Oct 22, 2018

Essential Steps for a Text-to-Donate Campaign

mobile bidding auction rules

Text-to-donate is successful for your organization because it increases reach, collects donor data, raises money, and is executed on all devices. We have some stats on that. Keep the following tips in mind, and watch the money texts roll in!

What is text-to-donate?

Text-to-donate is a mobile fundraising tool using text messages to collect donations from donors’ mobile devices. These campaigns are effective because text messages have a 99% open rate! Donors are usually active on their phones, and this high open rate leads to increased donations. Remember these six things when you’re texting your donors. Many organizations will set up text-to-donate campaigns for an event, or as a way for donors to easily give year-round.

How to implement a successful text-to-donate campaign:

1. Keyword: have a simple and memorable keyword. PAWS Chicago, an animal welfare organization, hosts an annual beach party and uses “BeachParty” as its keyword. The keyword is easy to remember because it’s also the name of the event.

2. Display: make sure guests can easily find the keyword and number they need to text in order to make a donation. You can put the information on your event program, on tables, and/or on a digital display at the event. One of the benefits of using text-to-give is that your campaign doesn’t have to be tied to an event! You can display the keyword in other areas too. Read more about those in 3-5.


3. Social Media: to collect donations from guests who can’t make it to your event, or donations for a virtual fundraising event, spread the word about your text-to-donate campaign on social media. The Philadelphia Flyers Charities use Twitter to reach donors anywhere, as seen in this tweet:

donate button graphic

online donate key on the keyboard

4. Email: another way to reach donors on their phones is via email. You can inform donors of the upcoming campaign and ask them to pre-register with their cell phone numbers so they will receive alerts when the campaign starts. Pre-registering donors with their cell phone numbers also allows you as an organization to collect their contact information and text them with key information.

5. Direct Mail: lastly, you can send information about your text-to-donate campaign in your organization’s direct mail campaigns. Similar to sending the information via email, you will be able to pre-register donors and begin collecting contact information. Be sure to include the keyword and number to text!

Why use text-to-donate?

  • Increased participation: Using text-to-donate makes collecting donations easy. Through GiveSmart, you can provide pre-set donation amounts and the option for guests to give any amount they’d like. This is a great opportunity for anyone in the room to give what he/she/they can, ensuring that everyone feels included.
  • Confidential: When utilizing text-to-donate during an appeal moment, guests can give discretely, large or small. These donations will all contribute to the rising thermometer (if applicable) on the display screen, saving some donors the discomfort of standing up and waving a paddle.
  • Quick Payment Processing: Don’t worry about when you’ll be able to see the donations you receive in your bank account. Payment processing is quick and funds are in your organization’s account in as little as one business day of
    closing the payments and processing the credit card information. This quick processing time allows you to execute your fundraising promises sooner!
  • Collect Donor Data: When donors register to text-to-donate, you can collect their name, email address, physical address, credit card information, and more. This allows you to stay in contact with donors after the campaign ends!
  • Easy to thank donors in a timely manner: Set up your text-to-donate campaign to automatically text donors a customized “thank you” message after you receive their donation. You can also use the contact information you collect to send a more personalized message to donors after the event, keeping your organization at top of the minds.
  • Higher success rate: One of the reasons why text-to-donate is so successful is because of the high open rate with text messages. SMS text messages have a 99% open rate. Capitalizing on this trend with a text-to-donate campaign will increase responses, increasing donations.

Text-to-donate can be successful for your organization for many reasons: it increases your reach, collects donor data, raise money, and can be executed using a variety of platforms. Keep these tips in mind and you will be able to execute a lucrative text-to-donate campaign!


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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.

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The Rotary Club of South Whidbey Island

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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.

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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.

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Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County