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Text-to-Give Software: Five Unexpected (And Amazing!) Benefits

When it comes to mobile giving, your nonprofit is likely already familiar with the many advantages of providing your donors a convenient option for giving on the go.

It’s true: text-to-give and other mobile giving tools enable supporters to make donations through a quick, painless process.

When you implement text giving, all your donors have to do is pull out their phones, enter some basic information, and confirm their donations to have an instant impact. It’s simple, fast, and uncomplicated—what’s not to love?

Even though donor convenience might be the strongest draw of investing in text-to-give software for your organization, it’s not the only perk associated with text giving.

In fact, there are a number of unexpected benefits to making text-to-give a part of your fundraising strategy.

In this article, we’ll lay out five of the most exciting advantages of using these tools:

  1. You’ll engage event guests.
  2. You’ll reach new donors.
  3. You’ll raise more without breaking your budget.
  4. You’ll receive donations quickly.
  5. You’ll get more from every part of your marketing strategy.

Not only will you reap all of these amazing benefits, but by using text-to-give, you’ll also stay on the cutting edge of fundraising and maximize your donation potential.

On that note, let’s dive in!

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1. You’ll engage event guests

What’s the benefit?

Here at OneCause, we’re all about the fundraising event. A well-planned gala, golf tournament, or walkathon has the power to bring many of your nonprofit’s supporters together to raise funds and show their excitement for your cause.

What you might not know about fundraising events is that they pair perfectly with text-to-give software!

Since supporters are almost definitely going to show up at your fundraising event with their phones on hand, you should make the most of these mobile devices as powerful fundraising tools.

By having more options for giving, you’ll inspire more donations from all those in attendance and bring in more money from your events than ever before.

How do you make it happen?

If you’re planning to implement text giving at your next fundraising event (and we think you should!), keep these best practices in mind:

  • Educate your donors. Text-to-give is quite simple, but you still want to ensure that donors understand the process. As you’re promoting your event, provide educational materials that explain how text giving works, and have volunteers or signs at your venue to walk donors through the steps.
  • Conduct a compelling live appeal. On the night of your event, you should encourage additional giving by conducting a live donation request. Tell the story of your cause, explain what impact gifts will have, and demonstrate to guests how easily they can donate through text-to-give.
  • Display a fundraising thermometer. Some text-to-give services also enable you to set up a fundraising scoreboard that syncs up with your text donations. You can project your thermometer so guests can watch as it’s updated in real time, motivating them to donate as you soar toward your goal.

Bonus: Before you can plan the perfect fundraising event, you’ll need to invest in event fundraising software to help smooth out the logistics from start to finish. Check out OneCause’s event fundraising solution!

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2. You’ll reach new donors

What’s the benefit?

Because all it requires is a smartphone, text-to-give is one of the most accessible donation channels available.

User-friendliness is an obvious benefit to text-to-give software, but you might not realize that text giving’s accessibility and ease-of-use also make it easier for your nonprofit to appeal to a new, previously out-of-reach audience.

Successful text-to-donate campaigns have illustrated how this channel can bring in new supporters from all around the world.

For example, the Red Cross’s Haiti Earthquake Relief text campaign capitalized on text-to-give technology’s universal accessibility to collect donations from individuals all across the globe. (And, as one of the most notable text-to-give campaigns in history, it raised over $480 million!)

Your text giving campaign doesn’t have to bring in millions to be successful, but by understanding how to use text-to-give to appeal to a wider set of donors, you might be able to exceed your fundraising goals nonetheless.

For more examples of text-to-give campaigns (and a lot of mobile giving insight), take a look at Double the Donation’s ultimate text giving guide.

How do you make it happen?

In order to capitalize on the ubiquity of text-to-give technology, try the following tactics:

  • Create shareable social media promotions. To maximize your reach, inspire your supporters to share your text-to-give campaign online. Post content that’s immediately eye-catching and appeals to supporters’ emotions so they feel compelled to repost it.
  • Take advantage of giving days. When you make your campaign a part of a larger charitable movement, you’ll automatically appeal to a vast group of generous donors. Use hashtags (such as #GivingTuesday) to keep your cause part of the national conversation.
  • Don’t narrow your focus to young donors. You might think that the target audience for text-to-give is millennial donors, but the text donation appeal actually reaches far wider. While you shouldn’t rule millennials out, you should also keep older donors in mind too, since they’re just as (if not more) likely to partake in text giving.

Widening your reach won’t just help you acquire one-time donors for your text-to-give campaign. If you implement these strategies effectively, you’ll inspire new individuals to join your cause for many fundraising campaigns to come.

For example, someone who has never heard of your organization might spot your name on social media as part of your #GivingTuesday initiative and decide to follow your efforts, becoming a supporter for life. With text-to-give, the possibilities are limitless!

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3. You’ll raise more without breaking your budget

What’s the benefit?

Text-to-give is still relatively new technology, which means there are some lingering misconceptions about how it works, how secure it is, and how much it costs.

While older versions of text-to-give were notably pricey for nonprofits to implement, a lot has changed since the first mobile giving campaign was launched.

Now, you might be surprised to find that one of the greatest advantages of text giving software is how cost-effective it can be!

There are still many associated costs to consider when shopping for a text-to-give provider, but if you conduct your software search effectively, you can walk away with a highly lucrative fundraising tool without sacrificing affordability.

