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What is Text-to-Give?
Text-to-give (also referred to as text giving, text-to-donate, and Text2Give) enables donors to make donations right from their smartphones, using their phones’ native texting application and web browser. It’s a quick and convenient giving channel that donors can use to support their favorite nonprofits at anytime, from anywhere.
Why Use Text-to-Give?
Text-to-give is an ideal donation channel, since donors can give whenever the fancy strikes, using a device they’re already familiar with. Nonprofits use text giving for everyday fundraising, as well as during auctions and other events to accept donations for live appeals. Churches also implement text-to-tithe during services!
How Does It Work?
Text-to-give is simple! Donors simply text your nonprofit’s unique keyword to the short-code provided by your vendor. From there, your supporters will receive a link that provides donation amounts and information about your campaign. Then, they can make a donation with their credit and debit cards. The entire process only takes minutes to complete.
Donors will initiate the text-to-give transaction by texting the pre-selected keyword you chose to your nonprofit’s shortcode (a shortened phone number used to direct the transaction to you and your service).
The keyword will indicate which campaign the donor wishes to allocate their contribution to.
As confirmation of their text, the donor will instantly receive a response text message that includes the link to a mobile-friendly donation page associated with the campaign they selected.
They can use the online donation form to indicate their donation amount and fill in their payment information.
With some services (like OneCause!), the donor will even have the option to pledge their donation and fulfill it at a later date.
Once the donor has filled out the form with all of the necessary information, all that’s left is to press the “Give Now” button and submit their donation!
After they’ve given, they should automatically receive a confirmation email in their inbox that includes a donation receipt. Your nonprofit should be able to customize the follow-up and include an acknowledgement if you so choose.
It’s really that easy!
Build mobile-responsive donation forms that are unique to your organization by customizing logos, fields, and gift amounts (you can even allow your donors to pledge and give at a later date!). Display a thermometer showing donors how close you are to meeting your fundraising goals to encourage even more giving!
Select a custom keyword that’s unique to your nonprofit, so there will be no question that donors are sending their gifts to your organization. With many advanced text-to-give packages, you have the option to choose multiple unique keywords to give donors the option to allocate their gifts to different campaigns!
With text-to-give scoreboards, you can track your donations in real-time and display fundraising thermometers, so you and your donors can easily visualize the progress you’re making toward your goals. You even have the option to feature donors’ names and give them a little extra acknowledgement during your next fundraising event!
Automate email acknowledgements and donation receipts to send out directly after donors have completed a text-to-give transaction. With this feature, your organization has one less thing to worry about, and your donors always have the peace of mind knowing that you’ve received their gifts.
Text-to-give software should seamlessly integrate with your nonprofit CRM. If integration with your donor database isn’t supported, you can easily export detailed reports on the donor data you collect from text-to-give as .CSV files and import them into your CRM for future consultation.
Process all transactions you receive through text donations quickly and securely. Your software should enable you to accept most major credit and debit cards. PCI-compliant processing means you and your donors can rest assured knowing that sensitive information will always be safe.
Myth #1: Text Giving Is Expensive
Myth #2: Only Younger Donors Will Use Text-to-Give
Myth #3: The Funds Will Take Months to Hit Your Nonprofit’s Account
Myth #4: Your Organization Will Have to Split the Proceeds with Cell Service Providers
Myth #5: There’s a Cap on How Much Donors Can Give
Is text-to-give secure?
If you’re working with a service who’s PCI-compliant, your text-to-give software should be secure.
To refresh, PCI-compliance speaks to a set of security standards set out by the Payment Card Industry. Software that is PCI-compliant adheres to these standards and maintains the utmost level of security.
When shopping for text-to-give software, it couldn’t be more important to work with a vendor who is PCI-compliant.
If they’re not, your supporters’ sensitive information could be put at risk, and your organization could be hit with fines or penalties.
Can we contact our donors through text-to-give?
Donors must initiate the text-to-give transaction.
In other words, text giving software does not allow your organization to contact donors through text message.
To do so, you would need to use a text marketing service (similar to your email marketing software), which allows you to build a permissions-based list and contact supporters in bulk over text.
However, you can automate email acknowledgements and receipts to send out with text-to-give directly after donors have completed the transaction.
