How to Run a Great Text Giving Campaign

Abby Jarvis

If you are thinking of starting a text giving campaign, Abby Jarvis of Qgiv is here today to share some tips on how to make it successful. ~ Kristina

Guest Post by Abby Jarvis

Next time you’re at a restaurant or sporting event, take a look around. Odds are you’ll see at least one person on their cell phone, and it’s very likely you’ll see more than just one.

As phones become more ubiquitous, nonprofits are experimenting with different ways to engage donors on their mobile devices. Many nonprofits are choosing to use phones to their advantage by encouraging text giving.

Now, the text giving that’s popular with many nonprofits is very different than the text giving that was widely used by the Red Cross during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Today, three-step text giving lets donors give more than the standard $5 or $10 donation and ensures that nonprofits get donations much more quickly.

But, although text giving has been around for years, many nonprofits still struggle to successfully include it in their campaigns. Here are some strategies that help make text giving appealing to donors:

Don’t Shoehorn It In

Text giving just might not work for you. And that’s okay! Don’t try to have text giving just to have it – make sure it makes sense for your campaign. Text giving works well under the right circumstances – events where you’ll have a captive audience, for example, or for campaigns that rely heavily on word-of-mouth or young donors – but it might not be a good fit for you. Take a few minutes to think about the structure of your campaign, your audience, and your goals. If text giving seems like a good fit, proceed! But don’t try to force it if it doesn’t make sense for you.

Pick the Right Keyword

Three-step text giving, like its earlier predecessor, starts with donors texting a keyword to a shortcode (a series of numbers that’s shorter than a full phone number). Most text donation service providers will already have a shortcode for you – you just choose your keyword. Choosing a good keyword might not convince donors to give via text (you’ll have to do that yourself!), but choosing a BAD keyword can discourage people who want to donate.

There are two ways to make sure you choose a good keyword.

The first is to try to read your keyword out loud. Imagine you’re talking to a group of donors at an event and spell out your keyword. Is it awkward? Does it take way too long? Is it simple enough to ensure your donors get it right?

If your keyword is easy to relate to an audience, the next step is to write out the keyword on your phone. If typing out the keyword is awkward for you, it’ll be awkward to your donors, too. Make sure to keep an eye out for autocorrect!

Make Giving as Easy as Possible

Consider your audience and how they’re going to interact with text giving. How can you make the process easier for them?

Here are some things I’ve seen Qgiv clients do to make giving via text message easier for their donors:

  1. At an event, a nonprofit used a slide in a presentation to lay out giving instructions (including the keyword and shortcode).
  2. One church used text giving for members who didn’t carry cash or checks; they included the keyword and shortcode on the back of their bulletin.
  3. Another nonprofit included text giving information on a pamphlet about their organization and their work.
  4. Some nonprofits have had event staff on hand to help attendees (especially those who weren’t tech-savvy) make a gift.

What can you do? We all know that online donors are more likely to give if the donation process is easy; the same concept applies here, too!

Treat Text Donations like Other Donations

Text giving feels pretty informal, especially since the three-step process can take less than a minute. But the success of your future campaigns will depend on your donors’ impressions of your nonprofit, so it’s important to treat ALL donations with the same amount of gratitude.

This means not neglecting your donors, even if they’ve given with a quick text instead of writing out a check. Take advantage of their engagement with you to thank them, show them what their donation will accomplish, and take the time to establish a rapport with them. This can be done in a number of ways, but I will give you this hint: the fact that they donated to you through a text message is a good indicator that they’ll want future communication from you to be mobile-friendly!

If you’re thinking about incorporating text giving in your next campaign, that’s wonderful! It can be a powerful way to engage potential donors where they already are – on their cell phones. Taking the time to think through your processes will help you succeed.

For more information about how to effectively run a text giving program, check this out! Our Text Giving Crash Course is a free, 5-part email series that covers best practices and strategies that make up good text giving campaigns.

Abby Jarvis is a blogger, marketer, and communications coordinator for Qgiv, an online fundraising service provider. When she’s not working at Qgiv, Abby can usually be found reading, finding cool hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Central Florida, or binge-watching sci-fi shows on Netflix.

Author: Kristina Leroux, Community Engagement Manager

I am the Community Engagement Manager at Nonprofit Marketing Guide.com.

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