The Essential Guide to Text-to-Give

Why Text-to-Give Is an Essential Fundraising Tool … And How to Use It to Raise Money for Your Nonprofit

Nonprofits need donations. That’s a given. In order to realize your nonprofit’s vision, you need the support to get there.

The big question is: What’s the best way to get those donations?

Text-to-Give has quickly become a must-have in the nonprofit realm for a simple reason: It’s effective. Besides increased donations, nonprofits that accept text donations can improve donor engagement and donor retention. Read on to find out why, and how to use Text-to-Give to grow your own nonprofit’s success.

  1. What Is Text-to-Give? The Basics
  2. Why Nonprofits Use Text-to-Give
  3. How Text Giving Works
  4. How to Set Up Text-to-Give
  5. Nonprofits That Use It
  6. Text-to-Give Best Practices
  7. Event Fundraising with Text-to-Give
  8.  Text Giving & Your Other Fundraising Initiatives
  9. Key Text-to-Give Considerations
  10. Features to Look For
  11. Security of Text Giving
  12. Text-to-Donate FAQs
  13. The Snowball Platform
  14. Texting Statistics
  15. Misconceptions & Myths
  16. Famous Text Giving Campaigns
  17. Experts on Text-to-Give
  18. Additional Resources


Part One: Learning About Text-to-Give

1. What Is Text-to-Give? The Basics

Raise money anytime, anywhere, with the simple act of sending a text.

What Is Text-to-Give?

Text-to-Give technology (aka text-to-donate, text-to-tithe, and text giving) allows donors to give to nonprofits by sending text messages from their mobile devices.

Why Does Text-to-Give Work?

Texting is practically second nature to us at this point. It’s easy, fun, and fast. Text-to-Give provides donors with a quick way to support the causes they love.

Who’s It For?

All charitable organizations and nonprofits benefit from text-to-donate tools. Text-to-Give has helped nonprofits of all sizes meet their fundraising goals.

How Can It Help?

For nonprofits, the proven benefits of text giving include more donations and donor support. Mobile fundraising allows you to receive donations from donors on the go. Plus, industry-leading Text-to-Give software is highly secure.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE BASICS.

“Text-to-donate campaigns help nonprofit organizations raise funds by making it convenient for donors to give.” – Forbes.com


2. Why Nonprofits Use Text-to-Give

Fundraising is one of the most fundamental aspects of the nonprofit world. Fortunately, we’ve come a long way since the days of mailed-in checks and phone drives. Today, getting donations can happen instantly with the touch of a phone screen.

At Snowball Fundraising, we’ve seen the effects firsthand. Grassroots organizations have used text donating to raise thousands of dollars in minutes. Once you’ve set up Text-to-Give for your charitable organization, your donors will easily and securely be able to put their credit card information on file, so repeat donations are even easier than the first time.

Frankly, Text-to-Give wasn’t always as effective as it is now. It had a rough launch into the nonprofit world, with issues regarding high carrier fees, a lack of systematic donor data gathering, and too long a time before the donation actually reached the charitable organization. Those days are gone, thankfully. Now that the technology has been perfected, it’s proven to be an incredible way to support, promote, and unleash generosity.

Benefits of Text-to-Give

Benefits of Text-to-Give for Nonprofits

  • Raise and receive funds quickly. With just a few easy clicks, your donors can give to your campaign. Funds show up in your nonprofit’s bank account within days.
  • Gather donor data efficiently. Once donors give, you’ll be able to collect their names, phone numbers, and email addresses.
  • Increase donor engagement. Store donor information to improve retention, while making it easy for your donors to re-engage. Export donor data to your mailing list and customer relationship management system.
  • Streamline donations. Are you busy? If you work at a charitable organization, chances are your answer is, “Yes!” For those in the nonprofit world, having a streamlined way to arrange campaigns and accept donations is a must.
  • Join forces with other fundraising techniques. Combine your Text-to-Give efforts with other fundraising methods to maximize the amount you’re able to raise.
  • Use it for event fundraising. Bring Text-to-Give to your nonprofit’s events to energize the crowd. It feels good to give. It feels even better to share in the act of giving.
  • Use it for either general donations or specific campaigns. Whether for a specific cause or just because, Text-to-Give allows donors to support your nonprofit with a few clicks.

Tip: If you think your donor base doesn’t use their mobile devices all that much, maybe because they’re older, look at your website’s Google Analytics. How much traffic is coming in through mobile? If it’s anything over 0%, at least part of your audience is on their phones!

