01 February 2013

Singapore, 1 February 2013 – StarHub has just launched a brand new technological initiative named Donate-A-Tone, which allows its mobile customers to do their part for charity by raising awareness and making a donation at the same time.

Donate-A-Tone enables the selected charity, Samaritans of Singapore (SOS), to tap onto a previously unused media space of a 2.5 million-strong network of mobile subscribers: their Connecting Tones. Connecting tones are the sounds, either tones or music, that a caller hears when he or she places a call.

StarHub mobile subscribers can simply visit microsite donateatone.sg to opt to donate their Connecting Tones to SOS. Upon confirmation, their Connecting Tones will then be switched to a message from SOS asking for donations and volunteers.

StarHub will waive the usual one-time subscription fee of $2.14 (with GST) for customers signing up for Connecting Tones for the first time, if their selection is Donate-A-Tone. The separate monthly Connecting Tones charge of $2.14 (with GST), that is payable by customers and can be renewed every month, will go wholly to SOS.

In addition, the StarHub Sparks Fund will match all donations made through Donate-A-Tone subscriptions dollar-for-dollar, up to $50,000.

“Media space is a premium anywhere in Singapore, and that makes it even more difficult for a charity to raise money without spending money,” said Mr Chan Kin Hung, Head of Marketing & Products, StarHub. “That is how StarHub, with our vast network of mobile subscribers, can help. Donate-A-Tone allows our consumers to make a donation to SOS, while also helping to raise awareness on SOS’ efforts.”

The innovative campaign is a collaboration between StarHub and their creative agency, DDB Group Singapore.

As to why SOS was chosen as the beneficiary, Mr Chan noted that SOS has been an available lifeline to anyone in crisis for 43 years. It handles more than 120 calls a day through its 24-hour hotline. With the increase in calls received, SOS needs more volunteers to match the growing demands for their services.

“The bleak economic climate, with more calls, fewer volunteers, and less donations, has also not made things any better,” added Mr Chan, revealing that on the average one person dies by suicide in Singapore every day while many more attempt to take their own lives. “Samaritans of Singapore is also trying to be creative in reaching out to volunteers and donors but as a Voluntary Welfare Organisation (VWO), it is not easy to do so. That is why we decided to lend a hand.”

Ms Christine Wong, Executive Director of SOS noted the wide network of StarHub customers across the country which can be reached out to through Donate-a-tone. “Many people have told us they want to help in suicide prevention but do not know how,” she said. “Suicide prevention is not about being a brave hero like in the movies; the little things count. By donating your tone, you can help us spread awareness about SOS services and the need for more volunteers. You never know who may call you, hear the Donate-a-tone message and actually end up changing and saving so many lives!”

Commenting on Donate-a-tone, Ms Wong said that it is a creative and innovative idea which would appeal to people of all ages. “StarHub is one of the biggest telecommunications companies in Singapore and actively helps the community through various initiatives,” she added. “We are very grateful to StarHub and DDB Group Singapore for affirming the role of SOS in suicide prevention in Singapore and for all the hard work they have invested in this project.”

Mr Chan also shared that this is not StarHub’s only charitable effort involving consumers, with StarHub customers having had the option to redeem a tax-deductible donation to MINDS Towner Garden School using their Rewards points since 2009.

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