companies to introduce legislative changes were crucial to the success of the campaign. In July 2018 the first six charitable organisations signed agreements on receiving short numbers from the mobile operators. This will allow Ukrainians to send charitable SMS, and 100% of their donations will be sent to charitable purposes. The administration of these charity messages will be provided by mobile operators free of charge.

‘The most important learning of our campaign is the strength of collaboration. You cannot make a big change alone. To advocate any change, you need support from a wide range of people and organisations: lawyers, journalists, public officials, donors and beneficiaries’, says Anna Gulevska-Chernysh who steered the advocacy campaign from the very first draft of the idea to its implementation.

The Ukrainian Philanthropists Forum was established in 2005 to promote responsible and effective philanthropy for the development of Ukrainian society. It unites 27 local and international donors working in Ukraine and is a member of DAFNE. The Good Lobby Awards bring visibility to the commitment of diverse stakeholders in supporting social change and celebrate their achievements.