Text giving has been steadily growing over the past few years, but news that Barack Obama’s new presidential campaign will be encouraging text donations is a real sign it’s entered the mainstream.

Back while Obama was spearheading the use of social media to garner support for his first presidential campaign, charities and non-profits were already moving forward with the use of text giving.

Then it was the new giving tool on the block, it empowered donors wanting to give smaller sums to donate to worthwhile causes simply at the touch of a few buttons.

But with 50 million mobile phone users in the UK, text giving is growing in popularity and any charity – no matter how big or small – can take advantage of it. Here’s some things to consider before you take the text giving plunge or if you’re evaluating your text giving provider.

Getting Started

Depending on your charity and campaign you need to decide what you want from your text giving provider. Some providers allow your supporters to choose their donation amount by including it in the text message, others have a fixed amount based on the number – or shortcode, in text lingo – the donor texts.

For example, after the floods in Manila earlier this year Global Giving were urging people to “Text GIVE 9651 to 80088 to donate $10” to the Philippine Flood Relief Fund, using a keyword as well as shortcode. It’s also possible to give donors a range of fixed amounts to choose from to make your text giving appealing to any pocket.

Getting it out there

Whatever way forward you decide, text giving can’t be done in isolation – you’ve got to let the world know about it!

Just because text giving is a digital donation method, don’t think you can rely on your website or social media to promote the code. Get your keywords and shortcodes out there in the real world, too, where people are using their mobiles – not their desktops.

If your supporters are running a marathon or a 10K – your keywords and shortcodes need to be on their t-shirts to maximise your brand and donations, if you are giving out postcards, leaflets or freebies at an event they need to be on those too, same goes for posters, banners and any other promo materials.

Spreading the word

Some non-profits have also had great success with educating their supporters about how to use text giving, making them want to try it out, and pass it on to other potential supporters.

Earlier this year Marie Curie Cancer Care reported that they had raised £12,000 in their biggest annual fundraising campaign – The Great Daffodil Appeal – via text donations. They had almost double the response on the same fundraising period in 2011.

Together with their provider, Textlocal, they invited supporters to donate £1.50 by text. They also launched a national advertising campaign showing people how to donate via text in major publications and venues across the country.

You should also think about encouraging text donors to tell their friends.

Reporting and Payments

When choosing a provider it’s vital that you make sure they provide regular, trustworthy and transparent reporting. You want to be able to see what you are raising and know when the payments will occur, and what cut (if any) your provider will take.

For example, JustTextGiving provides weekly donation payments and quick and easy access to reports, and gives you 100% of your donations – but not all providers are as transparent or good value. So, before signing on the dotted line – get your provider to confirm when you’ll be receiving donations and that they’ll be keeping you updated via monthly reports.

It’s also important to know who your main point of contact is and build up a relationship with them, often it’s in their best interests too that your charity is pulling in as many text donations as possible.

In it for the long haul?

Because your shortcodes and keywords are going to be emblazened all over your charities t-shirts, banners, posters, publications, mugs, mousemats and goodness knows what else – you need to make sure that you are happy with your text giving provider and that your campaign has legs.

It’s going to be a mighty expensive learning curve if you have to ditch all that promotional material if you decide to switch your provider or change tack mid campaign!

So what are you waiting for?

The sheer ease of text giving and the growth of mobile means that it’s well worth investigating – if it’s good enough for Obama – then it’s good enough for us!

If you need some help with your online fundraising then give us a call on 0161 660 79 49, or e-mail hello@reasondigital.com.

Reason Digital News