Text to Give: How Does it Work? Ultimate Guide for Nonprofits

April 23, 2023
8 minutes
A text bubble that says Thank You! and another one that has 3 blue hearts in it.

Are you looking for a fast and easy way to bring in donations? Look no further than text-to-give! In this guide, we'll explore the ins and outs of text-to-give for nonprofits, including its benefits, top tips, and real-life campaigns we love. This innovative fundraising method allows donors to make contributions simply by sending a text message. So grab your phone and get ready to learn all about this exciting new way to give back!

How does text to give work?

When you ask, "How does text to give work?" we've got the answer! Text-to-give is a convenient way for people to donate to their favorite causes using just their mobile phone. Overall, offering donors a way to donate by text message provides many benefits for both donors and organizations alike.

When you use Funraise's Text Engagement with Text-to-Give feature, here's how it works:

  1. A supporter texts the keyword of your choice (like "GIVE" or "HELP") to your designated number.
  2. They receive an automated response with donation instructions and a link to complete the transaction.
  3. The supporter enters their payment information and submits their donation.
  4. The donation is processed and the organization receives the funds, often within 24-48 hours.

1. Donor texts a special code

Supporters are asked to text a keyword that you choose (such as “GIVE20” or “HELP”) to a designated number, and then they can follow the instructions on their phone to donate an amount of their choosing. All they need is a text-enabled device.

2. Donor receives an automated response

Once they send the code, your donors receive an automated response (that you created ahead of time). You can add instructions or a link, but we suggest that you send donors directly to your donation page or a page dedicated to these specific text-to-give donors.  

3. Donor navigates to your donation form

Your donor clicks on the link in the automated text response and is taken to your awesome giving experience. If you're using Funraise, you'll have the benefit of easy-click donation forms (with an amazing 50% conversion rate!) and powerful tools like recurring upgrades and abandoned card reminders.

4. You receive the donations

The best part! Seeing donation dollars hit your account is a pretty thrilling part of text-to-give for nonprofits!

How to set up text to give

Ready to start using text-to-give for your own organization or campaign? It's easier than you might think! Here's how to set up text to donate.

  1. Find the right text-to-give provider for your nonprofit.
  2. Create a keyword for your campaign that reflects your mission.
  3. Set up a donation page that will optimize conversions.
  4. Automate your response to text-to-give donors.
  5. Promote your campaign in digital and in-person spaces.
  6. Thank your donors for their generosity.

1. Find a text-to-give platform

We're biased toward Funraise's Text Engagement feature, obviously. But if you pretend that we're not the top text tool for nonprofits, we suggest that you do your research and compare fees, features, and customer support. And then head back to Funraise.

2. Create a keyword

You have a couple of options here: stick with a standard, easy-to-remember code like "GIVE" or "HELP" or choose something that reflects your mission or nonprofit name, like SCHOOL or PROJECTPAW.  

Funraise's Text Engagement works differently than other text-to-give programs for nonprofits. Most of the time, a donor texts a chosen phrase to a short code and their mobile service provider adds a set amount to their bill, to be paid later. Over here at Funraise, we can think of some problems with short codes, so we take a different route: when a donor texts in the code, they're automatically sent a text from you—our suggestion is that you add a link to your donation form in the text. The donor clicks, is whisked to your donation form, and proceeds to make their donation right on your mobile-friendly website.

3. Set up your giving experience

When you're using Funraise, you've got access to a fundraising platform that averages 3x the industry standard online donation revenue growth, donation forms with a 50% conversion rate, recurring upgrade features that contribute to 52% annual recurring revenue growth, and more.

Now's the time to use all of those sparkling fresh features! Set up a giving experience that's guaranteed to grab generous text-to-give donors.

4. Automate your text response

When your donor texts the code to your number, they'll get a speedy automated response directly from your org! Not only does the response come from you, it's your words and your call to action that the donor will be receiving. So make it good! Thank them in advance, send them directly to your donation form, and provide a giving experience so quick and easy that the only thing they'll remember is the impact of their donation.

5. Promote your campaign

Spread the word through social media, email newsletters, and other marketing channels. But don't stop there; add text-to-give instructions to your direct mail, event programs, bus stop ads, and billboards! Be sure to include clear instructions on how to donate via text message, and make sure your code is easy to remember.

6. Thank your donors

Finally, keep track of donations and say thank you! Funraise offers reporting tools that allow you to monitor donations in real time. And don't forget to express gratitude to your supporters for their generosity.

5 benefits of text 2 give

If you're considering using text 2 give for your fundraising efforts, there are plenty of benefits to this method that you don't want to miss out on. Let's dive in!

