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Charity telephone numbers – Which range is best?

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The importance of having a phone number that allows those wanting to access their services at low cost for a charity is huge. The whole remit of a charity is to do something good, something that helps individuals or groups, so it is important that the number provided as a helpline number or an office number is one that also carries this message.

For some time now, charities have been able to sign up to be part of the Helplines Partnership. This initiative allows the organisations taking part to offer a Freephone number to the public with the added benefit of offering free calls from mobiles.

As the number of mobile calls continues to rise and take over the amount of landline calls made, it is more and more necessary to organisations to cater for lower cost mobile calls.

Ofcom has assured us that by June 2015, the 0800 and 0808 number ranges, which are otherwise referred to as Freephone, will be just that – free from all phones. As it stands, calls to 0800 and 0808 numbers are only free to call from landline phone, with each mobile provider being able to set their own call rates – which can often be up to 41p per minute.

As and when this change comes in to play, it remains to be seen how charities, whether they are part of the Helplines Partnership or not, will be affected. Currently, because the caller is charged to call from a mobile, the running costs of an 0800 number are relatively low, this could stand to change drastically once the changes are introduced, as the organisation providing the number will be liable for the costs.

This is where the 0300 number range comes in. Ofcom introduced it in 2011 exclusively for charities, so that they are able to offer low cost mobile and landline calls to their calls as well as keeping operating costs down. This offers a consistent way for charities to offer their helpline and office phone numbers without the risk of price increases for both the charity and the callers.

With this in mind, a number of high profile charities have already switched over to the 0300 range, including Cancer Research UK, Stroke Association, RSPCA and Macmillan Cancer Support. All of these now ensure that each and every call made to the charities are never charged at more than a basic rate, with calls being included in monthly minute bundles – so these calls are effectively free.

Ultimately, the 0300 range simplifies charity telephone communications and the charging mechanisms so that charities can focus their time and funds upon their work – if you think your charity, beneficiaries and supporters could benefit from switching to the 0300 range, call Core Telecom on 0330 111 0033 and receive the first three months service free!