Text to Donate vs. Text to Give: Which is Right for You?

James Martin
Text to Donate vs. Text to Give: Which is Right for You?

Nearly everyone has a cell phone. Fortunately, this means that you can reach donors where they are with mobile fundraising.

Mobile fundraising is increasingly popular. According to Pew Research, 96% of consumers own a cell phone. There’s a wealth of engagement opportunities right in your donors’ hands.

Mobile fundraising is on the rise for this reason. All you need to bring your organization up to speed with mobile fundraising is a short code—more on shortcodes in a moment.

To learn more about text to donate vs. text to give and how they can help your fundraising efforts, keep reading.

Mobile Fundraising Today

Nonprofits must deliver a positive donation experience. In part, achieving this goal involves developing an effective mobile fundraising strategy.

Nonprofit organizations are making it happen with mobile fundraising. About 80% of nonprofit organizations have some form of a mobile fundraising initiative.

All nonprofits should take advantage of mobile fundraising. Nevertheless, the nonprofit sector has come a long way in the last few years to take advantage of the latest technology.

The best mobile experiences are simple. They make it easy for your donors to remember why you’re in the business of doing good. They make it frictionless to make a gift—whether it’s a first-time gift, recurring donation, or during in-person or livestream fundraising events with as few steps as possible.

With the right mobile fundraising tool, you can produce meaningful SMS messaging. More importantly, you can inspire donors to give:

What’s SMS Messaging and Shortcode?

SMS stands for Short Message Service. Most people call it text messaging or texting. It’s a cost-effective way to send short messages containing text and numbers.

Shortcode is a special phone number that’s especially for SMS messaging. A shortcode is only five to six digits long, hence its name. More importantly, it’s easy to remember.

Promoting Long-Term Giving With Mobile Fundraising

Very few nonprofits emphasize ongoing donations. Mobile fundraising is more than a one-off initiative. Accordingly, it would be best if you had a streamlined way to compel donors to give regularly.

Recurring subscriptions are a part of everyday life. Many people subscribe to services such as Netflix and Spotify. Nonprofits can learn a thing or two from the subscription model.

Recurring donations aren’t just an important giving option—it’s a necessity.

You must encourage recurring giving to help your organization sustain its mission. Text-to-give fundraising can help you meet this objective.

Why Go Mobile?

The average consumer checks their mobile device about 80 times a day. An important part of those engagements involves making payments using their phones.

In 2021, online payments will increase drastically. Analysts forecast that they’ll reach $200 billion by the end of the year.

As a nonprofit, you can capture your share of that revenue for your organization with mobile fundraising. Furthermore, you can make the process easy for donors.

Text-to-donate campaigns provide phenomenal advantages. For instance, technology makes it easy to measure the return-on-investment of your mobile fundraising initiatives.

By using text-to-give platforms, you can provide donors with a way of giving that feels familiar. It takes some time to get mobile fundraising right. However, it’s important to think beyond total donations when considering mobile fundraising performance in the beginning.

There are other benefits of mobile fundraising worth considering. As an example, SMS fundraising saves a considerable amount of volunteer hours.

Furthermore, you can increase your engagement with the community quickly with mobile fundraising. More importantly, mobile fundraising gives you access to enhanced donor information.

For example, you can use an SMS fundraising campaign to direct donors to your online donation page. This kind of fundraising campaign enables you to capture key metrics.

There are other ways that you can measure mobile fundraising performance. Imagine that you’re raising funds for a time-sensitive cause. In that case, you can measure real-time performance by how fast the initiative helps your organization to reach its goal:

Reaching Donors on the Go

Many nonprofits have embraced texting donors to boost donations over the last year. Between 2020 and 2021, mobile giving increased by 205%.

Currently, nonprofits have two major options for SMS fundraising—“text to give” and “text to donate.” Both formats involve compelling donors to give to your nonprofit. However, there are differences between the two functionalities.

In either case, soliciting donations by text is much easier than doing so by phone. Also, mobile fundraising results in better engagement compared to email or social media campaigns.

Furthermore, texting donors is nonintrusive. It’s also more personal. Donors are more willing to give to your cause when you engage them with mobile fundraising.

From an administrative perspective, mobile fundraising is easy to deploy and user-friendly. Accordingly, it’s become indispensable for nonprofit groups.

You can launch your mobile fundraising campaign using either text to give or text to donate. However, how do you know which option will produce the best results?

Text to Donate vs. Text to Give

Many times, the terms are used interchangeably. In fact, most people don't know there is technically a difference. This is partly due to the explosion of smartphones over the last decade. When technology like text to give first came out, the way we purchased products online using our mobile phones looked different. The price point for text to give also made this technology cost-prohibitive for many organizations, so it never really had a chance to become mainstream.

