Text fundraising is a great way to reach your donors no matter where they are. While there are a few key differences between text-to-give and text-to-donate, either option can help you fundraise more by making donating even easier. Text fundraising allows your donors to give straight from their phone whenever they feel inspired and can be combined to boost your other fundraising campaigns.
Learn more about text fundraising to find out which option is best for your organization:
- Text-to-give vs. text-to-donate
- What is text-to-give?
- What is text-to-donate?
- Benefits of text-to-give and text-to-donate
- Text fundraising best practices
- Who can use text fundraising?
- Text fundraising FAQs
- How to choose a text fundraising platform
- The bottom line
- Why choose Qgiv?
Text-to-give vs. text-to-donate
As smartphones become increasingly popular, so does mobile fundraising. Over 90% of Americans own a smartphone of some kind, bringing engagement opportunities right to donors’ hands. All your supporters need is your organization’s shortened phone number (called a short code) and a campaign keyword to get started.
Although many people use text-to-give and text-to-donate interchangeably to describe their text fundraising, key differences in the setup and donation process separate the two into different fundraising methods.
What is text-to-give?
Text-to-give, also known as bill-to-carrier, is a carrier-based mobile fundraising method that allows your supporters to give via text message. Your donors simply text a keyword with their donation amount to the short code, and the donation cost is added to your donors’ phone bills.
How does text-to-give work?
Once your nonprofit qualifies for text-to-give:
- You can set up a short code, campaign keyword, and donation amount – limited to $5, $10, $15, $20, $25, $30, $40 or $50. Depending on the platform they use, sometimes you can also set up recurring donation options.
- When your supporters feel inspired, they can text the campaign keyword to the short code.
- The predetermined donation amount is billed to your donor’s cell phone bill by their carrier.
- The phone carrier processes the donations and transfers the total donations to your organization.
Why choose text-to-give?
The text-to-give process is appealing because it’s simple for your donors. Mobile donations can be completed through a few text messages, requiring little effort from your supporters. However, your organization must first meet a few requirements to be eligible. Your nonprofit has to submit an application and meet the qualifying criteria from the Mobile Giving Foundation.
What is text-to-donate?
Text-to-donate is a form-based fundraising method that is initiated through either an outbound text from your organization or from your supporters texting your keyword to your shortcode. Your donors are then sent a link to your mobile giving form. The gift is successful when your supporters finish entering their information.
How does text-to-donate work?
After your organization signs up for a text-to-donate platform:
- You can set up a short code, campaign keyword, and mobile giving page.
- When your donors feel inspired, they can text the campaign keyword to the short code.
- Your supporters can enter the amount they’d like to donate and receive a link to your mobile giving page.
- Then, they can complete the process by entering their information on the mobile giving page.
Why choose text-to-donate?
Unlike text-to-give, there are no minimum requirements for text-to-donate. This way, organizations of all sizes and missions can use this text fundraising method. Text-to-donate also allows your supporters to make custom donation amounts, set up recurring donations, and offset processing fees.
Benefits of text-to-give and text-to-donate
Donors love text fundraising because it’s easy to use. In just a few steps, even your least tech-savvy supporter can quickly make mobile donations to your organization. Because this method walks users step-by-step through the giving process, you can quickly and dramatically boost donor conversion and reduce friction throughout the giving experience.
Text-to-give and text-to-donate are two of the most convenient fundraising methods out there because nearly everyone has their phone on them at all times. Around 54% of all nonprofit website traffic is generated from mobile phones. Mobile-friendly platforms allow users to access the internet and all its offerings wherever they are! Your donors can make a donation to your cause at home, in the office, at a fundraising event, or on the go.
With text fundraising, your nonprofit can send up to 2,000 outbound messages per month and create custom fundraising keywords, making text-to-give and text-to-donate two of the best ways to reach your cause’s fundraising potential.
