How to Donate Through TextBy Eric Bryant,
You may have wondered about the benefits of donating through text. Here's how to set up a text to donate program for your nonprofit. First, let's talk more about how text to donate services work.
Mobile Carrier Billed vs Mobile Checkout
Basically, there are two types of text to donate services. One type of text to donate is where a donor texts a keyword to your short code, and later donor's mobile carrier bills him $5 or $10 extra on his bill. Once the donor pays his bill, the mobile carrier sends you the donation.
The second type is sometimes known as a service whereby the donor makes a pledge by text message. It works the same as the other, except that the donor's phone bill is not billed. Instead, the donor is sent a payment link (like Paypal) to complete her donation.
Which One Is Better?
The mobile-carrier billed text to donate may seem faster and better, but it actually has a number of drawbacks:
- There is a minimum revenue requirement to qualify for this type of text to donate. Your nonprofit must have generated at least $500,000 in revenue in the previous tax reporting year.
- You have to have an IRS Form 990, which requires that you be a certified 501(c)3 organization.
- With mobile-carrier billing, you often have to wait 3 months or more to receive your funds from the mobile carrier.
- You don't get any detailed information on your donors.
- Donors are limited to only giving $5 or $10. You cannot give them the option to fill in what they want, nor can you provide recurring donations.
- These mobile-carrier billed short codes usually cost a few hundred bucks in set up fees and exorbitant monthly fees, just to keep the code active. For many nonprofits, the cost of the service far outweighs the revenue they will generate from it.
- You cannot customize the reply text messages.
- You cannot send follow up text blasts to all your subscribers later on.
By contrast, a text to donate service like ours gives you lots of options. Here are some of the benefits of our service:
- There is no minimum revenue requirement to use our service.
- We don't require any IRS forms or even a 501(c)3. You only need to have a not-for-profit or charitable purpose to use our service.
- If you use our PayPal integration, you get your funds immediately. If you use us as a payment processor, you get your funds within 15-30 days.
- You get the phone numbers of everyone who texts your keyword to your short code. We can also collect additional information from donors, which helps you with future marketing and outreach.
- Donors may give any amount they choose. We can also offer them multiple options, like $5, $10, $25, $50 or $100 options.
- You can also set up recurring donations with us; you cannot do this with a mobile-carrier billed option.
- We don't charge a set up fee, and our monthly fees are very affordable.
- You can customize the text message replies.
- You can have multiple keywords; you can only have one keyword with mobile-carrier billing.
- You can send future text messages to your donors, which you cannot do with mobile-carrier billing.
Why Text to Donate?
Why do nonprofits use text to donate services? In short, because they work.
Texting is probably the most common use for mobile devices around the world. And if you're planning to acquire the next generation of millenial donors, you're much more likely to reach them via text than through any other medium. As mobile adoption continues to increase, it just makes sense that you'll reach a larger audience by making use of a specifically-mobile medium like text messaging.
Is Donating By Text Effective?
Absolutely. Think about it. People carry their cell phones everywhere nowadays. On the beach. In the delivery room. In the movie theater. There is nowhere people go where they do not take their phones. Texting is one of the most ubiquitous, effective forms of communication ever invented.
Texting is fast, simple and easy. And it's built in by default into every phone manufactured. No app to download, you don't even need a data plan or WiFi in many cases. Texting is one of the most underrated business technologies around.
In the U.S., the average person sent 6 texts per day. One source reports that the number of texts sent per month has increased a whopping 7,700% over the past decade. And Nielsen reported that texting was the most widely used service in the world in 2013.
So the moral is: If you're not taking advantage of texting for fundraising, you're missing out on an essential component of your fundraising marketing mix. Try our text to donate service and start collecting more donations today.