Benefits for Donors

  • Donate quickly and on the move. Donors can use something they probably have on or near them at all times: their phones. Text-to-Give technology enables donors to give to their favorite organizations from anywhere and at any time.
  • Give in a recognizable format. Most donors already text on a regular basis. Thanks to the platform’s familiarity, Text-to-Give is easy for donors to learn and then do regularly.
  • Feel secure about sharing information. Leading Text-to-Give software abides by strict safety standards for donor data, putting donors’ minds at ease.
  • Set up recurring donations. Make it easy to continue supporting the charities you love. Some text donation platforms let you set up weekly or monthly donations.
  • Never get spam texts or emails. Texting is becoming a big part of political campaign fundraising, and you might have gotten a text from a candidate you never agreed to get texts from. That won’t happen with reliable Text-to-Give software, which only works after you opt in. (For what it’s worth, nonprofits that use Snowball for text donations can’t bombard donors with messages. It’s in our terms of service.)


3. How Does Text-to-Give Work?

Hint: It’s easy.

Note: How text donations work depends on the provider being used. The following steps are for Snowball Fundraising’s Text-to-Give platform, which offers a short setup process for both nonprofits and donors.

For Nonprofits

Step 1. Choose a Software Provider.
Make sure you pick a Text-to-Give platform that offers the features your nonprofit needs and keeps your donors’ information secure.

Step 2. Get a Phone Number.
Your nonprofit will receive a unique phone number from your Text-to-Give provider. This will be the number that donors use to text in their donations.

Step 3. Promote Your Campaign.
Once your nonprofit is set up with a Text-to-Give provider, it’s time to start letting donors know about your campaign. Use your existing communication strategies to get the word out about how your organization’s supporters can donate via text message. Text-to-Give can now also be a central feature of your fundraising events, such as annual dinners and galas, where donors can text in donations while celebrating your cause.

For Donors

Step 1. Text a Phone Number.
Donors can simply text their donation to your nonprofit’s text-to-give number, using a keyword your nonprofit has chosen in advance (such as the word “give”). Snowball’s Text-to-Give platform will still accept the donation even if it has a typo!

Step 2. Follow the Link.
Within seconds, the donor will get a text back with a link. They’ll click on it and select their preferred donation amount. First-time donors will need to fill out a short donation form with their credit card information. Repeat donors can just click “donate.”

Step 3. Press Send.
Clicking on “Donate” will lead the donor to a brief pre-written email that authenticates the transaction. They press “Send” on the confirmation email, and that’s it! 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 Fundraising’s Text-to-Give platform.


4. How to Set Up Text-to-Give

Setting up Text-to-Give is simple and intuitive. The set-up process takes less than an hour, and you can do it from your phone if you prefer. To get your new campaign off the ground, follow these steps for before, during, and after setup.

Step 1: Ask the Right Questions About Implementing Text-to-Give Software at Your Organization.

To incorporate text giving into your overall fundraising strategy, your organization should answer the four “W” questions:

  • Who? Which staff member(s) will be in charge of running your campaign?
  • What? What exactly will you be using your Text-to-Give platform for? Are you using it for a specific campaign(s)? The answer can change over time, too—you don’t have to know definitively off the bat.
  • When? What is the timeline between setting up mobile giving and when you’d like to reach a certain donations goal, if you have one?
  • Where? Where will you share the news of your new Text-to-Give campaign?

With these questions in mind, you should be able to get mobile giving up and running in no time.

Step 2: Customize Your Text-to-Give Platform.

Once you have an account with a Text-to-Give platform, you can customize text donations to best fit your organization and its mission. Select which keywords you would like to use for specific campaigns (for instance, “spring gala”), and then configure your online donation page with your nonprofit’s logo and other unique information.

Customization is an important step that shouldn’t be overlooked. According to Nonprofit Source, custom-branded donations pages raise up to six times as much money!

Tip: You never want technical difficulties to stand between you and a donation. Before your text-to-donate campaign goes public, have staff test out your online donation forms to make sure they’re mobile-responsive. Checking that you’re ready for mobile and Text-to-Give fundraising before launch will avoid potential headaches down the line.

Step 3: Update Contact Information Before Launching Your Text-to-Give Tool.

You can’t get in touch with your donors if you don’t have the right contact information on file. Implementing a new fundraising strategy is the perfect time to reach out to donors to make sure their information is up-to-date.

