$600+ Average Donation Through Text to Give: How? Relationships

Kevin D. Hendricks
$600+ Average Donation Through Text to Give: How? Relationships

Last year the average donation amount via text messaging on the Rally platform was over $600. Whoa. That’s huge. It underscores the value of text to give donations. Make sure your fundraising strategy includes high-dollar donors. 

Average Text to Give Donations

We’re obviously big fans of text messaging for nonprofits. Generally, we talk about an average mobile donation of $135, compared to an average email donation of $45. That’s inline with the average one-time gift of $121 in 2022, according to the M+R Benchmark Report.

We like to hype the stats—clearly mobile fundraising methods trend higher, which helps nonprofit fundraising efforts. 

But more than just hype, we see SMS donations work.

At the end of 2023, while reviewing stats on the Rally platform, a new data point jumped out.

Our average donation amount was over $600. 

For one client it was $964.84.

Those are big-time donations. 

Encouraging High-Dollar Donations

Those are great donation stats. Every nonprofit organization would love to see more high-dollar gifts. After all, the vast majority of nonprofit funding comes from major gifts (and “high dollar” is certainly relative).

But it’s not as simple as just adding text-to-give donations. There’s a lot that goes into why text messaging is seeing such high average donation amounts (spoiler alert: relationships). 

Let’s explore when and why donors are giving large gifts through text messaging and offer some lessons to help your nonprofit reach your fundraising goals.

Why Large Donation Amounts?

Here are five reasons why the nonprofits we work with are seeing high-dollar donations through text messaging.

1. Drive Engagement With Known Donors

People donate to nonprofit organizations they know, like, and trust. It’s about forging that trusted relationship. You can’t reach out once a year and only ask for money. You need to share results and show gratitude more than you ask for money.

Key: Build relationships with your donors.

2. Target the Right People

Many of these nonprofits are reaching a captive audience. They’ve got a room full of eager donors at a fundraising event or target their communication to reach the ideal donor. A general fundraising appeal can bring a trickle of small-dollar donations, but when you target big donors you can make a different appeal.

Key: Segment your list so your donation request can appeal to those big donors.

3. Own Your List

You can’t build a relationship and segment your audience if you don’t own your list. It’s why we tell people to invest in their own platform. Taking donations through Facebook sounds great until Facebook makes a change and you lose the ability to follow up with all those Facebook donors. Donor data matters.

Key: Invest in a communication platform you can own and control.

4. Events Where Donations Are Expected

Many of the nonprofits we work with are using text messaging at fundraising events where donors are prepared to give and give big. You don’t attend a black tie gala and plan on giving $50 or $100.

Key: Texting is a way to facilitate and maximize that donation. Make it easy for donors to give.

5. Leaderboard Donations

Peer pressure is surprisingly effective. We see a lot of fundraiser events use a real-time leaderboard to create a sense of cooperative competition. It’s cooperative because everyone is giving to the same cause, but it’s competitive in who’s going to give the most and will we reach the goal. It’s why we built our fundraising thermometer.

Key: Use text messaging to tap into that competitive spirit.

How to Get Bigger Donations: Relationships

In summary, how are these nonprofits getting average donations of over $600? 

It’s all about relationships.

There’s the classic line that you need seven marketing touchpoints before someone will respond. That’s about making a connection and building a relationship. And that’s just to get that initial response. 

That donor relationship is going to build slowly:

  • Your first donation is not likely to be $600. It’s probably a small donation. But it shows they’re interested. You're forging an interactive relationship. 
  • As that new donor learns more about your nonprofit organization and you show results, maybe they give again. 
  • At some point they might consider a recurring donation. The average monthly gift is $25 according to the M+R Benchmark Report, which is $300 if they stick with it for a year.
  • Sharing stories about your work, talking about impact, and saying thanks are all key. Notice none of those donor engagement tasks ask for money. What kind of off-putting relationship asks for money in every conversation? There are better ways to connect with your top donors.
  • Maybe they attend an in-person event or tell their friends for peer fundraising.
  • At some point these long-time, steady donors might be willing to make a high-dollar donation. But it doesn’t happen overnight.

Building that relationship is a process, not a single fundraising campaign or one-time donation process. And mobile giving is key because donors text. People carry their mobile phone everywhere, and respond to text messages—response rates for texting are better than direct mail, email, or social media. Mobile devices are personal, and that’s key to taking those relationships to the next level.

Major Gift Fundraising

A nonprofit that’s bringing in high-dollar donations might be ready to talk about major gifts. Any donor giving $500, $1,000, $1,500 or more might be a candidate for planned giving, where donors put a nonprofit in their will. 

Those kind of major charity gifts that come from estate planning can be huge for nonprofits, sometimes launching new efforts or kicking off building projects. 

High profile examples include Joan Kroc’s $1.8 billion gift to the Salvation Army in 2003—which created Kroc Centers around the country, including in Quincy where they use Rally—but major gifts can be much smaller and still have an incredible impact.

But choosing to leave money to charity is a personal decision that’s likely based on how a person wants to make an impact or a relationship they have with a nonprofit. 

It all comes back to relationships.

Build Relationships With Rally

Firing off random text messages to strangers isn’t going to work. Effective text-to-give fundraising requires cultivating that contact list. That’s why Rally focuses on data and strategy to help you build relationships and get results.

  • Text-to-give platform: Mobile fundraising is easy with our fundraising tools. People can text a custom keyword to a short code and get a quick link to your donation form. It uses your existing donation platform, so it’s streamlined and user-friendly. They can use a credit card right on their smartphone through your donation page.
  • Giving tools: We offer integration with multiple fundraising platforms, plus other tools including ringless voicemail and a fundraising thermometer.
  • Solid support: Our functionality is simple and easy to use, but if you ever need help we’re here. We’ve got FAQs, pre-written text message templates, webinars, and more. Plus, we’re happy to take a voice call.

Book a demo today and let’s talk about how we can help you get results.

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