What Is Text to Give? Essentials Before You Start Texting Optimizing Your Campaign

Fundraising Text Messaging

Text messaging empowers nonprofit giving campaigns and ongoing donation efforts.

That’s why we’ve put together this playbook to show you how to use text-to-give campaigns. It’s meant to be a complement to the good things your fundraising team is already doing.

This guide applies to nonprofits and campaigns of all sizes, but we do have local and community oriented nonprofits in mind.

Our team raised $58,510 in one day with the help of Text Request.”
Abbey Rice - Communications Coordinator
Chattanooga Area Food Bank

What is Text-to-Give, and How Does it Work?

Text-to-give is a fundraising option where donors text a keyword—like "GIVE”—to your business phone number to make a donation. It's that simple.

When the donor texts a keyword, they’ll get an autoreply with a link to your donation portal, which they can then click to enter:

  • Their donation amount

  • Whether the donation is recurring or one-time

  • Their payment information

And BAM—just like that, you've grown your cause in a way that's quick and efficient for both you and the donor! The most impactful part is texting the keyword automatically opts the contact into your SMS donor list, so you can text them again for future fundraising efforts.

Below we’ll cover what you need to maintain your SMS donor list, how to create your keyword, plus the best ways to optimize your fundraising campaign with business texting


3 Fundraising Campaign Essentials Before You Start Texting

Is this your fundraising campaign’s first time texting? Here’s a list of everything you need before you bring text-to-give into the mix.

1. A contact list of current donors. 

You probably already have a list of people who've previously given to your cause—but that list needs to be more than just their names and emails. Phone numbers are about to become a big must, so make sure to add them.

Collect these numbers by asking donors through email, social media, or one-on-one interactions if they’d like to opt in to receiving text messages—you could even prompt them with a keyword.

Once you have your list of numbers, you’ll want to segment those contacts by things, like:

  • Amount of money donated based on tiers (Small Donors vs. Big Donors)

  • Frequency of donations (Annual Donors vs. Inactive Donors)

  • Donor age (Millennial Donors vs. Gen X Donors)

You’ll use this later to upload your contacts and put them into designated groups within Text Request to best target them. You can contact our team to scan these lists and determine which numbers are landline vs. mobile. That way you know exactly who to text successfully from the start.

Text Request makes dealing with hundreds of contacts manageable. It’s so much more time efficient and affordable than making phone calls.”
Stacy Ervin, Owner & Event Planner
Just Between Friends Chattanooga

2. A designated tech stack.

This is a big one—especially for making your life easier. These different kinds of tech will streamline your fundraising efforts:

  • Email service—like Constant Contact or Mailchimp—to organize your contact lists and automate coinciding text triggers with email campaigns

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) software—like HubSpot and DonorPerfect—to track donor activity

  • Calendar, scheduling, and event registration—like Calendly—to opt in more donors for your cause

Text Request has integrations with Constant Contact, Mailchimp, and HubSpot that automatically sync your contacts with Text Request. This ensures your lists always stay up-to-date.

We recommend having each of these tools in place, in conjunction with integrations that are a good fit for you. These are the building blocks for a strong foundation to grow your fundraising efforts.


3. A reason for tapping donors.

Consider the timing of your texts before you start sending them. You’re looking for natural opportunities to engage your contacts, while also nudging them to take action. That's why we recommend timing them around:

  • Organization milestones and celebrations

  • New projects that need help funding

  • Holidays

  • Social media and email campaigns 

  • Annual giving events

Using social media and email in conjunction with texting is a big one, since you can tap your donors multiple times at once through different channels for a single giving campaign. That kind of presence is what will get people to donate. The more they see your message, the more likely they are to take action.

Now that you have your key tools and elements, here's how to implement them to raise record-setting donations.

6 Steps to Optimizing Your Giving Campaign

Bringing in more donations starts with reaching donors when you need to. Here’s how you’re going to do that using Text Request.

1. Set up your number and add users. 

Making your current mainline phone number textable saves time, cuts down on confusion, and keeps you from having to revisit your marketing materials. It’s the number you already advertise everywhere, plus the one your loyal donors know.

We’ll make it so you can text and call from the same number, without your voice services or provider being affected.

Once we SMS enable your number, you can start adding your team as users with different permission levels based on what roles they have: 

Administrator: Has access to billing, account usage details, and everything else

Manager: Has access to everything, except billing and account details

Customer Service Rep (CSR): Can only respond to texts and send out updates

CSR is particularly useful if you have volunteers that only work part-time. Your entire team will be able to use the same dashboard, so anyone can jump in when a donor has a question. 

2. Complete 10DLC registration.

10DLC stands for "10 digit long code," which are standard phone numbers like 423-218-0111. Your fundraising campaign is required by carriers to register your 10DLC numbers for texting. Otherwise carriers may choose not to deliver your messages to your contacts.

We help by gathering the registration info you need and giving it to the carrier via digital form. We'll ask you for three things in that digital form:

  1. Your business info

  2. Your use cases—which in this case would be fundraising 

  3. A sample message your business would send for that use case

We’ll then register that info with carriers automatically for you. Registration is expected to be an instant process, and you should experience no down time.

Once that’s completed, you can start reaching your donors.

Benefits of 10DLC Registration in Business Texting

3. Import your contact list. 

Remember that segmented contact list? Now we’re going to create Groups inside Text Request that reflect those segments, and import your contacts directly into them. A Group is a segmented list of contacts.

You can include custom fields in these imports to save general info about your contacts, like email, birthdate, or year they began giving. This will help you better remember them on a more individual basis—which is key for creating those personal connections for your cause.

If you already have segmented lists in your Constant Contact or MailChimp account, you can import those over to Text Request with our integrations. Those will auto update ongoing if the integration stays active. That way you can build on all the hard work you’ve already done to segment your contacts on other platforms.

Successful text message engagement comes down to knowing your audience, and Text Request gives you the flexibility you need to do that all in one place.

4. Create and advertise your keyword.

Custom keywords drive donations. Pick a word or term that will capture the attention of your target audience, then advertise it through your social media channels, physical location, email, and in digital ads. Donors will use this word to text in to learn about your cause and how they can help.

When a donor texts a keyword for the first time, they'll get an automated response telling them they've successfully opted in to your donor list. You can customize this message to prompt donors toward your donation link, or a link to learn more about what you do.

Keywords essentially create donor lists that build themselves. You can then text these lists over and over again for ongoing fundraising—which is helpful whether you do multiple or event-specific fundraising. 

5. Share your donation link.

Tap your donors for ongoing needs and extra support in a pinch by sharing your donation link. These texts should also include:

  • What you’re fundraising for

  • Why you need their support

  • How much you need to raise

“Hey [Name], we’re raising funds for [cause], and we need to reach [amount] before [date] when [event] happens. Click [link] to see how you can help.”

Mass Texting gives you the power to share these links at scale. Any responses will become individual conversations between you and the contact, like BCC email, so you can handle additional questions with ease. Templates can make this process even faster when you save premade responses for any common questions your campaign typically gets.

It’s a stress-free way to grab all your donors’ attention at once with a few quick clicks.


6. Continuously follow up on donor outreach and general engagement. 

You know texts are going to be read—99% are. But keeping donors engaged via SMS is more about bringing them into your mission and how they can be part of that ongoing. Text is a great channel through which to do that—for updates, newsletters, one on one conversations, events, etc..

Text messaging is a powerful tool for nonprofit fundraising campaigns. Use it, and you'll raise the money you need and more.

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