Text to give mobile fundraising is a carrier-based method. It enables you to engage with supporters using text messages. You can launch an inbound only mobile fundraising campaign whenever you feel inspired.

Your donors would text a keyword using a shortcode and the donation amount. The phone carrier would add the donor’s donation to their next phone bill. Provided, of course, the network carrier or phone provider supported it.

With text to give, however, donations are limited to a static amount. For instance, you can only arrange for donations between $5 and $50 in increments of $5, depending on the platform that you use.

Conversely, text to donate is different from text to give. Instead of accepting donations through a carrier, it’s a form-based mobile fundraising method. You’d initiate the text donation process with a text message from your unique shortcode.

After arriving at your donation form, supporters can enter the amount that they’d like to donate. They’ll then receive a link to your fundraising page.

Here, supporters can complete the giving process. Now, they’ll fill out the giving form, allowing you to accept the donation and capture important donor information—as well as vital key metrics—just like typical online giving.

The Limitations of Text to Give

There’s been a lot of talk in nonprofit circles about text to give technology after it produced $43 million for the Red Cross Haiti earthquake relief campaign. Despite the success, text to give isn’t right for every nonprofit.

It can drive donations. However, there are major disadvantages to using text to give for mobile fundraising.

For example, you’re limited to a fixed donation amount when using text to give mobile fundraising. Text to give donations also don’t provide you with the opportunity to tell your organization’s story.

The biggest driver of nonprofit donations is your organization’s story. Potential supporters need to evaluate rather they trust your methods.

However, a text to give campaign is devoid of your branding. There are no logos, colors, or campaign designs. Text to give doesn’t provide a strong connection with your nonprofit’s brand.

Your mobile fundraising campaign will feel transactional without branding and personalization. It’s not interactive and you can’t follow up. You’ll observe smaller donation amounts when you use text to give mobile fundraising platforms. In other cases, you might discourage donations entirely. This particular experience is unlike any other purchase the donor will make on their mobile phone with their credit card or debit card in their digital wallet. In every other case, they will use their credit card and decide based on the experience at "checkout". In fact, it is so unique that in recent years its support among the carriers has waned, and, likely, new phone providers will not support it in the coming years.

To make matters worse, you will not have access to the actual donor's mobile phone number or collect any donor data, so following up with a thank you or moving donors into other channels to develop your relationship is not possible. If donor engagement is important to you and your team, text to give is not the right solution.

Reach Your Goals With Text to Donate

Rally is your solution for conversational text to donate technology. Our platform enables you to forge unbreakable relationships with donors and volunteers.

With the Rally text to donate platform, you can connect and engage new donors confidently. It also reduces friction when acquiring new donors.

We’ll provide your nonprofit with easy-to-remember shortcodes and point-and-click QR codes. In addition to Text-2-Donate, we also offer Text-2-Pledge and Click-2-Call campaigns. In total, our platform offers more than 42 core features and benefits.

You can use our giving tools with your existing workflows, processes, and platforms. In fact, Rally has integrations with more than 2,000 applications. You can even use Rally to embed text messaging into your existing donor journey.

Our platform also gives you the ability to swap donation platforms and processes at any time. Even then, you can continue to use your short number, keywords, and opt-ins.

Rally is also an exceptional tool for communicating with donors across multiple channels. For instance, you can use the technology to encourage donor connections on Facebook. In fact, you can set up as many keywords as you want and direct donors to any events, and directly engage them to make a gift to hit your fundraising goals.

You can also compel supporters to share links with their friends using SMS messaging for peer fundraising. We even have pre-written text message templates to make it easier. With so many options, your mobile donation opportunities are seemly endless when you partner with Rally. You will own 100% of your data, and you can download contact phone numbers and donor information manually or automatically pull it into a Google Sheet or CRM.

Acquire, Engage, Retain

Now you know more about text to donate vs. text to give. With Rally, you can remove the barriers to giving and building relationships. You can also increase community support.

Donors are 12 times more likely to respond to Rally messages compared to any other communications practice. You can use our technology to reliably get the word out about your nonprofit with meaningful engagement.

You can use our tech to go beyond impersonal text blasts. Our platform makes it easy to launch a relational texting campaign.

Contact Rally today at (858) 240-2250 or connect with us online to request a demo. Alternatively, you can text RALLY to 24365 and follow the prompts.

We are here to help you engage donors in a meaningful way on the medium they prefer. Click the link below for a free resource.

Rally Corp Text to Donate Buying Guide