Shoot your donors an email informing them about your upcoming event, and ask them to confirm their contact information. They’ll appreciate being among the first to know about your event, and you can use this opportunity to explain how text-to-give will work.

Consider this step a teaser trailer, building up anticipation before the red carpet debut.

Step 4: Be Realistic About Your Text-to-Give Plans, and Set Attainable Goals.

Your donors will be more likely to give if you set clearly defined goals for your campaign. Donors like to know exactly where their money is going and how it’s helping. Although you want to dream big, make sure your goal is realistic. You don’t want to overwhelm your donors, especially since you’re already introducing a new fundraising strategy.

Tip: If your online donation page features a pledge bar, donors will be able to see their contributions as part of the bigger picture. A “recent pledges” list will remind them that they’re members of a wonderful larger community. Here’s what an effective online donations page looks like.

Step 5: Market Your Text Giving Campaign to Make Your Plans Known.

Congratulations, you’re ready to share your text giving campaign with the world! Use your outreach channels to start spreading the news about your campaign. These might include:

  • An email newsletter announcement, with simple guidance on how donors can get started. Some of your donors may be new to Text-to-Give, so make sure your announcement includes the key pointers (namely, it’s fast, convenient, secure, and easy to set up for recurring payments).
  • A press release announcing your campaign, reminding traditional media of your charitable organization’s vital role in the community
  • Announcement on your website
  • A video announcement from your nonprofit’s team
  • Social media posts—spread the word through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Ask your organization’s supporters to share your posts, so their friends and followers can find out about it in turn.

Tip: Seek out influencers to help you get your mobile giving campaign off the ground. People will be more likely to get on board with your campaign if they hear about how great it is from their peers. Recruit influential advocates from your network, to help you inspire new donors to contribute to your Text-to-Give campaign.

Step 6: Execute, Track, and Improve Your Text-to-Give Strategy over Time.

Keep in mind that, just like any of your nonprofit’s fundraising efforts, your Text-to-Give campaign is a work in progress. As you go along, make note of what works and what doesn’t. Are your marketing channels not getting a lot of engagement? Is your campaign messaging not actionable enough? Make adjustments to keep honing your strategies and get the most out of your mobile giving campaign.

DELVE INTO THESE STEPS FOR SETTING UP TEXT FUNDRAISING.


5. Types of Nonprofits That Use Text Giving

Any type of charitable organization can and does benefit from Text-to-Give technology. Nonprofits of sizes ranging from grassroots to global have used text giving for key fundraising initiatives.

Below are a few charitable organization types that benefit from text giving.

  • Church and faith-based
  • Health, human services, and care organizations
  • Disaster relief
  • Education and research, including colleges and universities
  • Social welfare and action
  • Youth development
  • Science, technology, and social sciences
  • Environmental
  • Animal rights
  • Arts, culture, and humanities
  • Human services
  • International NGOs
  • Other nonprofits with a public benefit or philanthropic foundation

GET AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT EACH OF THESE CATEGORIES.

Regardless of your charitable organization type, using Text-to-Give is an important way to increase donations. In fact, at Snowball Fundraising, we consider it not just important but essential. That’s because we’ve seen it help so many nonprofits.

“Snowball Fundraising was a critical part of the success of our annual gala. Because of a last-minute glitch with a different product at our event, we needed to find a solution that was easy to set up and configure–and Snowball was that solution! In just a few minutes, we had our campaign created and ready to go for the evening’s event. The attendees loved watching the thermometer grow as our call-to-action continued. In just twenty minutes, we raised over twice as much money as we had set as a goal—it was incredible!” — Matt Hladun, Brave Will Foundation Board President

[GET STARTED WITH TEXT-TO-GIVE]


Part Two: Exploring Text-to-Give Tools

6. Text-to-Give Best Practices

Once you have text giving set up at your nonprofit, amplify its impact with these best practices.

Walk Your Donors Through the Process

Even though Text-to-Give is becoming increasingly common for nonprofits, some of your donors might not have used it before. Once your campaign is live, get donors excited about both the campaign and texting to donate by walking them through the process step-by-step, using:

  • Social media posts, with images showing each step
  • Informational posters and flyers

You don’t need to invest a ton in graphic design to make the above images. Use Snowball Fundraising’s downloadable step-by-step Text-to-Give graphics however you’d like.

