Text-to-give is a modern fundraising method that enables donors to give to nonprofits via their mobile phones. Using their phones’ native texting applications, donors can instantly text donations to their favorite nonprofits.
In 2010, one of the first publicized text-to-give campaigns was The Red Cross’s relief efforts after Haiti’s devastating earthquake. For months, “Text HAITI to 90999” flashed across Americans’ TVs, phones, and computer screens. Ultimately, it raised $487.6 million, paving the way for mobile giving.
Nonprofits of all sizes can take several notes from this game-changing fundraising campaign. For starters, reach your donors where they are and simplify the giving process. Then, recognize that as technology develops, so should your organization’s fundraising plan. That means employing new marketing techniques and especially offering new donation opportunities. Considering that mobile giving donations have increased 205% in the past several years, you’re likely missing out on a chunk of revenue by not taking advantage of mobile giving.
Text-to-give has quickly become a must-have in the nonprofit realm and for good reason: it works. In addition to boosting revenue, text donations enable nonprofits to improve donor engagement and retention, helping them to secure long-term support for their cause.
Getting started with text giving might seem a little confusing. To help, the experts here at Snowball have created a list of must-know information and vital tips for better text-to-give fundraising. Let’s take a look at mobile giving on a deeper level:
Text-to-give is a powerfully effective giving vehicle that organizations shouldn’t overlook. Nonprofits both big and small stand to gain a lot from incorporating it in their fundraising strategy.
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The Basics of Text-to-Give
Text-to-give is a powerful fundraising method. It enables nonprofits of all sizes to reach new fundraising heights by providing their donors with a new, modern way to give.
We’ve briefly touched on what text-to-give is, but let’s take a closer look at what all it entails.
What is Text-to-Give?
Text-to-give is using texting to donate to nonprofit, faith-based, and political organizations. It allows donors to give any time, anywhere in only a few seconds. Supporters will text your organization’s keyword and donation amount to your phone number, which is assigned by your provider. You can designate these donations to go toward your annual fund or to a specific campaign.
Often, you may hear text-to-give referred to by a number of names, such as:
- Text Giving
- Mobile Giving
- Text-to-Tithe (for churches)
Regardless of what you call it, this modern approach to fundraising has the power to transform your fundraising but only if you employ the best practices.
Mobile Giving FAQ
Since you’re brand new to mobile giving, a lot of questions are likely floating around your mind. Let’s dive into some of those.
How Much Does Text-to-Give Cost?
The cost varies per platform, but typically, it’s based on a flat fee amount in addition to the credit card’s fixed processing rate. For the most cost-effective investment, choose a platform that gives you unlimited text and text-to-give keywords and bypasses mobile carrier fees (like Snowball!).
How Much is the Standard Gift with Text-to-Give?
According to Nonprofit Source, the average donation size for text-to-donate campaigns is $107. A common misconception is that text donations are typically small. Not only can they be substantial, but text-to-give enables easy setup for future recurring donations. In other words, you may encourage ongoing support and gifts from donors without making additional donation appeals.
Is Mobile Fundraising Secure?
If you choose a PCI-compliant text-to-give provider, your information will be protected. Go with a provider that also uses authentication and tokenization to protect important donor info (such as payment information and addresses).
How Can My Nonprofit Incorporate Mobile Fundraising?
The great thing about text-to-give is that it can work both on its own and in coordination with other fundraisers. Try hosting a fundraising campaign that relies solely on text-to-give donations, create a peer-to-peer fundraiser where volunteers raise funds via text-to-give, or simply post flyers with your text-to-give number at your fundraising events.
How Do You Promote a Text-to-Give Campaign?
For the best results, incorporate your text-to-give campaign in all your communications. Share your number and keyword on social media, in your email signature, and on direct mail appeals with an eye-catching insert.
How Text-to-Give Works
Text-to-give is a fairly straightforward process. Let’s take a look at it from both the nonprofit and the donor perspectives.