Texting is one of the fastest ways to communicate with your donors. In fact, it takes less than two minutes to respond to a text. The faster your donors are able to respond to your donation appeal, the more likely they are to complete a donation.
With the right fundraising platform, your team can automate outbound texts to your donors. This saves your team time while maintaining a continuous connection with your supporters throughout their donor lifecycle.
Text fundraising uniquely engages with your donors because you’re able to reach them anytime, anywhere. Plus, by combining text fundraising with other fundraising efforts, you can reach out to your supporters throughout your events.
With text fundraising, you can segment your donors to target specific audiences for different campaigns. This allows you to customize your messages to your supporters to increase the likelihood they’ll respond.
Text fundraising best practices
While text fundraising is a popular way to reach your donors, there are some best practices that can help you make it a better fundraising experience for both you and your supporters.
Choose a simple keyword
When setting up your text-to-give or text-to-donate campaign, you need to choose a keyword for your supporters to use. Your keyword is how your donors’ text donations find their way to your organization specifically, so it’s important to optimize it by making it short, relevant, and memorable!
While your keyword needs to be somewhat unique to work, you should still choose an easy-to-remember word. If your keyword is too difficult, autocorrect will likely adjust it, or your donors might accidentally mistype it. Those blunders reduce the chances that mobile donations actually make it to your organization.
Design a mobile-friendly donation page
When your donors use text-to-donate, they’ll access your giving page on their phones. It’s crucial your organization designs your form with mobile users in mind. While most services will automatically make your page mobile-responsive, there are a couple of key steps you can take to ensure your page looks and functions great on any screen size. By minimizing the required fields, using large text, and not cramming your page with design elements, you can ensure your form is easy to complete and maximize conversion rates!
Keep your donation form short
Another part of maximizing completed gifts is keeping your donation form as short as possible. No one wants to fill out an overly long and complicated giving form, and too many questions can lead to donation form abandonment. Brevity is especially important for mobile, where forms are more difficult to fill out.
Although it can be tempting to collect additional information about your donors, keeping required fields to an absolute minimum will help you raise more through your text-to-donate campaigns. Your donors’ names, contact information, and payment information should all be required, but if you want to include other fields, make sure they’re optional or include them in a follow-up donor survey instead.
Offer recurring gift automation
With some text fundraising services, your nonprofit can place a field on your donation form for your donors who want to set up automated recurring gifts. If your nonprofit has access to this feature, take advantage of it! You can even set a variety of giving schedules to provide donors with more flexibility.
Automating recurring gifts makes it more convenient for your donors to give on a regular basis—and there’s no risk of them forgetting to do so! On top of that, having a stream of steady and consistent gifts provides significantly better support to your organization in the long run.
Take advantage of outbound texts
Many text-to-donate platforms also let your organization take advantage of outbound texts. This is when your nonprofit uses your text giving platform to reach out to your donors, whether it’s to remind them of a campaign or thank them for their mobile donation.
Since text messages have an open rate of 98%, outbound texts are a great way to engage your supporters outside of your regular interactions. Easily update your audience on news, their gift’s impact, and event reminders. You can even take advantage of outbound texts to quickly send appeals during a crisis or for natural disaster recovery.
Track performance with reporting
Every organization understands the importance of data. With more data from your donors, events, and various outreach efforts, your organization can better improve operations and future engagements. Ensure your text fundraising tool is integrated with or a part of your larger fundraising system. That way, you can take advantage of reporting tools to give you the insight you need.
Always keep track of your text-to-give and text-to-donate efforts with reports to see which keywords best drive action and learn how your supporters like to give. That way, you can evaluate your current campaign, make adjustments if needed, and better plan future text fundraising events.
Pair text campaigns with other efforts
While you can host a text fundraiser on its own, it works even better when paired with other campaigns, especially events and peer-to-peer campaigns. You can use outbound texts to provide your event attendees with updates and reminders about your event, as well as future events afterwards. You can also use texts at auctions to notify your bidders if they’ve been outbid.