Focus on Clear Campaign Messaging

Text giving has been very effective in the wake of natural disasters, as evidenced by the Red Cross’s Haiti earthquake relief effort, which raised $487.6 million. When there is an immediate need, we feel the urge to step up and contribute.

Be clear about the need for your campaign, as well as 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.

Promote Text-to-Give Across Channels

Spread the message of giving by promoting your Text-to-Give campaign across various channels. These can include:

  • Magazine or newspaper ads
  • Social media posts, including video posts
  • Social media ads on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
  • Google Ads
  • Blog articles about your campaign on your company’s website
  • T-shirts with your nonprofit’s logo and Text-to-Give number
  • Print materials that have your nonprofit’s name, logo, and Text-to-Give number
  • Business cards with your Text-to-Give number. If every staff member has this, each contact your team makes means further awareness-raising.

The key point is to reach people in places where they’ll be carrying their mobile devices—although for many of us, that’s every place we go.

Offer Several Options, Including Recurring Donations

With different giving amounts, you can encourage your donors to give as little or as much as they’d like. You can also 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.

Have Fun with It!

Texting is inherently fun. People text with their friends and loved ones, so there’s an automatic good feeling that often comes with texting.

While staying on message with your nonprofit’s brand and voice, you can use your Text-to-Give campaign as an opportunity to have some fun. Maybe that means upbeat messaging, clever social media graphics, or a lively event celebrating your charitable organization—and raising money for it. This is an exciting opportunity for all to share in a celebratory spirit!

Remember: Always Thank Your Donors

Show your appreciation by thanking your mobile donors. This is an important part of overall stewardship. Let them know how much their support means.

Say thank you as soon as possible, and don’t wait more than 48 hours at the very most. Remember that you’re developing a relationship that will hopefully last a long time.

Plus, saying thanks increases the chance of a repeat donation. Your nonprofit may even receive a larger donation the second (or tenth!) time around. You never know if a major donor is simply choosing to give a little on the go—but has the capacity to give so much more.

We named our platform Snowball Fundraising because of the snowball effect of giving. As more donors discover why your nonprofit needs their support, and as first-time donors become repeat donors, generosity gains momentum and is unleashed to impact change in the world.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MOST POWERFUL UNTAPPED FUNDRAISING TOOL.


7. Event Fundraising with Text-to-Give

One of the most valuable ways to use Text-to-Give for fundraising is to make it a central part of your nonprofit’s events. Here’s one example of how you can use it at your next event.

  • Put up a large-sized thermometer in a highly visible spot where every event attendee can see it. Let donors know what your fundraising goal is.
  • Have one of your staff members give a short demonstration of how text donating works. Show donors in real time how quick and simple it is. Hang up graphics, such as flyers or posters, with your Text-to-Give number and visual instructions, for anyone who misses the demo.
  • Have a “Text-to-Give sprint” during your event. During a brief time frame—as short as a few minutes—encourage everyone to text in donations. Watch donors text together, to reach your goal through communal engagement.

Donating to a nonprofit you love feels great. Donating together, in the shared act of giving, feels even better. Your donors will leave your event with the knowledge that they’ve done something good and the joy that that knowledge brings with it.

Text giving works for any nonprofit event type, such as silent auctions, dinners, golf tournaments, and “friend-raisers” with key supporters.

Tip: Look for a text donation service that has unlimited event usage without additional fees.

This organization raised over $40,000 in 20 minutes using Snowball’s text-giving platform. Here’s how.


8. Integrating Text-to-Give with Your Nonprofit’s Other Fundraising Methods

Every individual campaign at your nonprofit should form part of your big-picture mission. Similarly, your campaigns should integrate with each other. Here’s how text giving and your other fundraising efforts can work together to support your charitable organization’s goals.

Online Donations

Set up online donation and campaign pages that reflect all of the donations that a campaign has received—including those made through Text-to-Give. Donors can see how their support has pushed a campaign toward its goal, and they can optionally choose to list their names on the donation page, to announce their support of your cause.

A STRONG ONLINE DONATION PAGE HAS THESE FEATURES.

#GivingTuesday

Giving Tuesday and similar event- or day-related initiatives are great ways to encourage donors to unleash their generosity. Because there’s a limited time frame, donors are motivated to act fast—and texting in their donations is the fastest way to give.

LEARN MORE ABOUT GIVING TUESDAY AND TEXT-TO-GIVE.

Social Media

Most people access social media sites on their smartphones, making social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram the perfect place to promote your text giving campaign.