Note: The text-to-give process differs from platform to platform. The following steps are for Snowball’s text-to-give platform.
Step 1: Choose a software provider.
Pick a text-to-give platform that offers the features your nonprofit needs while keeping your donors’ information secure.
Step 2: Receive a unique phone number.
Your software provider will give your organization its unique phone number that donors can text. You’ll need to select a keyword so that your provider knows that those donations are for your specific text-to-give campaign.
Step 3: Promote your campaign.
Once everything’s squared away, you’ll need to promote your text-to-give campaign to donors. Share your organization’s number and keyword, and watch the donations fly in!
Step 1: Text the nonprofit’s phone number.
Initiate the transaction by texting the pre-selected keyword to an organization’s phone number. Intuitive software (like Snowball’s platform) will accept the donation even if there’s a typo.
Step 2: Follow the link.
Within a few seconds, you’ll receive a confirmation text with a link. Click on it and select your preferred donation amount. First-time donors will need to fill out a short donation form with their payment information. Repeat donors just click “donate.”
Step 3: Press send.
Clicking on “donate” in the text message will lead you to a pre-written email that authenticates the transaction. Simply press “send” to submit your donation. It’s as simple as that. A few clicks and the donation is sent!
Try it yourself! Text the word “gala” to (505) 412-4891 to experience a simulated transaction using Snowball’s text-to-give platform.
Why Text-to-Give Works
As one of the most effective donation methods, text-to-give empowers nonprofits of all sizes to reach new fundraising heights.
Why is this, though? For one, it uses technology that most donors already use on a daily basis. In fact, 96% of Americans own a cell phone, making it the preferred method of communication. Donors are already surfing the web and communicating with their loved ones, so why wouldn’t they take the time to send a quick donation to their favorite organization?
Since donors can make gifts on-the-go (and in just a few clicks), mobile fundraising is one of the easiest ways donors can contribute to your organization. You can even combine text-to-give with your other events and campaigns to maximize donations. Plus, it completely streamlines the donation process by eliminating the need to use a desktop, a laptop, or even direct mail. Donors can even opt to set up recurring donations and continue showing their support.
Remember, consistently engaging your donors in new ways is a common best practice for organizations. Give them new opportunities that take their needs and experience into consideration (like text-to-give), and they’re sure to stick around.
Text-to-Give Pro Tips
As you become more experienced with text giving, employ a more advanced approach to yield the best results. The fundraising experts at Snowball have compiled our top tips for better text-to-give fundraising.
Text-to-Give for Nonprofits
All nonprofits can benefit substantially from text-to-give—no matter their size. To maximize results, consider these pro suggestions:
1. Focus on clear campaign messaging.
Be clear about the need for your campaign and its goals. Make your reasons specific and actionable, and highlight exactly why yours is a cause worth supporting. Give donors purpose in their act of giving. Take the Red Cross’s Haiti earthquake relief efforts for example. When there’s a clear urgent need, we feel the urge to step up and contribute.
2. Feature it on marketing tools.
Across all your communications, make sure you’re actively promoting your organization’s number and keyword. Adjust your tactics according to the platform. For instance, create eye-catching inserts for direct mail. Add it to your email signature. Include it in your newsletters with a pop of color. Strategically include it in your social media posts. In any case, get creative!
3. Input collected donor data into your CRM.
Make sure to input donors’ names, phone numbers, email addresses, and billing addresses into your existing database. This way, you can incorporate them into your future fundraising efforts.
4. Track and analyze your data.
As with any fundraising activity, you should keep track of your performance. Track text-giving frequency and average text donation size to help inform your future donation appeals. Make note of any trends as well as any shifts away from those trends
5. Host it with an event.
Multiply revenue at your events by incorporating text-to-give. Make sure to hang engaging flyers with your text-to-donate number and shortcode. This way, donors won’t have to worry about remembering their wallets. Chances are they’re much more likely to have their cellphones on them anyway.