How do you make it happen?

To get the best return on investment from your mobile giving provider, you should keep these questions in mind throughout your search for the right tool for your nonprofit:

  • Is my provider a part of the Mobile Giving Foundation? A group of several text giving providers, the Mobile Giving Foundation places restrictions that can limit your fundraising. If your vendor is a part of the MGF, you may be forced to place a $5-$10 cap on donations and split all proceeds with donors’ cell phone providers.
  • Will I need to purchase a shortcode? A shortcode refers to the phone number that donors text to make their donations. To acquire your own code, your nonprofit will likely pay thousands of dollars, but not all vendors require that you purchase your own. Instead, your donors can simply text a unique keyword to your platform’s universal shortcode.
  • What additional fees will I have to consider? Aside from the upfront costs of purchasing your software, you should also consider any additional expenses you might encounter later on. You’ll likely need to pay payment processing fees for each transaction and may also be subject to convenience fees, training and setup costs, and other fees.

Text-to-give software can be expensive, but it definitely doesn’t have to be.

The vendor you choose plays a large role in determining the cost of your text-to-give services. For example, your provider might enable donors to round up and cover payment processing fees as part of their gifts, keeping costs low (and donations high!) for your organization.

When you enter into the buying process, keep an eye out for a provider who’s dedicated to keeping these technologies affordable and profitable for you.

After all, text-to-give is designed to increase your fundraising power, not limit it!

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4. You’ll receive donations quickly

What’s the benefit?

Another misconception carried over from the earliest iterations of text giving technology? That it takes many days, weeks, or even months to ever see your hard-earned donations.

Thankfully, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, one of the best parts of text giving is how quickly it allows your organization to process payments and receive funds!

Most modern text-to-give providers can process your payments in as little as 48 hours. Fast access to your funds means you’ll be able to put these donations to use more quickly and show donors the impact of their gifts almost immediately.

How do you make it happen?

As long as your text-to-give provider is partnered with a secure payment processor, your nonprofit shouldn’t need to jump through any hoops to ensure you receive your donations in a reasonable amount of time.

That said, if your text-to-give provider is part of the Mobile Giving Foundation, there will be additional steps necessary to get your donors’ money from Point A to Point B—i.e., from their bank accounts to yours.

What does that mean for you? If you’re working with a vendor who’s a part of the Mobile Giving Foundation, your donors’ text-to-donate gifts will be tacked onto their monthly phone bills.

Donors will have to wait until they receive their bills in order to even make their donations, and even then, it might take time for the phone carriers to process the payments and send the appropriate funds to your organization (minus whatever cut they happen to take).

Vendors who aren’t part of the Mobile Giving Foundation aren’t subject to any of this runaround. Instead, all donations are processed immediately through your text-to-give provider’s payment processor, and funds are sent straight to your bank account.

To ensure that you have access to your donations as quickly as possible, the best step is to choose a provider that isn’t bound by the restrictions of the Mobile Giving Foundation.

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5. You’ll get more from every part of your marketing strategy

What’s the benefit?

Being a modern fundraising technique, you may think that the only way to promote text-to-give is through online channels like social media.

Working from that assumption, you might be inclined to believe that only organizations with young demographics and a strong online following can really take advantage of text giving.

While it’s true that online promotions work well with text-to-give campaigns, that’s only one part of the picture.

As we’ve already mentioned, text-to-give is actually a popular fundraising method for a wide variety of donors. And as such, the most successful text-to-give campaigns make use of a multi-channel marketing strategy.

Direct mail, email, social media, and in-person promotions can all play a major part in text-to-give success—and that versatility is one reason that text giving is such a profitable method!

How do you make it happen?

Depending on your resources and your donors’ preferences, any or all of these marketing methods can help you raise more from text-to-give:

  • Direct mail. Any time you send direct mail (minus your thank-you notes), you should include your text-to-give shortcode and/or keyword. Since direct mail recipients are likely to be the least familiar with text-to-give, make sure you also include a brief walkthrough of the donation process.
  • Email appeals. We all check our email on our smartphones, so it makes perfect sense to include your text-to-give information in your email newsletters and donation appeals. Email is also a great place to update your donors on campaign progress, so don’t forget to include how much you’ve raised and where their text-to-give donations are going.
  • Social media. We’ve already touched on how to create a strong social media post, so don’t ignore these platforms as you’re promoting text-to-give. Post an attention-grabbing infographic that educates your donors on the text-to-give process and catches their eyes as they scroll through their news feeds.

When it comes to marketing text-to-give, there’s really no wrong way to get the word out. Mobile giving campaigns can be adapted to meet your audience, wherever they may be!

Closing Thoughts

Text-to-give can be an extremely effective fundraising tool for your nonprofit, sometimes even in ways you might not expect.

When you understand all the benefits of implementing a text-to-give campaign, you’ll be able to make the most of these tools as part of your fundraising strategy.

Text-to-Give Software: Five Unexpected (And Amazing!) BenefitsThe preceding is a guest post by Joshua Meyer, who brings more than 14 years of fundraising, volunteer management, and marketing experience to his current role as director of marketing for OneCause (formerly BidPal). He has a passion for helping to create positive change and loves that his current role allows him to help nonprofits engage new donors and achieve their fundraising goals.

Topics: Fundraising mobile fundraising Text-to-give