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by Volodymyr Hryshchenko, Unsplash

In today’s digital age, nonprofits and charities are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to engage with donors and raise funds. One popular method that has gained traction in recent years is text giving. Text giving can be divided into two types: text-to-give and text-to-donate. While some use these terms interchangeably, there are differences, and pros and cons to each.

Text-to-give vs. text-to-donate—which one is the best fit for your organization? Below,  we’ll compare the two and help you determine which is right for you.

What is Text-to-Give?

Text-to-give is a fundraising method that allows donors to make a donation by sending a text message. The process is simple: donors text a specific keyword to a designated number, or short code, and a predetermined amount is charged to their phone bill or deducted from their mobile wallet. The donation is then transferred to the nonprofit or charity. This is also sometimes called “bill-to-carrier” text giving.

Benefits of Text-to-Give

  • Quick and easy for donors: Text-to-give is a convenient way for donors to make a donation, as they can do so with just a few taps on their phone.
  • Instant gratification: Donors receive a confirmation message immediately after making a donation, providing them with a sense of instant gratification.
  • Low barrier to entry: Text-to-give does not require donors to create an account or provide personal information, making it a low barrier to entry for potential donors.
  • Cost-effective: Text-to-give is a cost-effective fundraising method, as it eliminates the need for expensive fundraising events or direct mail campaigns.

Drawbacks of Text-to-Give

  • Limited donation amounts: Text-to-give typically has a maximum donation amount of $10 to $50, which may not be suitable for donors looking to make larger contributions.
  • Limited customization: With text-to-give, nonprofits and charities are limited in their ability to customize the donation process or collect donor information.
  • Limited donor engagement: Text-to-give does not provide opportunities for ongoing donor engagement or relationship-building.

What is Text-to-Donate?

Text-to-donate is a fundraising method that allows donors to make a donation by filling out a form on a mobile-optimized website. Your organization sends an outgoing text with a link to your donation page, or donors text a keyword to a certain number and get the link that way. Then they fill out your donation form.

Benefits of Text-to-Donate

  • Higher donation amounts: Text-to-donate allows for larger donation amounts, making it a better option for donors looking to make significant contributions.
  • Customization and data collection: With text-to-donate, nonprofits and charities have more control over the donation process and can collect donor information for future engagement.
  • Ongoing donor engagement: Text-to-donate provides opportunities for ongoing donor engagement and relationship-building through email or text message updates.

Drawbacks of Text-to-Donate

  • Requires internet access: Text-to-donate requires donors to have internet access to complete the donation process, which may be a barrier for some donors.
  • Longer process: Compared to text-to-give, text-to-donate may take longer for donors to complete, as they have to fill out a form and enter their information.
  • Higher costs: Text-to-donate may have higher costs associated with it, such as fees for processing credit card payments (though it might be easier to offset these depending on your donation page’s host software).

Which is Right for You?

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by Kenny Eliason, Unsplash

When deciding between text-to-give and text-to-donate, it’s essential to consider your organization’s goals and resources. Here are some factors to consider:

Donor Engagement

If your organization is looking to build relationships with donors and engage them in ongoing communication, text-to-donate may be the better option. With the ability to collect donor information and provide ongoing updates, text-to-donate allows for more significant donor engagement.

Donation Amounts

If your organization is primarily looking to raise smaller donations, text-to-give may be the better option. However, if you’re looking to attract larger donations, text-to-donate may be a better fit.

Resources and Costs

Text-to-give is a more cost-effective option, as it eliminates the need for expensive fundraising events or direct mail campaigns. However, text-to-donate may have higher costs associated with it, such as fees for processing credit card payments.

Internet Access

If your target audience is primarily older donors who may not have internet access or be comfortable with technology, text-to-give may be the better option. However, if your target audience is younger and more tech-savvy, text-to-donate may be a better fit.

More Reasons to Use Text Fundraising

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by Markus Winkler, Unsplash

Whether you us text-to-give or text-to-donate, texting is a great tool for more than just asking for donations. You can also:

  • Remind donors about start times and events, “The auction is about to start!” or “Don’t forget! The gala is tomorrow night at 7PM.”
  • Automate your text outreach, taking time back for other tasks and moving donors through the donation cycle
  • Customize messages to different audiences, for example, existing vs new donors
  • Reach a large audience where they are. 97% of Americans own cell phones, and 57% of nonprofit website traffic comes from mobile devices.

How to Get Started

If you’ve decided that text giving is the right fit for your organization, here are some steps to get started:

  • Choose a text giving platform: There are many text giving platforms available, so be sure to research and compare features and costs to find the best fit for your organization. Many fundraising sites, including CharityAuctionsToday, offer text-to-give as part of their services.
  • Optimize your donation page: Your donation page must be in good working order to people reaching it on their smartphones. If it is frustrating to use, they won’t complete the form.
  • Promote your text giving option: Spread the word about your text giving option by posting your short code on social media, email, and other marketing channels.
  • Provide clear instructions: Make sure to provide clear instructions on how to make a donation through text, including the keyword and designated number.
  • Follow up with donors: After donors make a donation, be sure to follow up with a thank-you message and provide updates on how their donation is making a difference.

Make SMS Messages Work for Your Mission

Text giving is a powerful tool for nonprofits and charities looking to engage with donors and raise funds. Whether you choose text-to-give or text-to-donate, both options have their benefits and drawbacks. Consider your organization’s goals and resources to determine which is the best fit for you. With the right approach and platform, text giving can help your organization make a significant impact and achieve its fundraising goals.

Get the details about how to create text keywords and schedule text messages when you use our platform to raise funds.