Amid your nonprofit’s other social media posts, share regular updates about how followers can text-to-donate. Don’t forget to include your nonprofit’s number as well as photos or videos that show donors how to give via text message.

Email

Since your donors will be using their email accounts for part of the Text-to-Give donation process, it makes sense to use emails to get the word out about your Text-to-Give campaign.

Send out an announcement email for your campaign, and include it in your regular newsletters to your nonprofit’s followers.

Include images and instructions. You can also incorporate a donation button in the body of each email, to provide donors with yet another option for mobile giving.

Grants

When writing grant applications, highlight how your nonprofit is pushing the needle forward for text giving—and pushing the donation levels up in the process! Impress grant application reviewers with your innovative thinking when it comes to donor engagement.

Matching Gifts

Your donors give you their contact information when they donate to your organization through a Text-to-Give campaign. This is a perfect time to send out an email about matching gifts.

Matching gifts are corporate philanthropy programs through which employers will match the donations their employees make to nonprofits, meaning higher fundraising amounts for you. Send out targeted emails to your donors encouraging them to see if they’re eligible for matching gifts in a database.

Printed Material

Use your print materials, such as direct mailings, to give instructions on how supporters can text in their donations. Include images and screenshots, and be sure to prominently feature your text donation phone number.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE DIFFERENT USES OF MOBILE TOOLS.


9. Key Text-to-Give Considerations for Your Nonprofit

Who’s Going to Be in Charge of Taking in New Donor Data?

When you run a Text-to-Give campaign, you’ll be flooded with new donor information (phone numbers, email addresses, etc.).

  • Assign someone to take charge of the data, and put processes in place to account for common concerns, such as:
  • What to do if new donor data differs from old data
  • The steps for consolidating duplicate information
  • The plan for data storage

How Will You Deal With Credit Card Information?

While some mobile giving platforms will take care of payment processing for you, it’s really up to your nonprofit to decide how to handle this information. To streamline operations, it might be more convenient for you to consolidate payment processing by using the same platform for both text and online donations.

Moving Forward, How Will You Track Performance?

One of the most important activities a nonprofit can do is track its own performance.
Study your performance data with an eye for trends, plus any detectable shifts away from those trends.

If, for instance, you note a surge in your Text-to-Give fundraising results, dig deeper to figure out what might have given your campaign a boost. Did an important donor post about it on social media? Did your nonprofit get mentioned in the media?

The process will be similar if you notice a dip. If there’s a lull in text donations, maybe it’s time to remind people of the great work your nonprofit is doing.

How Can You Tap Into This Information to Improve the Way Your Nonprofit Operates?

You can plug the information that you collected during the Text-to-Give process (i.e., donors’ names, phone numbers, email addresses, and billing addresses) into your existing donor database or CRM.

You can also use text-giving frequency and average text donation size to help inform your future donation appeals and guide your segmentation strategy.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THESE KEY TEXT GIVING CONSIDERATIONS.


Part Three: Choosing a Text-to-Give Provider

10. Top Features to Look for in Text-to-Give Platforms

Security

Top companies will let you know if they’re PCI-compliant. Without going into the technical jargon that this entails, Level 1 PCI compliance guarantees the highest level of security on the market today.

Read more on Text-to-Give security.

Money Reaches Your Nonprofit Quickly

Historically, the average wait for most nonprofits was upwards of 90 days before they saw any money. Standards have changed, and Text-to-Give platforms now allow nonprofits to access funds within a few business days.

Price

Look for a text giving platform with transparent pricing and no hidden costs after a certain number of texts. There are affordable options for nonprofit and faith-based organizations of all sizes. You definitely don’t have to be part of a large organization to find reasonable price options.

Ease of Use—For Your Nonprofit and Your Donor

Not only should Text-to-Give be easy for your donors, it should also be simple to set up for your nonprofit. The fewer clicks between your donors and your organization, the more likely donors will be to give (and the more your nonprofit will receive). On your nonprofit’s end, ease of use means time saved. And that time can be spent on helping your organization grow.

Donor Data Gathering

One of the biggest hurdles of early text donation services was a lack of donor data, such as mailing and email addresses. Be sure your Text-to-Give platform can collect this information, which is absolutely critical for donor retention.

Integration

Top-rated mobile giving tech will provide easily exportable data for your nonprofit to add to its CRM or donor database. Your text donation platform should also integrate with your online donation pages and event ticketing.

