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Text-to-Donate: Everything You Need to Know


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Published December 6, 2023 Reading Time: 7 minutes

Text-to-donate is a great fundraising tool you can leverage to engage your audience through their mobile devices—and there’s never been a better time to get started.

There are 310 million smartphone users in the United States as of 2023, and these users interact with their devices hundreds of times daily.¹

The prevalence of this communication channel makes it an easy choice for expanding donor stewardship. Some donors might even prefer it.

If you’re looking to get started with this feature, our guide will tell you everything you need to know.

Text-to-Donate vs. Text-to-Give

While the terms sound similar, text-to-donate and text-to-give are two different categories of mobile fundraising.

What Is Text-to-Donate?

One of many effective and efficient donor engagement strategies, text-to-donate leverages the popularity of text messaging to connect with potential donors. To participate, supporters text a designated keyword, such as “DONATE,” to a nonprofit’s text-to-donate number.

This triggers an automatic response inviting the supporter to donate through a provided link. The link directs them to a mobile-friendly donation website where they can enter their information and payment details.

Text-to-Donate on Classy

What Is Text-to-Give?

Text-to-give services invite supporters to text a keyword to a specific number if they want to donate to that advertised cause. However, they don’t get directed to a donation page through that text.

Instead, by texting the number, they agree to a set donation amount, typically between $5 and $25, which gets added to their monthly phone bill and eventually passed to the nonprofit behind the mobile text fundraising campaign.

Key Differences between Text-to-Donate and Text-to-Give

There are several crucial distinctions between text-to-donate and text-to-give. Understanding the limitations of text-to-give versus text-to-donate can help your nonprofit choose the approach that will maximize donor engagement and feed mobile giving revenue.

The key differences between text-to-give and text-to-donate include:

  • Donation code:
    • Text-to-give asks donors to send a text to a short code number (for example, text “DONATE” to 34512).
    • Text-to-donate uses a code similar to a regular phone number (for example, text “DONATE” to 888-555-1234).
  • Payment type:
    • Text-to-give adds a set donation amount to the supporter’s phone bill they pay as established with their carrier.
    • Text-to-donate allows supporters to choose the amount they want to give and complete their payment through preferred methods. Donation payment processing options include PayPalVenmoApple Pay, ACH bank transfer, and credit cards.
  • Interface:
    • Text-to-give relies solely on text messages.
    • Text-to-donate replies to a supporter’s text opt-in with a URL to your organization’s branded donation page.
  • Organization size:
    • Text-to-give requires nonprofits to submit an application, pay an application fee, and meet a minimum fundraising requirement of $500,000 annually to use the feature.
    • Text-to-donate is available to nonprofits of all sizes.

3 Reasons to Use Text-to-Donate

Text-to-donate is a great option for nonprofits for several reasons, in addition to the benefits highlighted above.

1. Build More Opportunities for Donor Stewardship

Text-to-give’s limited transactional messages hinder nonprofits from fostering deeper connections with supporters.

Text-to-donate, on the other hand, allows you to tell your story and showcase your nonprofit’s brand by linking out to robust, mobile-friendly campaign pages. Using these methods to convey your mission to donors and connect with them on a more personal level helps build longer-term relationships.

Because text-to-donate directs supporters to a traditional donation form, nonprofits can collect valuable donor data they wouldn’t receive through text-to-give donations. This can significantly improve donor management processes as new supporters join your cause with the click of a button.

Nonprofits can also use the information gathered through text-to-donate campaigns to take advantage of text message follow-ups with donors, which have a high open rate historically. You can use these text messages to encourage future donor involvement through volunteering, fundraising events, or other donation opportunities.

Text-to-donate provides stewardship and nurture opportunities for post-event follow-up with donors who completed a donation or started to convert but never completed their gift.

James Martin

CEO of Rally Corp, Classy partner

2. Leverage Options for Recurring Giving and Higher Donations

Rally Corp’s internal platform data reveals that the average donation amount for in-person text-to-donate appeals in 2023 was a staggering $680. When evaluating their platform’s in-person and online appeals, the average text-to-donate gift size has grown roughly 10% year over year.

Whereas text-to-give caps off at lower amounts, such as $5 or $10, text-to-donate links supporters to a traditional donation form with an open field where donors can give as much as they want.

Donors can also select from different recurring donation frequencies. This means that what would be a one-time donation of $10 through a text-to-give campaign could become a monthly $10 donation that compounds over the course of a year through a text-to-donate effort.

