What’s the easiest way to increase donations? By making it as easy as possible for supporters to give—and it all starts by accepting a wide variety of payment methods.
Text-to-donate is one of the simplest ways to connect people to your cause, yet many fundraising platforms don't use it. Instead, they stick to the standard PayPal and credit card payment options, which could be limiting to some supporters.
Below, we explain what text-to-donate is, why it can increase the total dollars raised, and which fundraising platforms accept text-to-donate as a payment option.
What is text-to-donate, anyway?
Text-to-donate helps link potential supporters to your fundraising campaign. Supporters text a keyword of your choice to a five-digit phone number, then receive a link to your donation page in return.
Once supporters reach your donation page via text message, they can choose the amount they want to give. In addition, they can select from a wide variety of payment options, making it easy for supporters to contribute to your campaign.
Best of all, you can track the results of your campaign in real-time. Since each unique text-to-donate link contains tracking information, your team knows how much you've raised through text fundraising.
Is text-to-donate the same as text-to-give? 📲
Text-to-donate is different from text-to-give, where supporters text a keyword to give a set donation amount toward a cause.
For example, if you text PREVENT to phone number 90999, you will automatically donate $10 to the Measles & Rubella Initiative led by the American Red Cross. During national disasters or times of social unrest, many nonprofit organizations will offer a text-to-give platform as a way to rapidly ignite a mobile giving campaign. However, text-to-give features come with some drawbacks, which we’ll dive into below.
How can text-to-donate support your cause?
Text-to-donate is an excellent fundraising tool because it’s an easy way for donors to support your campaign in just a few taps.
Offering text-to-donate as a giving option can drastically increase traffic to your donation page. Think about it: How often are you on your phone throughout a given day? How often do you leave home without it?
While being glued to our phones is commonly thought of as a modern-day problem, it can be a secret weapon when it comes to fundraising. Over the past few years, mobile giving has increased by a whopping 205%. In addition, over half—51%, to be exact—of visitors to your fundraising page do so through a mobile device.
Here's what that tells us: People want an easy, straightforward way to use their cell phones to give to causes they care about.
Text-to-donate offers a solution to boost your fundraising efforts, through a channel as simple as text messaging.
What are the benefits of text-to-donate over text-to-give?
If you're thinking of adding text donations to one of your payment options, there are a few things to note. Text-to-donate offers a few benefits over a text-to-give feature, including:
1. Supporters can pick their own amount 🙌
With text-to-give, donors are pigeon-holed into giving a set dollar amount (usually $10). However, this can be aggravating to loyal supporters who want to contribute more to your campaign.
An average-income household gives over $2,500 to charity over the course of a year. If your cause matters deeply to an individual, then a $10 donation might not be enticing. Instead, allow supporters to customize their donation amount, giving a sum they feel most comfortable with.
2. Supporters can pick their own payment option 💁
In many text-to-give campaigns, supporters will be left with a charge on their mobile phone bill. This can be frustrating, particularly when these supporters are trying to show a donation receipt for tax-related purposes.
A text-to-donate campaign, on the other hand, allows individuals to choose their own payment option. On Givebutter, donors can give via ACH, credit card, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, PayPal, or even by mailing a check. Plus, after they give they get a donation receipt delivered directly to their inbox, to be used for 501(c) contribution tax write-offs.
3. It educates supporters on your cause 📙
Using a text-to-give service can cause a missed opportunity for donor engagement. Since donors simply text a keyword to donate and the donation process ends there, supporters miss out on learning about your cause.
By using a text-to-donate fundraising method, you bring new donors to your fundraising page where they can educate themselves on your organization. From there, they can watch videos, read stories, browse through your social media channels, and engage with other donors on your supporter feed. This, in turn, can help increase recurring donations by striking a deeper connection with your supporter base.
How to use Givebutter's text-to-donate option
To boost mobile donations to your cause, you'll want to choose a fundraising software that offers text-to-donate as a payment option.