Support

Look for a mobile giving platform with included customer support. Generally, a support hotline can be called during business hours, and online messaging accepts questions and provides guidance the rest of the time.

LEARN MORE ABOUT PICKING THE PERFECT MOBILE GIVING APP.


11. Is Text-to-Give Software Safe?

Short answer: Yes! Text donations are highly secure.

For Nonprofits

As long as you use a text donation service that utilizes tokenization and is PCI-compliant, text-to-donate technology is extremely secure.

Snowball Fundraising uses single-factor authentication to ensure that donors are who they say they are. You won’t have robots trying to spam your organization with false donations.

Sensitive donor data is also stored in highly secure facilities, so there’s no need to worry about anyone trying to hack into your organization’s donor information.

For nonprofits, Text-to-Give is one of the safest ways to raise money from donors on the move.

For Donors

Texting to give is absolutely safe for donors. With industry-leading platform providers, there are several fail-safes in place to prevent identity theft and fraudulent purchases.

Some donors worry that texting to donate will link their credit card information to their mobile phone in a way that leaves them vulnerable to fraud. The truth is: Measures such as tokenization eliminate the possibility of any entity other than the intended payment processor getting ahold of donor information.

Text-to-Give is just as safe as any other method of donating. And it’s a whole lot faster.

LEARN MORE ABOUT TEXT-TO-GIVE SAFETY.


12. Frequently Asked Questions About Text-to-Give Tools

For Nonprofits

How Much Does Text-to-Give Cost?

The cost of a Text-to-Give platform varies but is usually based on a flat fee amount, in addition to your credit card’s fixed processing rate. Look for a platform that gives you unlimited texts and Text-to-Give keywords, so all donations are recognized and processed.

What Is the Standard Gift Size for Text-to-Give?

The average donation size for text-to-donate fundraisers is $107 (source: Nonprofit Source). A common misconception about text donations is that they’re always small. Not only can they be substantial in and of themselves, but because Text-to-Give allows for easy setup of recurring donations, donations can quickly accumulate.

Is Text-to-Give Only for Large Nonprofits?

Text-to-Give used to be reserved for bigger organizations that could afford the fees associated with text donations. These days, however, nonprofits of any size can use Text-to-Give technology to receive donations.

I’ve Heard that Text-to-Give Means No Donor Data Collection. Is That True?

It was true in the early days of Text-to-Give, but leading platforms now collect key donor information, while keeping the donation process short and simple.

Can Text-to-Give Fit in with Other Fundraising Efforts?

Absolutely! Your organization can easily integrate Text-to-Give with your existing fundraising and communications strategies. Text-to-Give pairs well with live events, emails, social media, direct mail, and other fundraising and awareness-raising strategies.

Will My Text-to-Give Provider Send Me Annoying Text Messages?

At Snowball, we consider it an invasion of privacy and personal space to send unsolicited texts, so we don’t do it.

What Types of Donors Use Text-to-Give?

Anyone can use Text-to-Give. According to Nonprofit Source, the most common demographic for text givers is 49- to 59-year-old married women with college degrees.

With 92% of millennials owning smartphones and 85% using social media, millennials are a key demographic for Text-to-Give fundraising.

Do Mobile Carriers Take a Percentage of the Funds?

For some Text-to-Give platforms, mobile carriers do take a cut of the funds raised—sometimes up to 50%. Our technology at Snowball bypasses mobile carrier fees, ensuring that donations are going where they’re needed the most.

What Is Tokenization?

Tokenization is the process of substituting sensitive info (i.e., a credit card number) with a non-sensitive equivalent (the token). The token can’t be translated by anyone except the final payment processor, which has its own high-level security measures in place. Tokenization is another layer of security that should be included in your Text-to-Give package.

What Is PCI Compliance?

PCI (payment card industry) compliance is the set of standards that Text-to-Give providers must abide by. It’s crucial that you select a Text-to-Give platform that is PCI compliant. Otherwise, your donors’ data is at risk, and your nonprofit could face fines.

Can Mobile Donors Easily Set Up Recurring Donations?

Donors can set up recurring donations with a few extra clicks during the Text-to-Give process. Donations can occur automatically every week or month.

For Donors

Is Mobile Fundraising Secure?

If your nonprofit has chosen a PCI-compliant Text-to-Give provider, your information will be protected. Look for a provider that also uses authentication and tokenization to keep donor info safe. Learn more about Text-to-Give and security.

