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Text-To-Donate Is An Emerging Fundraising Tool

August 22, 2019 Sarah Cavill

A robust giving campaign should encompass a multichannel approach that considers a variety of factors including target audience, the benefit to your nonprofit or charitable endeavor and ease of use for donors. With mobile usage rising precipitously, text-to-donate is a growing – and obvious – choice for fundraising. But it’s important to understand the different options within the emergent text-to-donate channel and how a text-to-donate strategy can help your nonprofit and build donor relationships.

Understanding The Different Options With Text-To-Donate

Understanding the different options with text-to-donate can be helpful when ascertaining which one is most beneficial for your cause.

Mobile Carrier Billing Or Text-To-Give

text donate

Mobile carrier billing is when a donor texts a keyword to a short code, and the amount of that donation is added to the donor’s cell phone bill. This type of text-to-donate is a popular option after natural disasters when awareness is high and donors are anxious to help. Mobile carrier billing was used effectively after the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. With a few taps on their phones, donors can give small amounts – donations are usually limited to $5 or $10 – and feel they’ve made a difference. The seamless nature of this style of transaction is ideal for expediency, but it also means virtually no data is collected from donors for your charity, and recurring donations aren’t typically possible. These limitations make it a less useful donation drive strategy for building robust donor databases or tapping into existing donor lists. 

Mobile Checkout Billing Or Text-To-Donate

Mobile checkout billing is a more in-depth way to use text-to-donate to fundraise, develop databases and generate recurring donations. Users text a keyword to a code and, instead of the money being added to their monthly cell phone bills, donors receive links to pay. Ideally, the link takes the user to a mobile-optimized donation page. At this point your nonprofit can collect several data points about the donor, set up sustaining donations and offer additional opportunities to connect with the donor.

Causes can also send out SMS pings to donor lists after something significant has happened, driving donations. Text-to-donate is very popular with political candidates. For example, because Julian Castro proactively built donor lists throughout his candidacy, he was able to increase donations by 3000% using text messaging following his notable debate performance.

Building Relationships With Your Donors Requires Data And Understanding

The ubiquity of mobile usage has contributed to the comfort donors feel with giving through their mobile devices. After an initial donation that hopefully collects some amount of data from the donor, you can begin to understand your audience and how they want to be messaged for further donations. This follow-up could be via email, SMS or, in the case of older donors, direct mail. Although older generations are increasingly engaging with nonprofits via digital channels, a study by the Blackbaud Institute, found Baby Boomers are significantly less likely to donate via text. While Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X are all equally comfortable with the text-to-donate fundraising channel.

Building Relationships With Your Donors

Text-To-Donate Should Be An Integral Part Of Marketing Strategies Encouraging Continued User Engagement 

Text-to-donate should be a part of strategic multichannel marketing campaigns. Adding a text-to-donate channel to your fundraising efforts is a mobile friendly, user-centered way to raise money and promote your nonprofit. By creating a healthy database of your donors in advance of donation opportunities text-to-donate can continue the engagement, extend brand awareness and create more actionable and effective donor relationships.

Reimagining Your Nonprofit Marketing Win? 

About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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