For peer-to-peer campaigns, you can use text fundraising to keep in touch with participants, as well as provide them with a custom keyword for their donors to use to give to your peer-to-peer fundraiser. Those donors could even sign up for updates on the fundraiser through text!
Promote your campaign
Like with every fundraiser, you want to promote your text campaign across all of your marketing channels. The more people that know about your campaign, the more mobile donations you’ll receive. Include your keyword, shortcode, and campaign background in social media posts, emails, and on your website to gain the most visibility for your fundraiser. If you’re combining text fundraising with a live event, you can post flyers and other advertisements with your text campaign information for attendees to use.
Take advantage of FundHub for your text campaign! With a FundHub campaign, you can include a fundraising thermometer, a donor leaderboard, a recent activity feed, and even a list thanking your sponsors. Your text donors can include a message with their text donation to show up on your recent activity feed for all of your supporters to see. FundHub also provides your supporters a place to see how your campaign is going.
Thank your donors
Donor stewardship is one of the key steps to retaining new donors you recruit through your campaign. With text fundraising, you can automate your donor acknowledgments to reach your supporters immediately after they complete their donation. They experience instant gratitude for their contributions to your cause!
Who can use text fundraising?
Text-to-give and text-to-donate for nonprofits
Anyone can use text fundraising, and more and more nonprofits have been adopting this fundraising tool.
Here are a few reasons nonprofits love text fundraising:
- It’s donor focused.
Most nonprofit professionals will tell you that the best way to encourage giving from donors is to meet them where they already are. Whether you market to them on social media, invite them to events, send them a fundraising email, or text them, there’s no better way to connect with donors than through their smartphones.
- It boosts giving.
Not only are text-to-give and text-to-donate popular fundraising methods among donors, they’re also two of the best ways to boost giving to your cause. Your donors can give more frequently because they’ll have a wider, more-accessible selection of giving methods to choose from.
- It’s inspiration driven.
Since making mobile donations is as simple as sending a text, your donors can give as soon as they’re inspired without spending time searching for a webpage or waiting to give on their desktop. With other methods, there’s always a delay between getting inspired and completing a gift. Eliminate that delay and empower supporters to make their gift as soon as inspiration strikes.
Integration with current fundraising campaigns
Combining text fundraising with other campaigns provides your donors flexible options to support your cause. Here a few ways your organization can use text campaigns with your other fundraising efforts:
- Social media
Since most individuals browse social media from their smartphones, social media platforms are the perfect channel to promote your text-to-give or text-to-donate information. Your nonprofit can share your fundraising phone number and keyword across sites like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and X. Not only does this help boost giving to your cause, but it also doubles as a marketing strategy to increase the visibility of your campaigns where your supporters are already active.
- Fundraising letters
Although fundraising letters are a pretty traditional solicitation method, your nonprofit can bring them into the 21st century by leveraging text fundraising. Simply share your text-to-give or text-to-donate information in your direct mail or email outreach. Readers can give as soon as they read your letter, rather than needing to mail back a check or risk exposing their credit card information on a remit slip.
Pairing text campaigns with fundraising events is the perfect way to capitalize on the excitement driven by your latest bikeathon, 5K, dance marathon, or other event. Even though your events happen person-to-person, empowering your attendees by giving them text-to-give information allows them to make a digital gift wherever your event may be. No cash or checks required!
- Peer-to-peer campaigns
Peer-to-peer fundraising and text fundraising often go hand in hand. Since your peer-to-peer campaigns are driven by social media engagement, there’s no better way to quickly connect with your donors than using text-based donation methods. Ask your fundraisers to include your keyword and shortcode on their personalized fundraising pages for their friends, family, and coworkers to donate. Each volunteer can even add their name or another identifier to the event keyword, so donations are credited to them.
Text-to-give and text-to-donate for churches
Churches can also use text fundraising to make giving easier for their congregants. Here are three reasons churches love text fundraising:
- It connects congregations.
