The viral campaign has raised more than £8,000,000, reports the BBC, but many people are accidentally texting the word “DONATE” instead of “BEAT” to the designated number. Not that there’s anything wrong with donating to UNICEF, but those involved in the campaign would likely prefer their selfie money go to the correct place.
Another mixup? People typing “BEAR” rather than “BEAT” are getting feedback on how to adopt a polar bear from the World Wildlife Fund. Spellcheck is just no help here.
UNICEF said about £18,625 has been identified as being accidentally pledged in what it calls “a genuine mix-up”, and that it’s working with Cancer Research UK to transfer the funds to the right place.
“UNICEF is not responsible for this error. However, we’ve been working hard to find a resolution to the situation for those affected,” said the charity’s director of individual giving.
“We contacted Cancer Research [UK] as soon as we became aware of what was happening. UNICEF and Cancer Research [UK] have agreed that these donations will be received in full by Cancer Research [UK]. We are now working closely with all parties involved to ensure that this doesn’t happen again in the future.”
The text keyword DONATE is used solely by UNICEF for the purposes of public donations via SMS, the spokesperson explains.
As for the WWF, it says it hasn’t taken any money from mistaken texts, as the automated replies from that charity simply tell people someone will be in touch with them soon.
“When we realized there was a lot of interest in a campaign we weren’t presently running we made sure our automatic text message response let the sender know their text had gone awry,” said the 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 makeup.”
And I’ll leave you on that adorable thought… polar bears wearing makeup? Ridiculous. Where would they even buy it from? Chuckle.
You can follow MBQ on Twitter if you’d like to further discuss the somewhat disturbing idea of a wild animal in makeup: @marybethquirk