Not to mention, you can easily collect the donor data you receive to stay in touch through other channels!
What payment methods can we accept?
The payment methods you’re able to accept with text-to-give will vary between services.
With Text2Give from OneCause, you can accept most major credit and debit cards, including:
You should work with a vendor who offers plenty of options, so you can provide your donors with the most flexible and convenient donation experience.
Are text donations tax deductible?
Many donors are incentivized in part to give to nonprofits because of the charitable tax deductions they can receive.
We’re happy to tell you (and those donors!) that, since they’re charitable donations, text-to-give transactions are tax deductible.
The same guidelines that apply with donations made from other channels also apply to text giving. So, if your nonprofit can’t accept tax-deductible donations through other channels, you won’t be able to accept them through text donations either.
What payment processing fees are associated with text-to-give?
As with the payment methods you can accept, the payment processing fees you incur with text-to-give vary by vendor.
Almost all text-to-give software includes payment processing fees of one kind or another. Most of the time, you’ll incur both a flat rate per donation and a percentage of each gift.
Of course, some services have more affordable payment processing fees than others, so this is something you’ll definitely want to consider and factor into your budget as you’re shopping for text-to-give software.
Some text giving vendors (like OneCause!) will even give donors the option to cover the fees themselves. Because they know their money is going to support a cause they care about, most donors will do so!
What donor information can we collect?
The donor data you’re able to collect from text donations depends on which fields you choose to include on your mobile donation form.
Just keep in mind that when it comes to online and mobile giving channels, simplicity is key. You want the donation process to be as short and sweet as possible to increase the chances that your donors will see it through to completion.
Chances are, you’ll only be able to collect basic donor information with your text-to-give service, such as:
You’ll also know that these donors likely enjoy engaging with you through mobile!
While this might seem simplistic, it’s a great starting point. You’ll have everything you need to get in touch with text donors and start (or keep!) building those relationships.
Nonprofits commonly use text to donate to accept donations during all types of fundraising events.
Text donations can particularly come in handy during the live appeal, a common event fundraising strategy wherein the organization makes an in-person request for donations to their event attendees.
If you’ve implemented text giving, donors can use your text-to-give service to submit their donations instead of having to fill out paper pledge cards.
To bring it to the next level, feature a scoreboard that shows progress towards your goals in real-time so donors can better visualize the impact of their gifts.
Since texting to give is much more convenient than other in-person donation methods, your event proceeds should soar!
Giving days have become all the rage in the fundraising world recently (here’s looking at you, #GivingTuesday!).
Since these efforts are so condensed (just 24 hours!) nonprofits need a way to collect donations quickly.
Furthermore, since they have so little time to contribute, donors need to be able to drop what they’re doing and give from anywhere once they hear about the campaign.
Given that it’s one of the fastest donation channels and meets donors where they are, text-to-give is the perfect solution.
Implement it for your next giving day, and you’re sure to see success!
Text giving first came into popularity in 2010, when the Red Cross used it raise funds to help Haiti earthquake victims.
The Red Cross’ Haiti Earthquake Relief campaign managed to raise nearly $490 million dollars, suggesting that text giving was a successful way to administer aid—and fast.
Nonprofits still use text to donate to help them with emergency relief efforts.
Since the platform is so quick and convenient, organizations can raise a lot of funds and help those in dire need within a short amount of time, when it counts most!
Text-to-give (referred to as text-to-tithe in the religious sector) has become increasingly popular among churches and other faith-based organizations.
More and more churches are providing text giving as an alternative giving method during their weekly services.
Instead of putting cash in the offering plate, congregants can simply text in their tithes, making the process more convenient.
Not to mention, since many people don’t carry around cash anymore, using text-to-tithe during church service can open up tithing to a larger portion of the congregation.
If your church would like to see more weekly tithes (and who wouldn’t?) consider offering text-to-tithe as an additional giving option at your weekly church services.
Your organization doesn’t need a specific reason to implement text giving. It can come in handy for general fundraising, too!
Many nonprofits make text donations a staple of their fundraising strategy, offering it as another standard donation channel that donors can use at any time, for any campaign or project.
The advantage of using text to donate regularly is that it provides your donors with more variety when it comes to donating. The more giving channels you have open, the more of your donors’ preferences you can appeal to.
