Thursday, December 13, 2018

Five Ways to Get Started with Text-to-Donate by Year-End: A Guide for Non-Techies

This is a guest post from Eric Bryant of Gnosis Media Group

With advances in technology, the methods of fundraising have also changed. Text-to-donate is one of the latest methods to be used by charitable organizations to connect with donors and receive donations. It is largely based on mobile technology in which the donor will send a keyword to a short code (a shortened 4-, 5-, or 6-digit phone number) to send a donation to a non-profit or charity. In response, the donor receives an automated response with a payment link. The donor clicks on the link and follows instructions to complete payment. The system then sends a transaction receipt to the donor via text message.

With the holiday season here, many organizations may wish to implement a text-to-donate campaign for their year-end (or anytime) fundraising efforts. Here are some tips to get started:

1.      Decide on your keyword. What is the work people will text to you? Keep it simple and easy to remember. For example, if you’re a charity for children, something like “4KIDS” might work well. Keywords generally need to be 4-12 characters, but make sure yours is easy for prospective donors to spell and to type on their mobile devices.,

2.      Select a service provider. Before you collect those donations you need to select a third- party service provider who will provide a digital platform to run the text giving campaign. The provider gives your organization a unique phone number on which the transactions will be processed and provides all the backend technical and software support so that the process can run smoothly. Make sure you understand the features you need and whether the provider offers them. Here’s a great post that compares two popular text-to-give providers in terms of features and benefits.

3.      Market the campaign. Once the logistics are in place, it is time to put out the word about your campaign to potential donors. Develop a sound marketing strategy that consists of placing your keyword and short code on your website, sending out a call to action to your email lists, and publishing social media posts. Gnosis Media Group offers social media and text blasts promotions with our premium packages.

4.      Gauge the results. Make sure you choose a provider that gives you the metrics you need. Some important campaign metrics include subscriber count, clicks (on donate links), and of course, donation tracking. Keep in mind that some providers do not offer their own payment processing; therefore, they may not be able to tell you when a donation is made or how much in donations are collected. Also, be wary of companies that serve as a custodian of your donated funds. Not all companies are credible in this regard, and generally only another non-profit can serve as a fund custodian.

5.      Acknowledge donations and continue engaging. Although the donor receives a receipt of the donation he made to the organization, it is important that you acknowledge each donor’s contribution and keep them aware of the progress of your campaign. Remember, getting new donors is good, but getting repeat donors is the way to fuel growth. Though it goes without saying, thanking and acknowledging donors is key to retention. A successful manager will strive to make donors feel connected to the cause for better retention.

Getting started with a text-to-donate campaign doesn’t have to be intimidating or super technical. If you follow these simple steps, the donation campaign you run is sure to succeed.

Eric Bryant started Gnosis Media Group ( in 2008; it offers an award-winning text-to-donate service for nonprofits.

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