SMS Donations – For Charities and Other NGOs

Back to all posts
SMS Donations – For Charities and Other NGOs

The international organisation Red Cross has recently chosen GatewayAPI as their new SMS gateway in Denmark. We think this is an excellent opportunity to look into how SMS donation works and how charities and other organisations can benefit from it.

How it works

First of all, to be able to receive SMS donations, a 4-digit number is needed (Danish Red Cross uses the number ‘1290’). The non-technical explanation is that a user sends an SMS to 1290, e.g. with the text GIVE100, which will automatically charge 100 DKK on the user’s phone bill. When the payment has been successfully completed, the user will receive a SMS thanking him or her for the donation.


A cooperation between four telephone operators in Denmark (TDC, Telenor, Telia and 3) named 4T has fortunately made it easier to set up overcharging of SMS messages. It basically means that instead of having to integrate the solution with a different system for each operator, charities and other organisations only have to integrate their solution with 4T (this is only relevant for organisations operating in Denmark).

If you are a NGO or a company that wishes to have its own short code for receiving SMS messages, donations or regular SMS billing, then contact to learn more.

Let’s get technical: When a person sends a SMS to Danish Red Cross, e.g. with the text ‘JULEGAVE’ where 100 DKK is donated to families that cannot afford to celebrate Christmas, a number of steps is set in motion:

  • Step 1: At first GatewayAPI will receive the SMS
  • Step 2: Gatewayapi will match the incoming text, e.g JULEGAVE, to a donation of 100DKK
  • Step 3: A call is then made to 4T confirming that the person is able to send 100 DKK.
  • Step 4: When it has been confirmed, 4T can charge the money
  • Step 5: GatewayAPI is notified of the successful donation.
  • Step 6: GatewayAPI sends a ‘Thankyou-SMS’ to the user.

Lending a hand through SMS

Danish Red Cross is a humanitarian organisation with over 32,000 volunteers that helps people in need, be it refugees, exposed children or people caught in disaster areas. Worldwide, Red Cross counts over 17 million volunteers. Over 200,000 persons in Denmark support Red Cross by making monthly or one-time contributions. Obviously, the more money that is donated to Danish Red Cross, the more people they are able to help.

The beauty about SMS donations is that it makes it extremely easy for individuals to send small donations of 15-30 euro to the charity they prefer. This makes it much more likely that they will donate, since there is a risk that people abandon the idea again if they have to go through a complicated process. Donors will also be able to act on their impulses and quickly go from “hmmm…this is a pretty good charity” to actually making a donation – e.g. after watching a TV spot.

Besides handling SMS donations, GatewayAPI will also handle regular SMS communication on behalf of Danish Red Cross. Here GatewayAPI can be used to send SMS messages that encourage the target group to make small donations with the option of sending €15, €25 or €30 simply by replying to the SMS. Danish Red Cross has previously used this method when there has been an urgent need of help somewhere in the world.

It is relevant to mention that charities are exempted from the Marketing Practises Act in Denmark and are therefore able to send SMS messages to individuals without their prior consent. Companies are not able to do this.


Easy to use and competitive prices

We are glad to welcome Danish Red Cross to GatewayAPI. They are in good company among our thousands of customers worldwide.

When asked why they chose GatewayAPI the reply was:

“We have chosen to cooperate with GatewayAPI for several reasons. First of all, their interfaces are user-friendly, their documentation and approach to API seems logic and easy to implement. Furthermore, they have been proactive in terms of new solutions and last but not least their prices are extremely competitive. We look forward to working with the GatewayAPI team, tells Rikke Hansen, Consultant at Danish Red Cross. “


Want to help?

Right now there are currently 600,000 refugees from Myanmar as well as a huge amount of people in Yemen who are in urgent need of help. In the western hemisphere there are also hundreds of thousands who are either lonely or need financial help to celebrate Christmas properly with their loved ones. It is fantastic that an organisation like Red Cross can organise the help for these vulnerable groups.

If you wish to help, then you can visit Danish Red Cross on: or the international site on:


Kind regards

Martin Pløger, sales manager and CFO, GatewayAPI