6. Try a peer-to-peer campaign.
A peer-to-peer campaign isn’t just a great way to spread the word about your cause; it’s a great way to spread your text-to-donate number, too. Encourage your volunteers to create their P2P pages like they normally would. Then, when they share their fundraising pages with their social networks, they can advertise your text-to-give number and shortcode.
7. Assign someone to be in charge of new donor data.
When you run a text-to-give campaign, you’ll be flooded with new donor information. Assign a staff member to take charge of the data. Then, put processes in place to account for common concerns, such as what to do if new data differs from old data and how to handle duplicate information.
8. Host a pledge campaign.
A pledge campaign is a great twist on traditional text-to-donate campaigns. Since the average mobile donation pledge for fundraising events is $167, your organization stands a good chance at boosting donations. Have volunteers create their pledge pages. Then, they can share your organization’s text-to-donate information. Supporters will have the option to pledge their support with the pledge page or donate right then by texting their gift.
9. Incorporate matching gifts.
To give via text, donors will have to give you their contact information. This is the perfect opportunity to email them about matching gifts, because their text donation might be eligible for a match through their employer. Learn more about this powerful giving vehicle here.
10. Make text-to-give part of your Giving Tuesday efforts.
Giving Tuesday (and other time-based initiatives) represents a great chance to encourage donors to expand their giving as a result of an urgent push. Because there’s a limited time frame, donors are motivated to act fast, and texting their donations is the fastest way to give.
Text-to-Give for Churches
Referred to as “text-to-tithe” in the church sector, text-to-give helps churches reach their fundraising goals. Considering that 7 out of 10 churchgoers use text messaging, faith-based organizations stand to gain a lot from mobile giving. Consider these best practices to set your church up for text-to-tithe success:
1. Walk your congregants through the process.
Even though this form of giving is secure (when it’s PCI-compliant, that is), some churchgoers may be skeptical at first. To help, walk them through the process step-by-step, using:
- Social media posts with graphics showing each step
- Informational posters and flyers
An illustrated guide is often the best way to assist those who are new to text-to-give get acquainted with these new tools!
2. Offer several options, including recurring donations.
With customizable suggested giving amounts, you can encourage congregants to give as little (or as much!) as they’d like. Then, provide them with the opportunity to become recurring donors. With some text fundraising platforms, donors can choose weekly or monthly recurring donations, and there are no donation caps (like Snowball!).
3. Create handouts with your church’s text-to-give information.
Create eye-catching handouts featuring your church’s text-to-give number and shortcode. Leverage the idea that text giving is more secure than passing the plate. In short, it eliminates the responsibility of handling, counting, storing, securing, and depositing checks and cash.
4. Always thank your donors.
Show your appreciation by thanking your generous congregants as soon as possible. As a general rule of thumb, don’t wait more than 48 hours. This may convey that you’re not truly appreciative of their contributions by putting them on the back burner.
Remember, saying thanks increases the chance of a repeat donation. Better yet, it increases the chance of a larger repeat donation.
5. Integrate text-to-give with other online campaigns.
Set up campaign pages that reflect all of the donations that a campaign has received—including those made through text-to-give. Donors will see how their support has pushed a campaign toward its goal. Then, they can optionally choose to list their names on your donation page, announcing their support of your cause.
6. Regularly post to social media.
Incorporate text-to-give in your church’s social media strategy. Most people access social media on their smartphones, making Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram the perfect place to promote your text-to-give campaign.
Amidst your church’s other social media posts, share regular updates about how your followers can text-to-donate.
Preparing for a Mobile Giving Campaign
Launching your text-to-give campaign can seem like a daunting task—especially when you’re new to the mobile giving world. Let’s look into the steps you need to take before launching your campaign.
Step 1: Implement a text-to-give strategy.
First, you’ll need to select a software provider that fulfills your organization’s needs. To find the perfect fit, take a look at our top text-to-give software suggestions below.
Then, to implement the software in your fundraising strategy, answer the following questions:
- Who will be in charge of running your text-to-give campaign?