Churches often feel that there’s a disconnect between their missions and the outside world. They want to grow the gifts they receive from their congregation, but it can be tough to connect with members without the right technology. Text fundraising provides churches with a modern, convenient way to engage members as well as reach out to new individuals who may be inspired by their mission and interested in learning more.
- It’s a digital collection plate.
Traditionally, a large part of a church’s fundraising revenue has come through collection plate gifts during services. However, in an increasingly cashless world, congregants are more and more likely to skip Sunday giving if they can’t give digitally. Give your tech-loving congregation a way to give back by leveraging text giving as a digital collection plate! Encourage members to text right from their pew to maximize the number of gifts to your church.
- It’s an easier way to give.
By giving congregants a way to give back that fits into their daily lives, they’ll be more likely to give regularly, even if they’re on vacation or they miss a service. Congregants will always have a direct line to tithing, so they can give whenever they’re called to support outside of the weekly services collection. Because it offers individuals a fundraising channel on their smartphones, there’s no better way for churches to raise funds than through text-to-tithe technology.
Text fundraising FAQs
1. What are shortcodes and keywords?
A shortcode is a five to six-digit number you can use in place of a telephone number that is easier for people to remember. Your keyword is the word your supporters send to your shortcode to donate to your organization.
2. Is it secure?
Yes! Your text fundraising platform should be PCI-compliant to keep your donors’ sensitive information safe.
3. How much is the average gift?
Text fundraising doesn’t mean smaller donations! The average text-to-donate gift is $107.
4. What kinds of payments are accepted?
For text-to-give donations, the gift is billed to your donors’ carrier and can be paid through the same payment methods they would usually use. For text-to-donate, donors fill out your donation page, which means any payment methods available on your donation page are accepted for text-to-donate gifts.
5. Can I use text fundraising for both year-round giving and year-end fundraising?
Absolutely! Text fundraising is great because it works for all types of campaigns and events your organization wants to host. With outbound texting, your organization can communicate with donors all year to give them important updates and announcements. You can then use list subscriptions to target specific donors. This is helpful during your year-end fundraising campaigns and can help you maximize fundraising success during the holiday fundraising season.
6. Can texting tools help boost fundraising?
Yes! It’s clear that text fundraising is an easy way to add another revenue channel to your organization’s overall efforts. Because your text reaches your supporters on their mobile devices, you can increase your website traffic since 54% of nonprofit website traffic comes from mobile devices. With text-to-donate, you can easily encourage donors to set up recurring giving during the giving process. On average, monthly donors give 42% more throughout the year than one-time donors. Texts also receive responses faster as it only takes an average of 90 seconds to respond to a text.
7. Who should use text-to-give? And who shouldn’t?
Text-to-give is most ideal for large organizations and companies. To take advantage of text-to-give, your organization must first meet some general criteria and guidelines set forth by the Mobile Giving Foundation. You need to submit an application, pay an application fee, and meet a minimum fundraising requirement per year ($500,000/year).
If your organization is just starting out, it can be hard meeting this fundraising requirement and spending the extra funds on the application fees. But don’t worry, you can still use text-to-donate!
8. Who should use text-to-donate? And who shouldn’t?
Text-to-donate is ideal for organizations of all sizes. There is absolutely no minimum fundraising requirement so you can start taking advantage of this tool immediately! Additionally, most text-to-donate platforms also come with other capabilities like outbound messages, list subscriptions, and connections to a live event component!
How to choose a text fundraising platform
There are multiple fundraising platforms that offer text fundraising, but you should do some research before committing to one. There are a few key features to look for when choosing your text fundraising platform:
- Outbound texts: As discussed earlier, outbound texts from your nonprofit to your supporters is a great way to engage and connect with them. Choose your text fundraising tools that offer outbound texts to easily provide key news and updates on your campaign!
