Portstewart business boosts fundraising for charities

Copyright: John Harrison Photography

In picture are, left Des Gartland, Invest NI North West Regional Office Manager, and Michael Carlin, Managing Director of InstaGiv

InstaGiv, a Portstewart-based specialist in mobile communications, is being assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to develop technology that will help charities in the United Kingdom and Ireland raise funds.

Formed in 2009 by Michael Carlin, who has extensive experience in financial services in the UK, US, India and Hong Kong, InstaGiv now offers a range of technology products that enable charities to take advantage of recent UK legislation allowing VAT-free donations to be texted using mobile phones.

The company is investing £148,000 to develop and market its technology products and has received assistance from Invest NI of £10,480. It plans to employ two people at management level by the end of next year.

Announcing support for the company, Des Gartland, Manager of Invest NI’s North West Regional Office, said: “InstaGiv is an interesting business model with immense potential. It harnesses the latest mobile communications and internet-microsite technologies to offer charities new ways to raise the funds needed to support projects both here and overseas.

“The company has already proven its technology-led service by running two successful fund raising campaigns for the Simon Community and Chest, Heart and Stroke, and has attracted the attention of other charities particularly in Great Britain. It is well-positioned to grow its business and to develop into other added-value technology areas that it has identified.

“Our support for the small business reflects our focus on providing practical support that will facilitate the growth of entrepreneurial, innovative and export-led companies. The funding will enable the company to develop its plans to expand its sales and operations,” added Mr Gartland.

Commenting on the company’s business plans, Mr Carlin, the Managing Director, said: “Texting has become an important communications tool and one likely to continue to grow strongly in the future.

“Virtually everybody with a mobile phone now texts messages. Increasingly texting is being used by companies and organisations to market their services. Television fund raising campaigns have also been encouraging text donations.

“I decided to set up InstaGiv because I saw an opportunity in the decision by the UK government to allow charities to use texting services as a way to raise funds without having VAT deducted at source. Desk research also indicated that mobile fund raising could amount to £100 million over the next five years.

“I have developed a portfolio of products that enable charities to maximise the funding opportunity now presented. The products include mobile fund raising kits that make it easier for them to harness texting technology, a mobile communications package, a system for online charity text donations and a guide to corporate sponsorship.

“My services will also enable charities to harness the potential for fund raising through social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Social media is becoming increasingly important, especially among young people, as a real time communications tool. It’s essential, therefore, that charities particularly in today’s difficult economic conditions, harness the latest internet and communications technologies to reach as wide an audience of potential donors as possible,” added Mr Carlin.