For the benefit of any non UK readers ‘Children In Need’ is a charity who hold an annual ‘telethon’ on BBC Television. This is happening as I write this.

Normally on Children in Need day when you walk through Manchester City Centre you are sure to encounter people collecting for Children In Need (CIN). Strangely today I didn’t see any (not to say there was none – I probably just wasn’t in the right location at the right time).

Watching the show tonight knowing first hand that CIN does support projects that do good work I thought I’d be generous and give some money. (Disclosure I work for organisations that have received CIN funding in the past.)

I didn’t fancy calling the number they kept promoting (incidentally a 03 ‘non geographic – geographic rate’ number) – mainly as I didn’t have my credit card to hand – which I assume they would want, plus didn’t really fancy sticking a donation on my card.

One failing this year – they didn’t promote SMS text donation on air very much.

However the rest of my experience was excellent.

Opening the address, which was constantly on screen, on my mobile phone, the site detected I was using a mobile, and gave me a nice mobile friendly page.

I found the ‘how to donate’ link fairly clearly – which then gave me a list of links including donation by phone, post, paypal, you name it – plus donate by text.

Following the ‘text’ link gave me clear instructions to text a short code (plus explanation of costs etc.)

The short code was a hyper-link – pressing which opened my text message composer pre-entered with the shortcode number and relevant message keyword.

Hitting send and I’ll be relieved of £5 on my next mobile bill (well I bet it will be £5.12 – as the ‘one text at standard operator rate’ last time I did something like this did not come out of my free texts allowance.)

The confirmation text I received gave me a nice link to a special page to ‘gift aid’ the donation. Another mobile friendly webpage to confirm my mobile number and name and address in order to register for gift aid (where the charity can reclaim the tax on the donation).

Overall an excellent user experience which is worthy of note. I feel that “I’ve done my bit”  with minimum effort and at no point feeling that I should stop the process as it was too complicated or unclear.

I guess if you wanted a totally seemless experience this gift aid form could have been pre-populated with details like my mobile phone number (even name and address) – but that would mean that my phone company would have to pass on my personal details to a third party – I may ‘trust’ BBC CIN – but certainly wouldn’t trust some other companies who work in the mobile arena with getting my personal details from my telco. So I’ll live with filling them in myself.