It’s harder than you think to make a difference.

If your inbox is at all like mine, I’m guessing you get a couple of emails a day asking you to promote this charity or that good cause.

It’s not surprising – life is very difficult for the voluntary sector in the UK today. Funding is being cut left, right and centre, and donations are hard to come by when many families are struggling just to make ends meet.

When considering any charity promotion I tend to ask myself some basic questions: what do they want me to do, who will that help, and is this campaign transparent? 

Potentially unpopular confession: I am not a fan of click-based campaigning.


Tweet this, like this, share this .. what’s it all in aid of?  In 99% of cases, I’m worried that all those campaigns do is give someone a warm and fuzzy feeling for sharing a website that (in all likelihood) they haven’t read.

I like campaigns that really make a difference.

Give me some information I can share that might save a life, and I’m all in. Ask me to help donate money for an emergency relief fund, and I’ll sign up on the spot. Ask me to ‘like’ a Facebook page, though, and I’m a bit less convinced.

This week, I was invited to attend a launch of a brand new mobile network, TPO, which I think gives us all an opportunity to really, REALLY make a difference.

TPO is a new mobile network that donates 25% of its profits to charity.

By switching from your current mobile network to TPO, you are helping raise funds for a range of good causes chosen by the TPO Foundation, an independent charity that will help distribute the funds raised by TPO to a range of good causes across the UK.

But that’s not all. As a TPO customer, you’ll be asked to create an account, where you can specify any good cause or charity you’d like to support – TPO will then ensure that 10% of whatever you spend on calls, texts and data is passed on to the cause you nominate.

Providing the good cause you nominate is eligible (it needs to actually be a good cause, not just your brother’s 21st birthday party fund, for example) you can support pretty much any cause you choose.

You might choose to support a large charity, but equally you could support a local community group. Parents in the same neighbourhood can band together to support a local school or children’s centre. Or you could, as a family, switch to the network and raise funds for a medical charity that’s close to your heart. Charities and community groups will be able to market TPO to their supporters and use a referral code that means they’ll receive the 10% donation from those users once they’re live on the TPO network.

I actually really like this idea. 


Think about what you spend in a typical month on your mobile phone/data plans – £20? £30?

Over a year, on TPO, your 10% donation could easily mean raising £30 for a good cause. And if 100 people all supported the same cause, that’s £3,000 – and nobody had to do anything other than use their mobile phone in the same way they usually would. Data on the current PAYG tariff isn’t cheap, but calls and texts between TPO handsets are free, and TPO promises there will be cheaper contracts and handsets available through its website in the New Year.

You can find out more about TPO by following them on Twitter, or via their website.

[Disclosure: TPO paid my travel expenses to attend the launch of the network. I also drank free coffee, but Esther Rantzen was between me and the croissants so that was a no-go.] 


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