- What will the donations support? Are they for a specific project?
- When will you launch and close your text-to-give campaign? When do you expect to reach your donation goal?
- Where will you promote your campaign and post updates?
With these questions in mind, you should be able to get mobile giving up and running in no time.
Clearly define goals for your campaign. Determine where the money will go, because donors will want to know exactly how their hard-earned money is helping.
While you want an aspirational goal, you need to be realistic. You don’t want to overwhelm your donors, especially since you’re already introducing a new fundraising strategy. Then, you’ll need to keep them updated on progress throughout the campaign. Remember to be honest. If you’re not quite on track, supporters will know to step up their efforts.
Pro Tip: If you’re using a fundraising thermometer, donors will be able to see their contributions as part of the bigger picture, incentivizing their participation.
Step 3: Put a marketing plan in place.
Once you’ve straightened out the fine fundraising details, it’s time to share your campaign with the world! Regularly update your supporters and encourage them to share your text-to-give campaign with their personal networks. To spread the word, consider the following:
- An email newsletter with simple guidance on how donors can get started.
- A press release emphasizing your organization’s role in the community.
- An announcement on your website such as a video from your nonprofit’s team
- Social media posts that supporters can share with their followers.
Pro Tip: Seek out influencers to help boost the visibility of your text-to-give campaign. By recruiting influential advocates, you’ll inspire new donors to trust you and contribute.
Step 4: Collect data on campaign progress.
Just like any other campaign, you need to track (and act on) key analytics. As you go along, remember to track the following:
- Individuals’ text-giving frequency
- Average text donation size
- Marketing channel engagement (email click-throughs, social media engagement rates, etc.)
- Donor information (name, mailing address, etc.)
By tracking this data, you’ll gain a better sense of what’s working and what’s not. Which marketing channels are receiving the most engagement? What about the least engagement? Is your campaign messaging actionable enough? Make adjustments according to what you learn, so you can make the most out of your mobile giving campaign.
Text-to-Give Platforms and Tools
To maximize your potential, you’ll need to invest in the right fundraising tools. Let’s take a look at the vital features you should prioritize and which platforms will set you up for success.
Types of Text-to-Give Tools and Mobile Platforms
Snowball Fundraising – All-in-One Fundraising
Snowball Fundraising is a mobile-optimized fundraising suite for any organization, nonprofit, or church. With Snowball, you’ll receive more than the basics. Streamline all your fundraising efforts with these Premium features:
- Unlimited campaigns
- Unlimited text-to-give
- Unlimited fundraising thermometers
- Donation pages
- Event ticket management
- Comprehensive reporting
At Snowball, we have a simple solution for giving on-the-go—one that doesn’t involve having a credit card handy 24/7. Our text giving platform enables donors to give wherever they are, whenever they want. All it takes is a couple of taps: one to send a text with the donation amount and another to confirm the payment. With our PCI-compliant technology and single-factor authentication, you’ll know your donors’ information is completely protected.
Unlike other platforms, once a donor enters their information for the first time, they never have to enter it again—even if they’re donating through another online or mobile avenue. Best of all, our platform is highly secure, allows donations to reach your nonprofit within a few business days, and integrates seamlessly with your other fundraising initiatives.
Try it yourself! Text the word “gala” to (505) 412-4891 to experience a simulated transaction using Snowball’s text-to-give platform.
To spread the word about your text-to-give campaign, you’ll need to employ dedicated marketing tools. When selecting your marketing tools, make sure they offer the following:
- Custom branding to develop trust and drive engagement
- Editable templates so you can easily and quickly create appealing messages
- Automation capabilities so you can time outreach with your campaign
- Analytics so that you can determine the best outreach strategies
Whether its email, social media, or text messaging, make sure your marketing tools enable quick solutions to streamline outreach.
Remember, coordinating your text-to-give efforts with a pledge campaign can substantially boost engagement. To guide your efforts, ensure you invest in dedicated pledge tools.
