Blog/Beyond Texting

Text-to-Donate: How to Include Texts In Your Nonprofit’s Fundraising Strategy

Find out how your organization can use text messages to raise awareness and build a strong base of supporters.

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Ninety percent of text messages are read within just minutes of being received. For nonprofits, foundations and other social enterprises, this high level of engagement poses a huge opportunity to keep donors informed. Let’s walk through how you can get more people invested in your organization’s mission and turn them into donors using text-to-donate SMS messages.

What Is Text-to-Donate Fundraising?

Text to donate fundraising is a text message marketing feature that allows charities and nonprofit organizations to interact with their donors via text message. This can create increased transparency between donors and organizations, thus leading to an increase in total donations for the organization. Below are the steps you need to take to understand text donation and how to set it up with SimpleTexting.

How Does Text-to-Donate Work?

You can include text-to-donate links directly in your text messages if you use a dedicated short code. These are 5 or 6-digit phone numbers that are administered by the Common Short Code Administrator on behalf of a group of U.S. wireless carriers. (You can read more about them and how to qualify here.)

Certain eligible non-profits also receive a 60% discount towards the cost of their short code so you can potentially lease one for just $200 a month. Our short code experts guide you through the entire process of provisioning one.

If you’re interested in exploring how to get one, click the blue chat icon in the bottom right-hand corner and a member of our team can help.

Unfortunately, carriers such as AT&T do not allow text messages that include donation links when you use other phone number types. This limits the ability of nonprofits to fundraise directly through SMS if they don’t want–or can’t afford–to lease a short code.

However, you can still use text messages as part of your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy by leveraging them as a tool to tell your organization’s story. The rest of this article is will show you how to make it work.

1. Choose a number to send donation requests from

Every SimpleTexting account is automatically set up with a toll-free number capable of sending text messages to large groups. We can also help you acquire a vanity phone number such as 1-800-TURTLES. In the next step, you’ll understand why a memorable number is an important part of setting up text-to-donate.

💡SimpleTexting Tip: 501C3 nonprofits interested in leasing a dedicated short code for their business may qualify for a Charitable Organization discount (60% off the monthly cost). If your NPO has at least three stars on Charity Navigator and has an accredited logo on, reach out to a SimpleTexting team member for more information.

2. Select a memorable keyword

A keyword is a word or phrase that people can text in to your number to subscribe to your messages. For example, a nonprofit dedicated to saving the bees might choose the keyword “BUZZ.”

3. Tell supporters about your text-to-donate program

With your keyword selected, the next step is to have potential donors text the keyword to your number. Once they’ve texted in the keyword, they’ll be automatically subscribed to your messages. Remember, texts shouldn’t be used to send links to donation pages. Instead, use them as a way to garner support for your cause.

How to Set up Text-to-Donate in 8 Steps

1. Create awareness with SMS marketing

Before collecting donations, you need to have an audience of people who care deeply about your cause. Mass texting is a cost-effective way to inform large groups about the issue at hand. We’ll explain how to do this in the following steps.

2. Create a keyword specific to your cause

Every SimpleTexting plan comes with unlimited keywords. Make sure to pick a keyword that relates directly to your cause and is easy to remember. For example, Eagle Brook Church helped raise for their mission trip efforts in Haiti using the keyword, you guessed it, HAITI. This way, even if someone chooses not to subscribe to messages right away, they can easily recall the keyword later.

With your keyword selected, advertise it in any place where someone may be carrying a mobile device. (Hint: That’s everywhere.) Put it in magazines and newspaper ads. Print it on t-shirts and shout it from the rooftops. And, without a doubt, share it on social media.

When advertising your keyword, be sure to include all the disclaimers required by law. Click here to see more examples of compliant calls-to-action.

3. Add data collection to your keyword

With our data collection feature, you can easily request additional info from supporters such as first name, last name, email, and birthday. Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting it up. As we mentioned, regulations around text messages prohibit sending donations links. This means that having potential donors emails will come in handy when it’s time to fundraise.

Today 10:15 AM
Thank you for your interest in helping honeybees! 🐝
What’s your email?

4. Set up automated reminders

Even your most passionate supporters get busy sometimes. Keep your cause top of mind with drip campaigns a.k.a autoresponders. These allow you to create reminders that send out automatically. Schedule them to send hours, days or even a few weeks after your supporters initially opt-in to your messages.

Today 10:15 AM
Did you know that 1 out of every 3 bites of food you take required a honeybee’s pollination powers? Learn more on our blog:

5. Send donation links by email

This is where all of the efforts listed above come together. In step 3, you collected email addresses. Now send your subscribers a link to your online donation page. If your nonprofit’s website doesn’t already have a donation page, consider using a platform like GoFundMe.

GoFundMe Page Requesting Donations

6. Connect SimpleTexting to your nonprofit’s email platform

Our Mailchimp and Zapier integrations allow you to effortlessly pass information about who donated to SimpleTexting. Use our segments feature to send personalize the messages you send to supporters and donors.

7. Follow up with donors

Turn one-time donors into lifetime supporters by regularly following up with them. A simple thank you is a good start, but SMS messages are also a convenient way to send progress reports to your stakeholders. When donors are informed, they feel personally involved with your cause. And when they feel personally involved, they’re more likely to donate again and again.

Today 12:10 PM
Hi Emily, thank you for supporting the Power to the Pollinators foundation. Your donation allowed us to build a new hive. Take a look!

8. Add existing donors

Don’t just use texts to connect with donors who subscribed using your text-to-donate keyword, add the people who have been supporting you since the beginning! You can easily import them to our platform. Just make sure you have their consent before sending out a text blast. This simple step can go a long way in reducing donor churn.

Is Text-to-Donate Safe?

Yes. Text-to-donate is completely safe and secure. Remember, your donors never send any sensitive payment information by text. Payment links are not allowed, either. Instead, texting is used to inform potential donors about your cause. While our platform allows you to request basic info such as first name, last name, and email, the actual payment is handled directly on your website or third-party donation site.

Is Text-to-Donate the Same as Text-to-Give?

Not exactly. They both require keywords and short codes, but there’s an important difference in how payments are collected between the two. With text to give, nonprofits predetermine the donation amount. When a donor texts in the keyword, the amount is billed to their cell phone bill by their carrier. This means that the organization has to wait for the carrier to process the payment. Sometimes this can take up to three months! By using SimpleTexting to keep supporters engaged, and collect emails to send links to your existing payment platform, there is no delay while you wait for funds.

Thousands of nonprofits use texting to engage their supporters and rally support. Sign up to try our platform free for 14 days and find out how easy it really is to get started. Our team loves seeing nonprofits succeed using SMS marketing, which is why we offer a 15% discount for501(c)(3) organizations. We’re here for you 7 days a week if you have any questions!

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