Text-to-Give 101

Text-to-Give 101

If you’ve already gotten the chance to add the basics of mobile fundraising into your toolkit, it’s time to add the particulars of text-to-give to that handy belt of knowledge.

It’s a fairly simple concept, and once you get a bit beyond the basics, you’ll feel like a downright expert: a text-to-give handyman, if you will.

In this article, we’ll be looking at a number of basics. If you want to skip ahead to a question that you have or a topic you’re interested in, just click on any of the following links:

  1. What does text-to-give normally look like for a nonprofit?
  2. What does text-to-give look like for a donor?
  3. What is the difference between text-to-give, text-to-donate, and text-to-tithe?
  4. What is the difference between providers?

Keep reading to get the run-down on text-to-give fundraising!

Learn how the text-to-give process works for nonprofits.

1. What does text-to-give normally look like for a nonprofit?

Text-to-give technology takes many shapes. Getting started with a technology provider that fits your nonprofit’s needs is the most important step. The rest should be fairly simple, like hanging a picture or tightening a bolt with a wrench!Here’s what text-to-give typically looks like on the nonprofit’s side: 

Step 1: Choose a software provider to help.

There are a lot of providers out there, so make sure you pick the platform that will provide the best experience for your donors while also keeping their gifts secure.

Step 2: You’ll be given a phone number that’s tied to your nonprofit.

Depending on your software provider, you may or may not have a trigger word. With providers like Snowball, your organization won’t actually need a trigger word.

Also known as a keyword, a trigger word is an easy-to-remember word or phrase that donors can type into their phones and send as a text in order to trigger a link to be sent to their phones. An example of a trigger word would be ‘GIVE.’

When there’s no trigger word, your nonprofit’s donors can simply text the amount they’d like to donate, as in this example:

When donors text-to-give, they will be sent a link to your organization's mobile donation form.

They can, of course, also include other words such as “offering” or “send,” as long as the number of the amount they’d like to give comes first. So “10 offering” would work, while “Send 10” wouldn’t quite make the cut.

There also aren’t any donation caps, so donors can text to give any amount their heart desires. A single donor could easily text “200” to their favorite nonprofit and donate $200 in just a few clicks.

Step 3: Your nonprofit can begin receiving funds almost immediately.

You’ll need to promote your new giving avenue, but once your donors know that you offer text-to-give, they’ll be sure to jump on that mobile fundraising train with you.

In addition to receiving funds nearly instantaneously, your nonprofit will also be able to export crucial information about each donor (name, phone number, email address, donation history) to your donor management software.


Learn how the text-to-give process works for donors.

2. What does text-to-give look like for a donor?

Knowing what text-to-give looks like for your donors can help you better explain the process to new donors. Once they’ve gone through the process on their own, they’ll see that it truly is one of the simplest ways to give to charity.

Here are the steps to donate:

Step 1: Donors are given a phone number to text to.

This phone number is entirely unique to your nonprofit.

Step 2: A donor texts that number.

They have the option to text either a trigger word, like ‘GIVE’ or any combination of words as long as the number of the amount they’d like to give comes first, as in ’10 offering.’

Step 3: The number will automatically text back with a link to follow.

If this is the donor’s first time donating over text, they will be taken to a short donation form page which will ask for standard information, such as name, phone number, email address, payment information, etc.

The text-to-give process only takes three simple steps.

Step 4: The donor receives a confirmation email.

They will be sent an email to the address they provided asking them to confirm that they want to give.

They will click to confirm, and then voila! The money is sent automatically.

With Snowball, once a donor has entered in their information one time, they’ll be able to give with just 2 clicks. The first click is to send the text, and the second click is to hit “confirm” in the email.

The whole process is so quick and easy–it’s like hammering a nail into a wall.

Text-to-give is a great way not only to raise money but also to raise awareness and keep your followers informed about your cause.


Discover the difference between text-to-give, text-to-donate, and text-to-tithe.

3. What is the difference between text-to-give, text-to-donate, and text-to-tithe?


Text-to-give technology, as we’ve said before (and will probably say again), is the technology that allows donors to text their favorite nonprofits specific donation amounts while on the go.

“Text-to-give” is the most frequently used of the three terms.


Text-to-donate is just another way of saying “text-to-give.” There’s no distinction between the two terms “text-to-give” and “text-to-donate.”

