Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/04/14/ee_capitulates/
Everything Everywhere stops plundering the charity box
Enter the repentant villain, stage left
Everything Everywhere has suspended its practice of taking 10 per cent of charitable donations, and claims it is now working on an alternative, and more sustainable, model.
EE had been taking the cut from text donations to cover its costs, other than those charities selected as "partners" by the operator. The operator still maintains that it never made any money from the practice, but in the face of a media bandwagon it had no option but to suspend the collections immediately while it comes up with a better plan.
The partner charities include Comic Relief, Sport Relief, Children In Need, Royal British Legion and Unicef. Those charities, the operator reckons, soak up the "vast majority" of charitable giving by text message, but collecting money costs money – so the thousands of other charities were expected to cough up a 10th of the gifts to cover the collection costs.
Every fundraising mechanism costs money, but EE got caught out as the only operator charging charities for the service. That created a perfect storm for stories about the big bad corporation which was stealing from little charities – but not big charities: how perfect can a pantomime villain get?
EE tells us that it is more concerned with the £700m lost by donors who did not take advantage of Gift Aid (which enables charities to claim back the tax on donations), and the operator is apparently working on a donation system which will redress that problem.
But while it does that, EE is suspending the collection of its 10 per cent cut, so every penny texted will go to the charity of choice, at least until the operator can find another way to cover its costs. ®