May 5, 2021

Disaster recovery guide

disaster recovery

Offer Hurricane Relief Efforts Quickly

As Hurricane Florence batters the coast of the Carolinas, the safety and security of millions of residents are the foremost concern. After the storm passes, helping affected residents and enabling swift recovery will be critical. We want to help you raise donations and get funds to those affected by the hurricane quickly and easily.

Our team is ready to:

  • Set up a text-to-donate keyword and texting short code: Create a specific keyword for hurricane relief efforts and easy to recall 5-digit short code.
  • Create a hurricane relief donation page:Set-up and promote a donation page embedded on your website to quickly drive online giving.
  • Develop text updates & alerts:Internet service may be limited, but you can text updates and alerts about giving drives, volunteer sign ups, temporary shelter locations, etc. to your supports and those who need assistance.

We are on standby to help with fundraising and communications support for your organization.

Text to donate

Enable individuals from around the world to give in seconds from the convenience of their mobile device. Using a keyword (RELIEF) and a shortcode (51555), you can generate greater support with an easy to recall Text-to-Donate campaign.

Text "HCMATT" to 51555 to support hurricane relief efforts

Emergency text messaging

Sharing information is of critical importance during life-threatening disasters such as hurricanes. If you have information that people need, or want to update your supporters about your efforts, create a mobile marketing campaign. Have people text in a keyword to receive information or simply upload a list of existing numbers and subscribe them yourself (nonprofits have special TCPA permission to do this!).

Some examples of information that can help:

Shelter locations
Emergency contact information
Preparedness instructions
Evacuation information


Crowdfunding is a great way to expand your hurricane relief efforts quickly. Engaging the community in times of need and providing ways to share your cause’s campaign through social media can make a huge impact. You can simply send a text to supporters, sending a link to a donation form to offer the ability to donate right from their mobile device. You can also enable supporters to set-up their own crowdfunding campaign to aid hurricane relief efforts within their friends and family networks.

Natural disasters highlight the need to raise a large number of donations in a hurry. Whether communities are affected by earthquakes, tornados, wildfires or floods, aid organizations need to send funds and emergency supplies as quickly as possible. However, traditional disaster relief fundraising channels may not be fast enough during these crucial times. Mobile Pledging (mobile donations in unlimited amounts) can help charities get support to the people who need it most in the shortest amount of time.

Disaster relief campaigns have been revolutionized by mobile technology in just a few short years. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, the Red Cross was able to raise $22 million via $10 text to give, which accounted for 20 percent of the total funds received. In fact, the organization released a report last year on the progress made in the three years since the quake.

Donations helped 90% of the people displaced by the earthquake move back into communities.

In total, 4.4 million Haitians have benefited from the Red Cross’s services since 2010 because the group did a great deal to improve citizens’ access to health services and fund awareness campaigns, such as education on how to prevent cholera and be better prepared for major storms.

Lakeview Images /

Evolution of  Disaster Relief Fundraising

Despite the progress in Haiti, Mobile Pledging has a huge advantage over traditional $10 text to give when it comes to disaster relief fundraising because it allows organizations to send aid more quickly in larger amounts.

Consider the key disadvantages of traditional $10 text to give for natural disasters:

Limited donation size: Text to give contributions are limited to $10. While people can donate up to 3 times in a month, it’s more convenient for benefactors to make one larger gift using mobile pledging.

It takes longer for organizations to receive funds: Because gifts need to go through cellphone carriers, there is a longer process time. It can take up to four months for organizations to send aid.

Unsustainable donor database: Since carriers are the ones processing the donations, charities do not have access to any contact information for contributors, making it impossible to stay in touch in the future.

Lower percentage of donations collected: In the specific instance of the Haitian earthquake, only 59% of pledges were collected because of non-confirmation and restrictions.

In 2010, only 21% of Americans owned a smartphone. Currently, that portion stands at 74%. If this had been the case four years ago, aid organizations could have raised significantly higher donations.


Advantages of Mobile Pledging

Mobile pledging (see above) is the winner when it comes to disaster relief fundraising.

Consider the key advantages of mobile pledging in a smartphone age:

Higher donation size: When people can choose their own total, they give more. The average is $107.

Quicker access to funds: Nonprofits don’t have to collaborate with cellphone carriers to send aid.

Access to donor info: Taking ownership of the process means charities can build their donor databases.

Higher fulfillment rates: 84% of mobile donations are collected, partially because you can remind contributors to complete their gifts via text message.

