A texting blunder has led to thousands of pounds being donated to both Unicef and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), instead of Cancer Research as part of the ‘No Make Up Selfie’ craze.
— WWF UK (@wwf_uk) March 25, 2014
The internet craze has raised more than £8million for Cancer Research UK but nearly £20,000 of this was sent to children’s charity Unicef by accident when they texted ‘DONATE’ rather than ‘BEAT’.
Others inadvertently expressed an interest in adopting a polar bear from WWF when they texted ‘BEAT’ but their phones auto-corrected this to ‘BEAR’.
Concerns were raised when those involved received a text reply reading: ‘Thank you for choosing an adorable polar bear. We will call you today to set up your adoption.’
Unicef told the BBC £18,625 has so far been donated to them incorrectly, but every penny intended for Cancer Research UK will find its way safely back as Unicef is now working with the cancer charity to replace the money.
Director of individual giving at Unicef UK, Mike Flynn, said: ‘Unicef believes this error has occurred due to those interested in donating to the #nomakeupselfie campaign sharing the text keyword ‘DONATE’ – rather than the keyword ‘BEAT’ – and the text number 70099, which has then been repeated across social media.
‘DONATE to 70099′ is an SMS keyword and shortcode combination that Unicef have sole use of, specifically for any members of the public who contact us and wish to donate to us via SMS.
‘Unicef is not responsible for this error however we’ve been working hard to find a resolution to the situation for those affected.
‘We are now working closely with all parties involved to ensure that this doesn’t happen again in the future.’
‘Any texts sent to us instead of Cancer Research [UK] would not result in any donations going to help protect polar bears as WWF relies on human operators calling people back to confirm adoptions, so no money would have changed hands,’ said Kerry Blackstock, WWF’s director of fundraising.
‘We wish Cancer Research UK every success in their campaign and their goals, polar bear selfies are harder to come by, though, as far as we are aware, none wear make-up.’
The campaign, which began on social media last week, asks women to post photos of themselves online without make-up, with the hashtag #nomakeupselfie.
Katherine Jenkins, Helen Flanagan, Tulisa Contostavlos, Millie Mackintosh, Kerry Katona, Kym Marsh and Michelle Heaton are just a few of the female celebs going without make up for a good cause.
The charity also saw a rise in people donating at their Cancer Research UK shops, and a huge peak in visits to its website.
— Cancer Research UK (@CR_UK) March 25, 2014