Givebutter offers a simple solution where supporters can use text messages to contribute to your campaign. With text-to-donate, donors can give to any Givebutter campaign, including peer fundraising campaigns, fundraising events, and online fundraising campaigns.
To use text-to-donate to reach your fundraising goals, simply instruct supporters to follow these steps:
- Text your campaign’s custom keyword to 53-555.
- In response, supporters automatically receive a link to your secure, mobile-friendly campaign where they can make a contribution.
- You—and your fellow campaign organizers—view live stats, helping to gauge the success of your text-to-donate campaign. Each unique link is tracked upon click, so you can keep tabs on how much you've raised.
Why text-to-donate makes mobile giving effortless
Using text giving through Givebutter is incredibly easy, and allows you to:
- Connect with supporters across all devices: With text-to-donate, you can easily connect with first-time donors across all devices (for free!), including cell phones and tablets.
- Build a mobile-friendly campaign: With a text-to-donate fundraiser, supporters can easily give to your campaign—straight from their back pocket.
- Create up to five keywords: Your text-to-donate campaign can create up to five unique keywords, guiding supporters to your online donation form. A keyword is any word, phrase, or acronym that's easy to remember, such as "buildcommunity" or "helpkids."
- Text reminders: After an online donation has been made, you can easily send unlimited text reminders for upcoming fundraising events or other campaigns. Otherwise, you can use SMS invites to draw past supporters to future campaigns.
- Send automated thank yous: Givebutter makes it easy to follow up with supporters. After a donation has been made, you can automatically send a message thanking them for their contribution.
- Accept all payment methods: Givebutter's functionality allows supporters to give how they wish, accepting Venmo, PayPal, Apple Pay, all major credit cards, ACH, checks, and more.
- Store donor information: Givebutter's built-in CRM platform, Track, allows you to conveniently store donor data all in one place. With Track, you can track donor activity, build segments, create donor profiles, and manage incoming donations.
- Accept recurring donations: Givebutter's mobile fundraising features allows you to transform one-time donors into recurring contributors. Supporters can continue donating on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis.
- Connect with supporters: Since Givebutter's text-to-donate feature connects supporters to your fundraising page, you can easily interact with contributors through your supporter feed.
- Track your success: All mobile donations are tracked through a unique code, and added instantly to your fundraising thermometer (your campaign goal bar).
How to set up text-to-donate in your Givebutter campaign
Ready to make text-to-donate a central part of your fundraising strategy? To configure text-to-donate with your Givebutter campaign, follow these steps:
1. Go to your Givebutter Dashboard > Account Settings > Tools.
2. Under your Tools tab, find "Text-to-Donate." Click the blue button titled "Create new keyword."
3. Under the Campaign drop-down menu, select which fundraising campaign you want your keyword to point to.
4. Create a keyword for your campaign. Your keyword must be unique (i.e., not used by any other Givebutter campaign), short and simple, and be easy to remember for your supporters. Once you select your keyword, click the "Add" button.
5. Test your text-to-donate connection by texting your keyword to 53-555. You should receive a response that links you to your campaign.
6. Share your keyword across SMS, social media, and email campaigns, inviting supporters to donate via their mobile device.
Text-to-donate can help you raise money for your cause
Text-to-donate is an import tool that can help elevate your mobile fundraising strategy.
With more and more supporters making donations through their phones, you need a simple, straightforward way for supporters to contribute via text.
Givebutter's text-to-donate feature brings people directly to your fundraising page with a single text message. From there, supporters can customize their donation amount and select their payment method of choice.
Plus, Givebutter’s all-in-one, always-free, user-friendly platform is built with your donor base in mind. With Givebutter, you get 130+ fundraising features, built-in CRM capabilities, and marketing automation, seamlessly in one place. With Givebutter’s accessible, affordable platform, you can effectively build a fundraising strategy around the donor experience.
Ready to see how Givebutter's text-to-donate service can help you reach your fundraising goal? Get started with your free account today.
Rachel is a fundraising and marketing consultant for nonprofits whose aspiration since she was 16-years-old is simply this: help others, help others.