Overall, you’ll need pledge software that offers the following:
- A streamlined user experience. All pledgors should have to enter is contact information and a pledged donation amount. Asking for anything more can drive them away.
- Flexible payment options. It should give users the ability to complete their donation immediately. Also, it should offer the choice to enter their payment info after submitting their pledge.
- Secure donations. Since you’ll be collecting sensitive donor information, make sure your tools will protect this data.
Aim to make the pledge experience as quick and as smooth as possible. As a result, you should see a major jump in engagement and mobile donations.
Coordinating your text-to-give campaign with an event can quickly and easily multiply revenue. When selecting an event management tool, look for the following features:
- Registration. A comprehensive event app will quicken the registration process. Ensure you can limit the number of required information fields to the essentials.
- Comprehensive ticketing. Ticket distribution should be convenient for attendees and staff. To boost registration, ensure you can sell tickets via text-to-give.
- Donation capabilities and multiple giving options. Different donors prefer different giving options. To expand your potential, ensure your software offers donation capabilities. Then, enable multiple giving avenues, from credit cards to text-to-give.
Expand your tech toolkit to include comprehensive event management tools, and watch your mobile giving skyrocket!
Choosing a Platform
As the public becomes more and more reliant on technology, you’ll need to adopt a dedicated mobile giving strategy. If you want to reach your tech-savvy prospects, you’ll need to go to them. To do this, invest in the right mobile giving platform and app that cater to your organization’s needs. With multiple options on the market, this is easier said than done, though.
As you narrow down your options, ask yourself this series of questions:
- What are you looking for in a mobile giving platform? Determine your nonprofit’s needs and fundraising goals.
- What would be the easiest platform for your donors to adopt? Consider how your donors have given in the past. Then, figure out if they’d be on board by surveying them.
- Will it easily integrate with your existing CRM? Ensure your data will flow seamlessly into your CRM. This way, you’ll have an idea of all the different ways supporters are donating.
- Does the platform offer security features? Ensure your mobile giving app is PCI-compliant and has fraud analysis and encryption capabilities. Otherwise, no one will want to donate.
Choosing a mobile giving platform is no easy feat—especially if you’re not very tech-savvy. To help, explore more vital questions here and ensure you’re selecting the right mobile platform for your organization. By picking a solution that aligns with your needs, you’ll experience a surge of donations in no time.
Text-to-give has become a game-changer for nonprofits big and small. It enables organizations just like yours to capture donations whenever (and wherever) a donor is inspired.
Remember, the great thing about a text-to-give campaign can be hosted on its own or in coordination with your other events and campaigns. You’re sure to boost funds so long as you take a strategic approach and keep the donor experience front of mind.
To truly maximize your text-to-give potential, invest in the platform that suits your organization’s needs. Your best bet is to go with a vendor that offers multiple fundraising solutions. From mobile giving to donation websites to event ticketing, your organization needs to secure donations from all possible avenues.
Luckily, Snowball offers an all-in-one fundraising solution that features intuitive text-to-give technology in addition to several other features. Here at Snowball, our mission is to provide nonprofits with the intuitive tools they need to maximize fundraising success. No matter your organization’s technological needs, we’ve got you covered.
Additional Text-to-Give Resources
To become a text-to-give expert, read up on some of the best tips and tools out there. To help, we’ve compiled a list of resources written by professionals that you might find useful:
- Top 10+ Text-to-Give Services. Explore Double the Donation’s list of top text-to-give tools. Chances are you’ll find one that strikes your interest and fulfills your organization’s needs.
- Online Fundraising In 2020 | Complete Guide And Resources. You already know text-to-give is a powerful fundraising tool. Now, check out our other suggestions for revamping your fundraising strategy.
- Fundraising Ideas For Nonprofits | Directory Of 75+ Ideas. Text-to-give is just one of many surefire fundraising ideas. Explore more suggestions from our very own fundraising experts!