Tories use SMS scheme to raise cash

The Conservative Party is looking to boost its revenues with the launch of a new SMS loyalty scheme.

The initiative, overseen by the party's director of income generation, Mike Chattey, will see party supporters sent a weekly text newsflash at a charge of £1.50 per message - money that will go straight into the Conservative Party coffers.

The content of the texts will vary, from news about polling to criticisms of other political parties or even specific messages from individual shadow cabinet members. The subscribers will be sent news at the same time as it is released to journalists so, in theory, before the rest of the public.

Chattey explained: "There are many supporters out there who want to donate but do not want to get involved in canvassing or campaigning.

"The texts may be from Boris Johnson, telling recipients to look out for his next column in The Daily Telegraph. They could even be the latest Prescott gaff. Our aim is to broaden the base of our fundraising."

The service will be promoted via a leaflet, which will be sent to all registered Conservative supporters and all party members. Details are also available on the party's website. The service will be run by Metacharge.

Chattey said that the party will look into using SMS as a marketing tool immediately before the next election, but added that this was something that was still to be decided.

The Conservative Party, led by Michael Howard, recently signed Immediate Sales and Media Planning Group to handle its marketing for the next general election.