- Pledges: Make sure donors can also text pledges to your text fundraising number so they can complete their gift at a later date. Having text pledging capabilities is great, especially when you’re asking your donors to pledge a gift while at an in-person event. However, pledges are only useful if they’re followed through in the end. Use text fundraising to send automatic reminder messages and track and report on unfulfilled pledges.
Reminder messages help you raise more, but they can also help boost donor conversion and save staff time. You can automate messages to send supporters campaign deadlines or urge donors to make their gift recurring after they’ve given.
- List Subscription: With list subscriptions, your supporters can opt in to receive texts from you. Segment your subscribers in order to send targeted texts relevant to their specific interests.
- Live event component (FundHub Live): Text fundraising often goes hand-in-hand with a live event, so make sure your text fundraising platform can directly connect to your event. For instance, display your campaign thermometer at your event to let attendees track your fundraising progress in real time. This shows donors how much they’ve given already and can motivate your supporters to give more.
- Ease of use: Your text fundraising platform should be easy for both you and your donors to use. Setting up a text fundraising campaign shouldn’t put your team behind schedule. And your text-to-donate forms should be simple for your donors to navigate.
- Responsive design: Your donors don’t want to wait for your donation page to load when they text to donate. Look for a text fundraising platform that helps you make mobile-friendly donation forms to increase donation completion rates.
- Pricing: Budgets are crucial for nonprofits, so you want to choose a text fundraising platform that fits into your financial plan. Pricing can include the base cost for a set amount of outbound messages, overage costs, application fees for text-to-give, and processing fees for donations.
- Processing funds information: Different donors prefer to give through different types of payments. Check out what payment options are offered by your text fundraising platform, as well as how quickly your organization can retrieve the funds from their donations.
- Customer support: If you’re new to text fundraising, a good customer support team can help you set up your campaign, as well as train your team to use the platform and track your campaign progress.
The bottom line
Benefits of text-to-give
The text-to-give process is attractive because it’s so simple for donors. Text-to-give enables organizations to set up custom keywords preset to a specific donation amount, accept donations in a few steps, and complete the donation process quickly (donors don’t need to enter credit card information).
Cost of text-to-give
The cost of Qgiv’s text-to-give platform includes: a $350 Mobile Giving Foundation application fee and an annual fee of $1,788 for the first keyword ($1,188 for additional keywords).
Benefits of text-to-donate
There are no minimum requirements to use text-to-donate. Text-to-donate enables organizations to engage supporters with outbound messaging, accept donations of all sizes, set up multiple keywords, and offer an easy way to give during live in-person or virtual events!
Cost of text-to-donate
The cost of Qgiv’s text-to-donate platform is $159/month (or $387/quarter) and 3.95% + $0.30 per transaction.
Why choose Qgiv?
Qgiv is the perfect partner for organizations of all shapes and sizes. With Qgiv’s comprehensive platform of smart fundraising tools, your nonprofit can rest assured that you’ll have access to all the online fundraising tools you need to grow your cause and fund your mission.
Some of Qgiv’s standout fundraising features include:
- Unlimited donation forms and event registrations
- Peer-to-peer fundraising add-ons
- Text fundraising with both text-to-give and text-to-donate capabilities
- Unlimited training and support
- And much more!
With Qgiv, there are no hidden fees. Set up is quick and easy, so you won’t have to wait weeks or months to get started.
Additional online fundraising resources
Text fundraising can help your organization raise more money by meeting your donors wherever they are. Once you choose a platform and what type of text fundraising is right for your nonprofit, you can set up your keyword and start fundraising! If you’re interested in learning more about text fundraising, take a look at these resources:
- Text Fundraising: The Ultimate Guide. Check out this guide to learn more about setting up your next text fundraising campaign.
- How to Use Text Fundraising to Increase Event Registrations and Engage Attendees. Learn more about combining your text fundraising with your events to keep your supporters engaged.
- How to Engage Virtual Donors with Text Fundraising. Take your virtual fundraising up a notch with text fundraising to keep your donors motivated.