Is There a Fee?

There is no fee for donors who wish to Text-to-Give.

Are Text-to-Give Donations Tax Deductible?

Just like any other charitable donation, texted contributions are tax-deductible.

What if I Accidentally Text the Wrong Donation Amount?

Don’t worry, your text donating platform will give you a chance to confirm the amount. After initial setup of Snowball, for instance, you’ll click twice to give: once to text a donation amount, and once to confirm the amount by email.

What Information Do Nonprofits Collect?

Depending on their text donations platform, nonprofits may collect your name, phone number, email address, and billing address.

Will I Be Spammed with Text Messages and Emails?

Not at all. A nonprofit can’t use its Text-to-Give technology to bombard donors with messages. It’s just for donating.

What Types of Payment Methods Are Accepted?

This really depends on which provider the nonprofit is using, but most major credit cards are usually accepted.

Is My Donation Tacked onto My Phone Bill?

In the past, donations would simply be added to your cell phone bill. But now, contributions are made by credit card in an instant. There won’t be any extra charges on your phone bill.

GET ANSWERS TO EVEN MORE QUESTIONS.


13. Snowball’s Text-to-Give Platform

Snowball Fundraising’s mission is simple: Unleash generosity.

What Is Snowball Fundraising?

Founded in 2010 as EasyGive, Snowball Fundraising provides charitable organizations with the tools they need to grow their donation base. We know how much goes into keeping a nonprofit going, let alone successful, and we want to make it as easy as possible for you to thrive. A wonderful side effect of making nonprofit donations easier for YOU is that it’s also easier for donors to contribute!

In our decade of working with nonprofits, we’ve seen what works and what doesn’t, and we’ve honed our product accordingly. Today we offer comprehensive tools including, as part of our Premium package:

  • Unlimited campaigns
  • Unlimited Text-to-Give
  • Unlimited fundraising thermometers
  • Event ticket management
  • Comprehensive reporting

We also offer a giving widget, recurring gifts, transaction and donor data, two-tap-enabled donor lists, multi-user dashboard access, full customer support, and bilingual support.

What Is Snowball’s Solution for Text-to-Give?

Traditionally, if a donor wanted to give using their phone, they’d have to pull out their credit card, type in their information, and fill out a dozen or so “required fields.” Carrier fees could take a significant cut of the donation, and important donor data (such as email addresses) wasn’t attainable.

Using Snowball, all a donor has to do is text the amount they’d like to give to your charitable organization’s mobile giving phone number.

They’ll then be sent a link, which will automatically draft an email. To confirm their donation, they just press send on the email. It takes a few seconds for them to have an impact.

If they’ve never donated through Snowball’s mobile giving platform before, they’ll be asked to fill out some basic information—which is when donor data is unobtrusively collected. There are never any carrier fees.

“This all-in-one solution is attractive because it takes care of a lot of fundraising tasks. The Text-to-Give component is lightning fast, which is a big plus for a lot of users, donors and nonprofits alike.” – Wild Apricot on Snowball Fundraising

Why Is Snowball’s Solution Superior?

At Snowball, we have a simple solution for giving on the go. A solution that doesn’t involve having a credit card handy 24/7.

Our text giving platform allows donors to give wherever they are, with just a couple of clicks. One click is to send a text with a donation amount, and another confirms payment.

Unlike with most platforms, once donors have filled in their basic information initially, they never have to re-enter it again—even if they’re donating through another online or mobile avenue.

Snowball is also highly secure, allows donations to reach your nonprofit within a few business days, and integrates seamlessly with your other fundraising initiatives.
It’s easy. For your nonprofit and your donors.

You can try Snowball now by texting “gala” to (505) 412-4891.*
*Transactions are simulated.

TRY A DEMO OF SNOWBALL’S TEXT-TO-GIVE SOFTWARE.


Part Four: Text-to-Give Fast Facts

14. Text Giving and Mobile Fundraising Statistics

95%
American adults who own a cell phone

81%
Americans who use SMS daily

90%
Text messages read within three minutes of receipt

80
Average number of times Americans check their phones daily

40%
Nonprofit website traffic from mobile users

80%
The amount that mobile fundraising grew from 2013 to 2016

7,000%
How much texting has increased in the last decade

Sources: Pew Institute, Chronicle of Philanthropy, Medium, Business 2 Community, Charity Navigator, Nonprofit Source

CHECK OUT MORE MOBILE GIVING STATISTICS.