We’re Here to Help

To support organizations that are rallying hurricane relief efforts, GiveSmart is here to help. In the aftermath of a natural disaster, we understand your first concern is serving your community. GiveSmart accommodates all types of fundraising: from text to donate, online donations, and crowdfunding and peer-to-peer campaigns. Additionally, we can assist with crisis communications.

Nonprofit organizations have looked to GiveSmart to provide real-time updates to their constituencies when power is compromised and people are displaced. Mobile text capabilities can be your most effective form of communication.

If you’re working to assist those affected by the disaster, our team can help set up a donation form or communications campaign for you quickly. Contact us to help get you started.

Water Missions International For Typhoon

Text QUENCH to 41444 and click the link to donate with your debit/credit card.

International Medical Corps Fundraising For Typhoon

Text MED to 80888 and reply YES and confirm your $10 donation.

Salvation Army Fundraising For Typhoon

Text TYPHOON to 80888 and reply YES and confirm your $10 donation.

Architecture for Humanity Fundraising For Typhoon

Text REBUILD to 85944 and reply YES and confirm your $10 donation.

When a disaster strikes, you can be ready to begin fundraising immediately. This guide will prepare you to effectively use and promote your disaster fundraising capacity in the event of a crisis.

Remember Haiti (Jan 2010)

Red cross raised $22,000,000 with $10 text to give donations. Text to give donations totaled 20% of the funds raised by red cross for Haitian relief. In January 2010, 21% of us donors had smartphones.

Text to give weaknesses

  • Donations are limited to $10
  • Funds are received by orgs in 3-4 months
  • Keywords go live in 30-90 days
  • Orgs receive no donor contact information
  • 59% of gifts are collected (declines due to non-confirmation, blocks & restrictions)

Today (May 2014)

What would happen if the Haiti disaster were to happen in 2014 now that 74% of us donors have smartphones? If mobile pledging were used in place of text to give and the red cross averaged gifts of $107, and 84% fulfillment, they would raise $335,145,712.

Mobile pledging strengths

  • Donation amounts average $107
  • Funds are received by orgs every month
  • Keywords go live instantly
  • Orgs receive full donor contact information
  • 84% of donations are collected (declines due to non-credit/debit card fulfillment)

Mobile Pledging high fulfillment is due to Reminder text messages and call center follow up.


Step 1: Setup a Keyword for Your Organization

Mobile Pledging (see right) keywords take just a few minutes to setup and are live on all cell phone carriers.

Best practice: Use the same keyword for all text to donate campaigns. Using multiple keywords decreases brand awareness and results in decreased donations.

Step 2: Setup a Branded Donation Page for Disasters

Branded donation pages  increase average gift size by 38% and take just a few minutes to setup. Responsive donation pages (which auto-resize for smartphones, tablets and PC’s) significantly decrease donation form abandon rates.

Best practice: Be as specific as possible with the branding on your donation page. This will reinforce to the donor that their donation is going directly to the intended purpose.


Step 3: Plan to Promote Your Call to Action

Promote your call to action on all channels:

  • Television
  • Radio
  • Social Media
  • Email
  • Text
  • Events

Step 4: Coordinate Your Call to Action

Develop strategic relationships with television, radio and other media outlets and be sure they are ready to make an effective call to action verbally and visually.

Text KEYWORD to 41444 to donate with your credit/debit card.

Best practice: Make donating as convenient as possible. For online channels it is best to promote your donation keyword and donation link.

Fact: To date, mobile pledging donations yield 15 times more funds than $10 text to give donations.


Step 5: Get Disaster Fundraising in Front of All Your Donors

Your donors are the most likely people to support disaster relief campaigns. Your donors see 15% of direct mail, 30% of email and 99% of text messages.

Best Practice: Upload your list of existing donor phone numbers for mobile number verification. Text message blasts take only 10 minutes to schedule/send.

Reply to give: Reply to give donations (see right) trigger: 1 – thank you message and donation form link 2 – reminder text messages 3- voice call follow up (optional)

Best practice: Send a thank you video link in a text message to all donors who make a donation to disaster relief.

Facts: 97% of us donors have a cell phone of which 74% have a smartphone. Landline abandon rate is 17% since 2008 and every year 14% of donors change their mailing address.

When a disaster strikes, you can be ready to begin fundraising immediately. This guide will prepare you to effectively use and promote your disaster fundraising capacity in the event of a crisis.


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