“Text-to-give” and “text-to-donate” are completely interchangeable.


Churches everywhere are hopping on the text-to-tithe bandwagon. What is text-to-tithe, though? And how is it different from text-to-give or text-to-donate?

Truth be told, there really is no major difference. Text-to-tithe is essentially just text-to-give for church!

It’s all in how and where the technology is used. Texting-to-tithe is generally practiced by churchgoers, mainly on Sunday morning, although tithers can text their offerings in whenever, wherever.


Learn about the difference between text-to-give providers.

4. What is the difference between providers?

Text-to-give technology has been around for a few years now, and just like with any technology that’s been around for a while, there are more traditional routes, and then there are next-generation platform providers. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the traditional way, there are just some pretty major benefits to the way next-generation providers do things.

This chart compares the capabilities of different text-to-give providers.

Traditional Providers

Traditional providers were the pioneers of the industry. They forged a path that was easy to follow.

That being said, there were more than a few roadblocks along the way.

Here are just a few key issues with traditional providers:

  • Since text-to-give campaigns were only available for nonprofits through cell phone providers, there were huge delays in receiving funds. Cell phone providers would wait until all payments were processed on their end before they would send the proceeds to nonprofits, often delaying the receipt of funds up to 90 days.
  • Not only would they wait up to 90 days to process payments, they would also take a cut of the proceeds. For providing their services, cell phone companies would turn around and charge fees of 20% to 50%. That $5 donation you thought you made would really only end up being $2.50 after the cell phone companies got a hold of it.
  • Traditional providers also put a limit on donations made through texting. So even if you had wanted to donate more than $10 three times in one month, you would be cut off and capped at $30 total.
  • Setting up and registering for a text-to-give campaign the old-fashioned way, through cell phone providers, not only took a long time (4 to 6 weeks, typically) but these companies would more often than not require that your nonprofit had more than $500,000 in fundraising revenues. This put smaller (just as noble) nonprofits out of the running for having text-to-give as a fundraising option.
  • On top of all of the fees and delays, nonprofits were never able to collect or analyze any data about their donors. Cell phone companies would only provide a list of phone numbers and donation amounts.

Next-Generation Providers

Next-generation providers have a lot to thank the traditional providers for. Traditional providers paved the way for the next-generation to innovate.

Even though traditional providers do great work, the next-generation are the new industry leaders.

For every point mentioned above, next-generation providers have an answer and an improvement:

  • Unlike with traditional providers, funds are almost immediately available after a donation has been made. No 90-day delay!
  • There’s also no processing fee, meaning that all of your proceeds come directly back to your cause.
  • No cap on donations means that your donors can be as generous as they’d like.
  • Smaller nonprofits no longer have a barrier keeping them out. Now your small nonprofit can set up a text-to-give mobile fundraiser with great comfort and ease, just as effectively and efficiently as any major nonprofit.
  • Next-generation providers, like Snowball, also partner with all major payment processors, which means that there’s no hassle when it comes to figuring out how your money gets from one place to another.
  • They also provide a comprehensive list of donor information that can be easily imported into your nonprofit’s donor management software. This step makes it easier than ever for nonprofits to analyze and make informed decisions about their fundraising moving forward.

Next-generation mobile fundraising platform providers have really changed the text-to-give game.

Our Top Pick for Next-Generation Providers

Snowball is a leading mobile-giving provider. Among our many fundraising tools, our text-to-give software allows donors to give in just 3 simple steps! Learn more about the text-giving features available at Snowball.

You’ve shaken the dust off of your mobile fundraising tools, and now that you have text-to-give technology in your tool belt, it’s time to unpack some of the frequently asked questions.

If you’re interested in learning more information about mobile giving, check out these expert tips:

  • Ultimate Text-to-Give Guide: If you want a more in-depth look at text-to-give fundraising, our comprehensive guide can help. This guide will help you determine what to look for in a text-to-give provider as well as strategies for including text-to-give in your fundraising strategy.
  • Myths About Text-to-Give Campaign Costs: You might have heard a few misconceptions about text-to-give campaigns. This article will shed some light on these common myths to help you see the truth.
  • Top Text-to-Give Tools: Now that you’ve brushed up on the basics, its time to start your search for the right text-to-give tool. Double the Donation’s list of recommended tools can help you narrow down the options.

Request a demo of Snowball's comprehensive text-to-give software today!

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