Texting and mobile giving are so powerful that it’s amazing these technologies are still so underrated in the nonprofit community. SMS, for example, is truly a Cinderella technology for nonprofits and social enterprises.
Why? Because texting is cheap, fast and easy. It has almost zero barrier to entry, and it’s built into every phone. People in lower-income communities, not just in the United States but around the world, have been utilizing SMS to give to charities for years.
Research shows that many nonprofits will raise more overall with an SMS donation program in their marketing mix than they will without one.
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 about why you should consider this option.
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 millennial 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.
TWO TYPES OF TEXT TO DONATE SERVICES
Basically, there are two types of text to donate services. One is a text to give; this 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.
Unfortunately, this type of text to give service isn’t going to work for nonprofits that don’t generate $500K/year in revenues. It also won’t work for not-for-profits who have a charitable mission but don’t have a 501(c) designation.
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.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS DONATING BY TEXT?
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 Wi-Fi in many cases. Texting is one of the most underrated business technologies around.
Sometimes increasing fundraising margins is about having the best tools. Some tools convert better than others. Additionally, one in three donors will come from peer-to-peer fundraising. Text-to-donate is one area that is experiencing an increase in click through and conversion rates, as more and more people transition to mobile-first.
In the United States, the average person sent six texts per day. One source reports that the number of texts sent per month has increased a whopping seven, 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.
About the Author
Eric Bryant is a social entrepreneur who has been building telephony and SMS applications since 2008. In 2008, he launched Gnosis Media Group (GMG), a communications consultancy. GMG was awarded the distinction of “Tech Company to Watch” by the Connecticut Technology Council in 2015. In 2016, GMG was accepted into reSET Social Impact Accelerator. GMG has also received significant funding from Backstage Capital, a Los Angeles venture capital fund.