May 5, 2021

Disaster Recovery Guide

disaster recovery

Disaster strikes. Anytime there is a natural or manmade disaster, the safety and security of those affected are of the foremost concern. Helping affected residents and enabling swift recovery will be critical. We want to help you raise donations and get funds to those affected quickly and easily. 

If you have an existing GiveSmart subscription, we’re on standby to help with fundraising and communications support for your organization. Learn more about the best text-to-donate platform today. 

How does Text-to-Donate Work? 

Enable individuals from around the world to give in seconds from the convenience of their mobile device. Using a keyword (RELIEF) and a shortcode (76278), you can generate greater support with an easy to recall text-to-donate campaign. 

In just a few steps, your disaster relief text-to-donate campaign can be up and running! 

  • Create a donation page: Set-up and promote a donation page embedded on your website to quickly drive online giving.  
  • Set up a text-to-donate keyword and texting short code: Create a specific keyword for relief efforts and easy to recall 5-digit short code. 

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!).

In some instances, internet service may be limited, but you can text updates and alerts about giving drives, volunteer sign ups, temporary shelter locations, emergency contact information, preparedness instructions, and more  to your supporters and those who need assistance. 

Wish Lists

Wish list fundraising is a great way to expand your 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  peer-to-peer campaigns to aid relief efforts within their friends and family networks. 

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.  

Text-to-Give vs. Text-to-Donate

Let’s consider the key disadvantages of a cell phone company run text-to-give for natural disasters: 

  • Limited donation size and frequency: Text to give contributions are limited to $10. While people may be able to donate multiple 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.

Text-to-donate is the winner when it comes to disaster relief fundraising

  • Consider the key advantages of mobile pledging in a smartphone age: 
  • Higher donation size and unlimited frequency: 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. 

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, wish lists, 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. 

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. 

Step 1: Setup a Keyword for Your Organization 

Text-to-donate 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 76278 to donate with your credit/debit card. 

Don’t forget to make donating as convenient as possible. For online channels it is best to promote your donation keyword and donation link. 

Fact: Text-to-donate yields 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. 

When a disaster strikes, you can be ready to begin fundraising immediately with GiveSmart. To get ready, request a demo today. This guide prepares your team to effectively use and promote your disaster fundraising capacity in the event of a crisis.  


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What our clients say

We needed a platform to make sales online and to track and display ads for our sponsors. GiveSmart was perfect. We ended up making close to $15,000 more than we had hoped for. Definite better ROI than we anticipated. The interface is easy to use and provides plenty of options to get help if needed.

Michelle M.

The Rotary Club of South Whidbey Island

Using GS has created ease in auction bookkeeping, payments, and generating post-event thank you/tax letters. While we were online during COVID, our interactions with our GiveSmart via phone, email, and zoom were seamless. A representative always got back to us within the day. I would recommend GiveSmart to anyone doing a large online event.

Julie G.

MicroFinancing Partners in Africa

GiveSmart is highly flexible - you can use it for [a] simple registration and check-in, to full-scale galas with complex order forms, onsite upsells, live auctions, seating management, and more.

Jamie F.

Hope Chest for Breast Cancer

GiveSmart is easy to use and ideal for virtual events and can be used for in-person events to manage the silent auction, seating charts, and check-in to the event. Being able to use the platform for unlimited events within the contract year is very useful and being able to add other users and volunteers for different levels of access is helpful as well.

Dawn L.

Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County