Children in Need 2010 is kicking off as we speak. While it's an excellent opportunity to watch BBC newsreaders act incredibly embarrassingly and a little bit sexily at the same time, we should also remember the point of the whole affair is to raise money. Lots of it, and that ain't going to happen unless you know where to send the pounds, shillings and pence.
So, presuming you don't have an oversized cheque to present on live TV, here's how the online and techno-gadgetry world can help you to donate without having to get up off the sofa.
Donate direct online
We may as well start with the most straight forward and direct way and that’s to head over to the Children in Need website on the BBC, where you can donate as much or as little as you like by filling in a couple of simple fields, your credit or debit card details and then hitting the over-sized donate button at the bottom of the page, just in case you missed it. Don’t forget to tick the Gift Aid box if you’re a UK tax payer. It means that Children in Need can claim back 25p for every pound you spend from the Government and at no extra personal cost to you whatsoever.
Donate online via Paypal
If you don’t have any cash money sitting round in the bank that you’re willing to part with, then how about any proceeds knocking around your Paypal account from the odd eBay sale here or there? Fill in the form on the BBC site where the oversized button reads “Pay by Paypal” this time, and it’ll take you through to the e-money service. Again, don’t forget the Gift Aid box.
Donate by phone call
If you’d rather not fill in forms because you suspect you’ve got some key-logging software stuck on your machine or you’re just plain paranoid, then you can always pick up your blower and give all the information direct. The number to call is 0345 7 33 22 33. It counts as a standard geographic UK number and will be billed just as a normal 01 or 02 conversation. Of course, you’ll still have to part with all your sensitive credit or debit card information but, fear not, there are other ways you can donate without using bank plastic at all.
Donate by SMS
3, O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Vodafone and Cable and Wireless have all agreed to waive the text fee to allow their subscribers to donate via SMS. (No mention of Tesco Mobile. We’re hoping that O2 counts as them in this instance.) There are only two amounts you can donate by text and that’s either £5 or £10 but, that said, you can do so up to 7 times. To give a fiver, text DONATE to 70705 or for a tenner it’s 70710. Lines are active until 31 December, so you’ve got plenty of time to feel guilty about it before you finally fold. If you’re still unsure of the small print, there’s plenty of it to read.
Donate via the red button
Satellite subscribers can also give just by picking up the remote control and hitting the world famous red button. No point in trying it if your set top box isn’t connected to the Internet, but all Virgin Media, BT Vision and Sky customers should be safe here. Follow the onscreen instructions which will get you to fill in a few details of your pledge, including your credit card details, and then you can get back to eating your chips while people make idiots of themselves on TV. Who’s the idiot now? Eh?
No, it’s still them.
Donate by online banking
Children in Need also has a direct bank account which you can plop your donations straight into from your online service. That way, so long as you trust your provider, you should be pretty comfortable with this method. The details you’re after are:
Account Name: BBC Children in Need Appeal
Account Number: 51535293
Sort Code: 40-05-30
Donate with a BlackBerry app
Shame on Android, iPhone and the other mobile platforms for not jumping in on this one and hurray for BlackBerry for getting involved. There is a free BlackBerry Children in Need theme you can download for your handset which both turns your wallpapers and desktops spotty and also allows you to easily make donations directly from your phone. A matching case is also available for £14.99, with 20 per cent going directly to Children in Need.
Donate with Digital Ears
Grab yourself a pair of virtual Pudsey the bear spotty ears and you too can look as silly, and yet charitable, as Terry Wogan on all your online social networking profile pictures or in any digital photo at all. Head over to the Pudsey Ears site, upload you image, donate £1 and the process will guide you through how to look stunning with cartoon bear ears. Easy peasy, lasts forever and only costs a quid. Bargain.
Support on Facebook & Twitter
There’s no way of direct donation through either Facebook or Twitter this year, but you can show your support for Children in Need by becoming a fan of or following Pudsey on the respective social networks. It may sound silly, but remember that when you make clicks, likes and comments on Facebook, you spread the word to all your friends via their news streams. As for Twitter, all the tweets and mentions will both let you know how you can help out as well as keep you informed with all the up to the minute news of the dizzy heights the fund raising has reached.
Have you seen other ways to donate to the cause? Let us know in the comments and spread the good word.