SMS-Driven Fundraiser for Far East Flood Victims Kicks Off in Russia

St. Petersburg, Russia, 7 October 2013. A unique SMS-driven fundraiser, has been launched in Russia under the banner “All Together”. The goal of the campaign is to raise funds for families hit by the floods in the Russian Far East. This event proved to be the biggest non-profit campaigns in Europe – more than 9.5 million people took part in it which allowed to raise more than USD 23 million, and a considerable part of it was raised through SMS.

After weeks of heavy rain at the end of July, five regions in Russia’s Far East were hit by one of the worst floods ever. Over 100,000 people were affected. TV’s Channel One spearheaded a nationwide fundraising effort to show the flood victims that the entire country cares about what happens to them.

Russian and CIS citizens, whether physically located in the CIS or outside, were encouraged to contribute to the fundraiser by texting the word VMESTE (Together) to 4447. A message costs around US $1.40, and varies slightly between cellular operators. There was no limit to the number of messages that can be sent.

i-Free, a specialist developer and implementer of mobile, NFC and electronic finance solutions and mobile applications, has also stepped in to handle the technical side of the fundraiser, as it has done in the past for other  nationwide SMS  fundraisers launched by Channel One.

“We are longtime partners with Channel One and we were glad to support this charity initiative,” said i-Free CEO Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov. “This was a great opportunity to help the thousands of people hit by these freak weather events. SMS-driven fundraisers are the fastest and easiest way to raise substantial sums of money and organize delivery of funds directly to the people who need it the most. This action was unparalleled not only from the point of view of scale, but also by its moral importance, as it consolidated our people, our country and recalled the most noble feelings.”

For this fundraiser, Channel One has brought together dozens of popular TV hosts and celebrities – famous artists and other prominent members of the show business community. The company featured live reports from towns and rural communities in the Far East that have been hit hard by the floods, as well as updates from several sites and studios in Moscow starting at 8am Moscow time on September 29th.

All the proceeds from the SMS fundraiser that are received by Channel One, i-Free and the mobile operators involved will be disbursed to flood victims. Channel One will direct the raised funds to the construction of homes for families hit by the floods. Channel One will inform the viewers of the progress of construction work in the             news broadcasts.

 For more information about the “All Together” campaign, please visit Channel One’s website.


i-Free is a Russian innovation company that has operated in the CIS since 2001 and internationally since 2006. The company develops and implements cutting-edge solutions in mobile and NFC technology, electronic finance, digital content distribution, electronic payments and micropayments, applications for smartphones and new network devices, digital products for the B2C market, and B2B projects in mobile marketing.

i-Free has more than 750 employees and is headquartered in St Petersburg with a regional office in Moscow. Outside Russia, i-Free has offices in Kiev (Ukraine), Minsk (Belarus), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Mumbai (India), Beijing (China), and Sao Paulo (Brazil). The company’s products and services are available to consumers and businesses in more than 100 countries.

i-Free partners with the leading mobile operators in Russia and the CIS, with international mobile equipment vendors, banks, transnational brands, major media groups, publishers, and online resources.

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