When donors can give on their terms based on what’s most convenient for them, your gifts should skyrocket!
Will our donor base be responsive to text-to-give?
Since texting is one of the most common communication methods out there, chances are that at least a portion of your donor base would be open to (if not excited about!) using text giving.
However, some organizations are more cut out for text donations than others. Before you make the investment, you’ll want to consider how responsive your donor base would be to a mobile giving channel.
To figure out if text-to-give is right for you, turn to your donor data. By studying how your donors have historically engaged with your organization, you can get a better feel for their habits and preferences.
If your donors have consistently interacted with you through other mobile and digital channels, there’s a good chance that they’ll be responsive to text-to-give!
Will we be using text-to-give for a specific occasion or making it a regular staple of our fundraising?
It’s important to figure out what you’ll be using text-to-give for before you purchase software or begin your campaign.
If you’re making text-to-give software a regular part of your fundraising strategy, you’ll likely need to purchase a more expansive software package that includes multiple keywords and allocate more resources toward promotion and upkeep.
On the other hand, if you’re only using text to donate for a specific effort, you can probably get away with using a more limited package. You will, however, still need to figure out how you’re going to incorporate text-to-give into that effort (for example, when and how will you promote it?).
In either case, you should consider your needs and figure out how you’re going to make room for text giving in the areas where you’ll be using it!
Who will head the text-to-give effort?
Figuring out how to incorporate text-to-give into your strategies can be difficult, especially if you’re making it a regular staple of your fundraising.
After all, you’re implementing a completely new donation channel. In order for it to be successful, it will take proper setup, strategic promotion, and regular monitoring of your performance.
It can be helpful to assign a point person to be in charge of implementing and overseeing text giving. That way, you’ll have someone who’s consciously working to improve this effort and who can answer any staff or donor questions.
Additionally, many services (OneCause being one of them!) will provide your organization with support when it comes to setting up your platform. You can simply fill out a form about your campaign, and your vendor will take care of setup for you!
You’ll still need to do the legwork when it comes to promoting and implementing your campaign, but you’ll have one less thing to stress about.
How will we promote text-to-give to our donors?
How well you promote text-to-give has a huge bearing on how much money this donation channel will bring in.
The difficulty with promoting text donations is that it not only takes awareness, but also basic explanation in some cases.
Many donors have never texted in their donations before, so they need to know exactly which steps to take to use text giving. The more comfortable they are with how it’s done, the more likely they are to try it out!
Before you offer text giving as an option, make sure you have a specific promotions strategy in place.
You should figure out both where you plan to promote text-to-give and also how you can explain text-to-give in a concise and understandable way.
How will we handle all of the new data we collect?
Since text-to-give will be bringing in new donor data (potentially lots of it!), it’s advisable to have a plan in place for how you’re going to handle all of the new data you collect.
Luckily, many text-to-give services can be integrated with your donor database. If integration isn’t possible, it’s usually easy to export your text giving data in full and then import it into your donor profiles.
To ensure that you don’t miss out on any valuable donor data, figure out how you’re going to collect data, how often you need to export it, and who will head this effort.
The first step to incorporating text-to-give into your event will be finding a provider, if you haven't selected one already. If you need a little help with this process, click on the title of this step to jump down to the section on choosing text-to-give software.
Before the event, your organization should try out the text-to-give software for yourself. By knowing exactly how it works, you'll be better able to explain text-to-give to your donors in your event promotions and answer any questions that arise during the event.
If you want your donors to get on board with using text-to-give at your event, you'll have to let them know it's an option! In your promotions leading up to the event, make sure to tell donors about text-to-give and explain how they can use it at your event.
One of the most common uses of text-to-give during fundraising events is to collect donations after a live appeal. Have one of your staff or board members get up and request donations from your guests. Spell out a clear goal and briefly walk guests through how to use text-to-give.
Many text-to-give services come with a scoreboard that displays a fundraising thermometer, which updates in real-time as guests submit their gifts. Project your scoreboard after your appeal has been made to show guests how close they are to reaching your goal and boost giving!
Even if you meet your fundraising goal before your auction or event is over, you should still encourage more giving after the event! Let guests know that text-to-give will still be available to them if they missed out on the live appeal or would just like to make another contribution after your event.
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