15. Common Myths About Text Giving Software

As you’ve been investigating text-to-donate software, you may have encountered some misconceptions. Let’s set the record straight.

Myth #1: Your nonprofit needs to buy a $3,000 shortcode. (A shortcode is a five-to-six-digit phone number that organizations give out so people can opt in to their SMS programs.)

Truth: Shortcodes are no longer necessary, rendering the $3,000 myth moot. Instead of purchasing a shortcode, nonprofits can now buy a unique phone number for their campaigns that costs FAR less than $3,000.

Myth #2: Your nonprofit won’t see funds for 60+ days.

Truth: After only a few business days, nonprofits using a next-generation Text-to-Give provider can expect to have access to the donated funds.

Myth #3: Charitable donations are capped at $10.

Truth: Donation caps are another thing of the past. Donors giving to an organization that uses a top text donating service provider can give as much as they’d like.

Other myths and misconceptions are addressed above in the Text-to-Give FAQ.

SEE ALL OF THESE MYTHS BUSTED.


16. Notable Text-to-Donate Campaigns

The Red Cross’s Haiti Earthquake Relief

In 2010, a major earthquake struck Haiti, affecting up to three million people. The Red Cross initiated a Text-to-Give campaign that used the shortcode HAITI. For many, this was the first time they used texting to donate to charity. Although the campaign lasted only a few months, its impact was immense, raising $487.6 million. It helped position Text-to-Give as not only a viable means of fundraising but a leading technique.

W.A.R. on Wheels Fights Pediatric Cancer

In 2019, the nine men on the W.A.R. on Wheels team—short for Wishes, Awareness and Research—cycled for 36 days across America’s iconic Route 66 to raise donations for Cal’s Angels, an Illinois-based pediatric cancer foundation. Across 2,499 miles, their text-to-donate campaign aimed to raise $1,000 per mile for cancer research and to support young patients and their families.

Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscar Party

Elton John’s 23rdannual Academy Awards Viewing Party in 2015 raised $5.8 million in one night in the fight against HIV and AIDS. The evening’s guests texted in their pledges in support of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which helps those affected by HIV/AIDS, as well as those at risk, with HIV testing and medical care.

Alicia Keys’ Campaign for Keep a Child Alive
Keep a Child Alive’s goal is to raise awareness of and work to eradicate the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa and India. Leveraging the access and exposure Alicia Keys has as an internationally acclaimed superstar, in fall 2008, she asked all in attendance at her sold-out concerts to text in donations. After only a few months, her Text-to-Give campaign raised $40,000.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THESE CAMPAIGNS AND OTHERS.


17. What Do the Experts Have to Say About Text Giving?

“Over 250 million people in the U.S. have the ability to donate by simply sending a text message, making Text-to-Give a powerful tool.”

—John Killoran, CEO of Snowball

“Nearly all text messages are read within three minutes, so leverage the power and popularity of text messaging to stay in touch with your multichannel donors. Promote giving at your event with a Text-to-Give keyword and short code.”

—“Your Donors: 3 Strategies to Build Multichannel Relationships,” The NonProfit Times

“Text-to-Give utilizes a form of technology that most donors use on a daily basis. It’s one of the most accessible donation channels!”

—Adam Weinger, President of Double the Donation

“Integrating Text-to-Give into your organization can allow donors to engage with your nonprofit from a place of familiarity.”

—Lomesh Shah, CEO of Fundly

“Many consumers find it easier to give money that isn’t physically in their hands, or represents only a relatively small personal sacrifice that, when combined with the donations of others, is sufficient to make a difference.”

—“Four Ideas to Make Your Cause Marketing More Powerful,” Forbes.com


18. Additional Text-to-Give Resources

Using Text-to-Give for Natural Disaster Aid

Reading about natural disasters in the news, you might wish that you were on the ground to help. But you can help from anywhere, just by texting in donations.

SET UP TEXT GIVING AFTER A NATURAL DISASTER.

Attracting New Donors with Text Messaging

How do you set your nonprofit apart from the crowd? Here’s how to use texting to bring in new donors.

FIND NEW DONORS WITH TEXT GIVING.

Top Text-to-Give Platforms

If your organization is looking for the best Text-to-Give tools, Double the Donation has a list of the top software providers. Before finalizing your purchase, check out their recommendations.

DISCOVER TEXT GIVING TOOLS.

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