  • It's incredibly easy for donors.
  • It's a great way to reach younger generations.
  • A memorable text-to-give code is great for awareness.
  • Text-to-give is accessible to donors everywhere.
  • As a mobile-centric giving experience, text 2 give means donors can give from anywhere at any time.

1. Making a donation by text message is easy

We'll say it again: Making a donation by text message is incredibly easy for donors. With just a few taps on their phone, they can make a donation without any complicated processes. Plus, it's fast and convenient, so they're more likely to follow through with their donation.

2. Finding new donors

Another benefit is that it's a great way to reach younger generations who prefer texting over other forms of communication. By making donations available through text message, you're tapping into a whole new audience that may not have otherwise been reached. And with the ability to easily share your keyword and campaign through social media and other channels, you can expand your reach beyond just your current donors.

3. Brand awareness through your text-to-give code

The keyword you choose for your fundraising text messages can be memorable and related to your cause, making it easier for donors to remember and share with others. Maybe you'll even go viral!

4. Donating by text is accessible

Accessibility is at the forefront of Text Engagement. Making text message donations for nonprofits as easy, fast, and convenient as possible is what text-to-give is all about. Besides being inclusive and awesome, it also expands your donor base!

5. Making it mobile-first means mission-first

By making donations easy and accessible, supporters are more likely to give—even on the go. So the focus is on your mission when you make it mobile.

Discover the many benefits of Funraise's Text Engagement

5 top tips for texting donations

Now that you've got your text-to-give campaign set up, it's time to maximize your organization's fundraising efforts through text-to-give. Here are our top tips for making the most out of this powerful tool:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Set goals for your text to give efforts.
  • Market the heck out of your campaign.
  • Iterate on your failures—and successes.
  • Keep an eye out for increased usability and tools.

1. Keep it simple

Choose an easy keyword that's memorable and straightforward. Avoid using symbols or complicated words. Send donors to a quick and easy giving experience.

2. Set goals

Go for achievable and stretch. Get in goals based on audience, marketing channel, donor type, program, campaign, and, and, and! Don't just let this run and hope it works... Establish clear fundraising goals for your campaign, and provide updates on progress towards those goals to keep donors engaged. Text Engagement gives your nonprofit the opportunity to make more for your mission.

3. Market your text-to-give campaign

Utilize social media, email newsletters, and other communication channels to spread the word about your campaign and encourage supporters to donate via text to give fundraising.

4. Learn from your mistakes

You're gonna have some success with texting donations and you're gonna have some... learning opportunities.

And speaking of learning, don't make the mistake of forgetting to show gratitude. Send a personalized thank-you message after each donation. This helps build relationships with your supporters and encourages future giving.

5. Don't fear new features

Funraise is constantly working on bringing nonprofits new and useful features. Unlock the full potential of donation text messages and take your fundraising efforts to new heights.

Learn all about Text Engagement and how you can make the most of your mission with mobile

4 text to give campaigns we love

Text to give campaigns have become a popular way for nonprofits and organizations to raise funds for their cause. Here are 4 text fundraising campaigns that we made up. (Hey! Images of good text-to-give campaigns aren't easy to find. We're making it easy for you to visualize your donors' experience and your text to give service with these examples.)

1. World Peace text to give campaign

When you text PEACE to 123-456-7890 and donate to the World Peace Initiative, you can make a difference in our world. Text to give now!

A text to give campaign for World Peace

What we like

We love the bright, hopeful colors associated with this campaign, as well as the easy Donate button. The clear message in the automated response keeps the donor focused on your mission and their impact.

What could be done better

The text code could have a code appended to the end that would take the donor to a personalized ask string. Next time, we would have PEACE20 lead to a $20 ask string and PEACE50 lead to a $50 ask string.

2. Event text fundraising campaign

When your event is down to the wire, sending a text to your supporters with a live, up-to-the minute fundraising progress status is an exciting way to drive donations on a deadline.

A text to give campaign for a live event, showing 75% to goal.

What we like

We love how this brings supporters into your event, no matter where they are. The excitement of potentially achieving a stretch goal that makes incredible impact is undeniable.

What could be done better

The text response could have better expressed the impact of the goal. It's not just about raising money, it's about making impact with those donated dollars.

3. Text donations for Disaster Relief

When Mother Nature (or Hurricane Jan) brings rain, snow, sleet, and destruction to our communities, texting supporters for help and keeping them apprised of the progress is one way to make impact and drive donations at the same time.

A text to give campaign funding a natural disaster

What we like

We love getting up-to-the-minute news on the who and what and where and how donations will make a difference. We also love that support for natural disasters or urgent human rights issues can come from donors around the world and any time zone. And with a donation form conversion rate of 50%, getting supporters to your form is half the battle.

