How to use Text Fundraising to Raise More

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Text fundraising is a great alternative to traditional fundraising. Not only do text messages have fantastic open and response rates, your donors likely have their phones with them wherever they go. According to 99 Firms, the average open rate for text message marketing campaigns is 98%, compared to a 20% open rate for email marketing campaigns. Additionally, they report that 90% of text messages are read within three minutes of receipt. That means your donors are reading and responding to your appeals quickly when you ask for their support via a text message campaign.

If you’re looking for new ways to engage with your supporters and offer them opportunities to support you, read on to learn how text message fundraising can help you raise more.

What is text fundraising and how does it help?

Text fundraising is the practice of asking for and accepting donations via text message. Notable organizations like the Red Cross have used text fundraising to raise significant funds to support their crucial work. At one time, text fundraising seemed out of reach for most nonprofit organizations. But nonprofits no longer need a Red Cross-sized budget to make use of this fundraising tool.

How text fundraising works

Text fundraising works by encouraging donors to text a keyword (often referred to as a short code) to a phone number to indicate their intent to donate. Nonprofits choose the keyword and are assigned a phone number.

Text fundraising works in one of two ways: Text-to-give/bill-to-carrier or text-to-donate.

A text-to-give service, often referred to as bill-to-carrier, is simplified for donors. They simply text the text fundraising keyword and confirm their zip code to donate. The keyword corresponds to a specific giving amount and that giving amount is added to their phone bill and your nonprofit receives payment from the Mobile Giving Foundation.

Text-to-donate works similarly to text-to-give. Donors text a keyword to your organization. The difference is that once the keyword is texted, the donor will receive a link via text to your mobile-friendly donation page. They can select the donation amount and giving frequency on your form and complete the donation form just like they would on a laptop or tablet. With many services, you can adjust the amount of information you collect from donors to cut down on the time it takes to make a gift. Text-to-donate services often include outbound messages to supporters, which makes it ideal for reaching supporters quickly for an emergency appeal.

Qgiv offers both text-to-give and text-to-donate text fundraising tools.

How text fundraising helps

Text fundraising tools are great for raising funds quickly. They’re perfect for situations that require your nonprofit to raise money quickly.

Consider text fundraising for:

  • Emergency appeals
  • Giving days
  • To kick off capital campaigns
  • In conjunction with fundraising events

Why are text messages so effective in these situations? Text appeals are most likely to be seen by your supporters (We’ve all Pavloved ourselves into checking our phones when we hear a text notification!).

How to make the most of text fundraising tools

If you’re thinking about adopting text fundraising as part of your fundraising strategy, consider these tips for getting the most from your text fundraising tools.

Opt donors into your fundraising appeals

Text fundraising appeals may be read quickly, but before you send texts to your supporters make sure they’ve opted into text messages from you. If you don’t have at least oral consent from donors to send them a text appeal, you may find yourself in hot water. It’s easy to stay in compliance with text marketing regulations and build a great contact list for your text fundraising efforts.

You just need to focus on obtaining consent from your existing and future donors. An easy way to accomplish this is through a consent checkbox on your online donation form asking for permission to contact donors. Donors who check this box are giving you consent to reach out this way. You can add donors who consented to contact to your text fundraising contact list.

Another easy way to obtain consent is encouraging donors to sign up for your text messages themselves by texting your text fundraising keyword. When they send in this text they’re opting in to messages from you. Some text fundraising tools, like Qgiv’s Mobile Suite, will then add them to the appropriate contact list automatically.

Check out this blog post for more text fundraising opt-in best practices.

Create text fundraising keywords for year-round fundraising

While text fundraising works best for short-term fundraising, it’s also easy to make it work for year-round fundraising too. Keep your organization’s text fundraising keyword active and include it as an option in your appeals throughout the year. For those who prefer to give via text, this will be an ideal way to make their gifts.

If your nonprofit has several different funding areas you could generate multiple text keywords to make it easy for your supporters to give to the specific funding areas that speak to them too.

Text fundraising can be used to encourage recurring donations too. Both text-to-donate and text-to-give have options for setting up recurring gifts. This means text fundraising can become an asset to your annual fundraising by onboarding or upgrading more recurring donors.

Send outbound text messages sparingly

Text messages from your nonprofit will be noticed by your supporters. Too many outbound messages from your organization can be off-putting. Remedy this by using your outbound messages sparingly.

If you were to send an outbound message daily, even your most devoted supporters might stop reading your messages due to feeling overwhelmed. Compassion fatigue is real and can contribute to donor attrition. Instead, limit yourself to 1-2 outbound messages a month and reach out only if you have an important need or an important piece of information you need to share with your supporters.

Of course, there are some exceptions to the rule. If you have an event-specific contact list or an outbound text message list for your volunteers, you can send more frequent messages leading up to a fundraising event or major volunteer opportunity. Once those events end, be sure to pull back to your regular cadence of 1-2 messages a month.

If done well, your outbound text messages may even be able to help you retain your donors.


Text fundraising provides a quick and easy way for donors to support your cause. Because of a high open rate and the rapid response to text appeals, text fundraising offers an opportunity for nonprofits to raise money quickly for a variety of reasons like emergency appeals, giving days, and capital campaigns. It can also boost your donor retention and year-round fundraising efforts. By adhering to text fundraising best practices your nonprofit can take its fundraising to the next level with these tools.

Looking for more information on text fundraising? We’ve got you covered!

Additional Resources

Written by Shay Lessman, of Qgiv

Shay Lessman is a writer and editor with a passion for helping nonprofit organizations succeed. He has experience in fundraising communications and has written several successful grants. He is also a proud pet parent of two very naughty dogs. When he’s not working at Qgiv, he can usually be found writing poetry, playing games, or listening to podcasts.

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