What could be done better.

With Funraise, nonprofits can spin up campaign-specific donation forms in seconds. With quick and easy Text Engagement automated responses, they can then send text donors to donation forms funding emergencies around the world.

4. Mobile text donations for Scott's Tots

Do it for the kids. When you run a peer-to-peer campaign backed by Text Engagement, your fundraisers can share the campaign, spread awareness, and build your donor base with ease.

A text to give campaign featuring peer-to-peer fundraising

What we like

Text messaging is a perfect fit for peer-to-peer! With Funraise's Text Engagement feature, you can text supporter segments or individual supporters. And when you have fundraisers raising money on your behalf, you need to keep them up to date and motivated.

What could be done better.

The only thing that could be better is that there could be more P2P fundraisers! On average, P2P fundraisers on Funraise raise $1,220, 2x the amount of top P2P programs and 10x the amount of the average donor. And even better, when fundraisers use Funraise's Facebook integration, they see an 83% average increase in the amount raised.

Back your campaign with Text Engagement today

Why use Funraise for your text to donate needs

Are you looking to launch a text-to-donate campaign for your nonprofit organization? Look no further than Funraise! Our platform makes it easy to set up and manage your campaign, with customizable keywords, automated responses, and real-time reporting. Plus, our user-friendly interface ensures that supporters can easily make donations via their mobile devices, without any hassle or confusion.

But that's not all - with Funraise, you also have access to powerful fundraising tools such as peer-to-peer fundraising and donor management. This means you can build strong relationships with your supporters and maximize the impact of your campaigns over time.

Wondering if your nonprofit even needs text engagement? If you're a nonprofit, doing nonprofit things, Funraise's Text Engagement is for you: Text to give for churches, for community-based charities, for animal activists, for environmental warriors, for health nonprofits... for YOU!

So why choose Funraise for your text-to-donate needs? Because we're dedicated to helping nonprofits like yours succeed in making a positive impact on the world. With our innovative platform and expert support team, you can rest assured that your campaign will be a success from start to finish.

Talk to our team to start using Text Engagement

Key takeaways on text giving

Text giving is a powerful tool for nonprofit organizations to raise funds quickly and easily. Here are some key takeaways to make the most of this fundraising strategy:

1. Make it easy for donors: Keep your text-to-give process simple and straightforward. Use a memorable keyword and provide clear instructions on how to donate.

2. Promote your campaign: Spread the word about your text-to-give campaign through social media, email newsletters, and other marketing channels.

3. Follow up with donors: Send personalized thank-you messages to show your appreciation and keep supporters engaged with your organization.

4. Track your progress: Use real-time reporting tools to monitor donations, keep track of texts to fundraise, and adjust your campaign as needed.

By following these tips, you can create a successful text-to-give campaign that engages donors and raises funds for your cause. And if you're looking for a platform to help manage your campaign, consider using Funraise—we make it easy to set up and track all of your fundraising efforts in one place!

Text giving FAQs

Is text-to-give effective?

Text-to-give is an incredibly effective way for nonprofits to raise funds quickly and easily. In fact, research shows that text donations have a higher conversion rate than other types of digital giving! Plus, it's a convenient option for donors who might not have cash or a credit card on hand.

Is text-to-give safe?

Text-to-give is a safe and secure way for nonprofits to collect donations from their supporters. When you text your donation, the transaction is processed through a trusted payment gateway. Funraise takes text-to-give safety even further by allowing text-to-give donors to give on your website, increasing flexibility and trust in giving.

Is there a fee for text-to-give?

Text-to-give often requires a fee to the nonprofit receiving the donation, just like any other donation. This fee covers things like payment gateway costs and transaction fees. But there are no extra fees when you use Funraise's Text Engagement. Other text-to-give programs using short codes may charge hundreds each month.

What do you write to ask for donations?

Well, our recommendation is to start here: How To Ask For Donations By Text & Email: Wording & Examples

1. First off, be clear about why you're asking for donations and what the money will be used for. People are more likely to donate when they understand exactly how their money will make a difference.

2. Next, personalize your message. Whether you're reaching out via email or social media, addressing the recipient by name and sharing a bit about why this cause is important to you can go a long way in building connections.

3. Finally, make it easy for people to donate. Provide clear instructions on how to give (such as through the best text to give platforms for nonprofits), and consider offering different giving levels so that people can choose an amount that works best for them.

Remember—asking for donations is all about sharing your passion and inviting others to join in making a positive impact. With these tips in mind, you'll be well on your way to successful fundraising!

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