Text-to-donate is an app-less, frictionless first step that lowers the barrier to entry for nonprofit giving. Once you’ve engaged a donor, the next question becomes how to nurture that individual over time

James Martin

CEO of Rally Corp, Classy partner

Nonprofits can leverage pass-through parameters to preselect recurring donation options when supporters click on the donation form link. Similarly, donors can text their desired donation amount, which will populate a pre-filled donation form upon landing.

Catholic Answers turned to Classy’s text-to-donate integration with Rally Corp with hopes of donation volume growth, and that’s exactly what they achieved. The nonprofit experienced an 80% conversion rate, smashing their Giving Tuesday goal by 123%.

A whole world opened up because Classy’s capabilities were far above and beyond anything that our previous tool offered.

Dave Matheson

Director of Development at Catholic Answers, Classy customer

3. Make Event Giving Easy

Events are a perfect time to use text-to-donate features. Offering attendees an event-specific keyword simplifies the text-to-donate process and allows them to select from a list of preferred payment methods.

For example, if you’re a food bank hosting your annual No More Hunger Gala, you could tell attendees to text “NO HUNGER” to your text-to-donate code to support your mission.

Additionally, text-to-donate allows virtual attendees to participate in the fun and contribute to your fundraising goals. You can promote the feature through social media and engage with participants through posts and stories throughout the event to thank them for their support.

6 Best Practices for Text-to-Donate

Once you’ve decided to add text-to-donate to your fundraising strategy, there are a few steps you can take to get the most out of the mobile device feature.

1. Optimize Your Donation Form for Mobile

If it’s difficult for donors to complete their donations on mobile devices, they’ll likely abandon the process before converting.

To ensure they make their gifts successfully, keep the URL to your online donation form within your text message short. Use pass-through parameters to pre-fill sections of the donation form, such as donation amount or frequency, to spare your donor’s time.

Overall, your mobile donation form should be concise and compelling, collecting only the basic information you need to process the donation and steward each donor post-transaction. You can always follow up for additional donor information if needed.

For additional insights, check out these 7 Essential Tips to Make Your Nonprofit Mobile-Friendly.

2. Keep Your Keyword Simple

Your keyword should be unique to your event and not in use by another fundraising campaign. That ensures it stays on brand with your current initiative.

Select a word or phrase that’s memorable, obvious, and easy to spell. That way, you avoid simple mistakes that might cost you conversions.

3. Make a Timely Ask

Text-to-donate is an excellent way to tap into real-time giving and create a sense of community-wide urgency around your campaign.

You can use the power of text-to-donate to encourage gifts during a fundraising event when a donation match is announced or other specific initiatives.

When you prompt your supporters with a specific action, you encourage an engaged audience to participate rather than just spamming cell phones.

4. Promote Text-to-Donate Widely

It’s one thing to have access to the text-to-donate feature and another to ensure your supporters take advantage of it. So make sure to promote your text-to-donate option widely. Some ways to spread the word include:

  • Information in event RSVPs, flyers, and reminders
  • Instructions on how to text-to-donate in social media posts
  • Reminders from event emcees about how to use the feature
  • Updates about the feature in your email marketing
  • Success stories of supporters giving via text-to-donate on your website

5. Use Text-to-Donate Year-Round

Text-to-donate isn’t a stand-alone event feature. Instead, consider it an integral element of a year-round engagement strategy. Make it part of every campaign and let your donors know it’s always a convenient donation option.

To reinforce text-to-donate as a perennial option, integrate it into your regular communication channels. Mention it in your newsletters, social media posts, email signatures, and website. Highlighting text-to-donate in stories of how donations make an impact can inspire immediate action.

6. Focus on Lifetime Value

It’s critical to view every event-based text-to-donate conversion as the beginning of a relationship. This approach shifts the focus from a one-time transaction to the lifetime value of a donor.

The journey doesn’t end when the supporter converts—it’s about turning that initial engagement into a sustained relationship. This means revisiting and refining your strategies regularly to keep up with changing donor behaviors and preferences.

Rally Corp’s Thank You TimeMachine automatically sends thank you messages to donors around giving anniversaries, helping effortlessly maintain that intentional bond. Additionally, proactive text message automation (for example, post-event abandoned cart nudges) encourages donors to complete their contributions and re-engage.

Continual development also means remaining open to innovation. So stay informed on the latest trends in text-to-donate and mobile engagement and be ready to adapt your strategies accordingly. This could involve experimenting with different messaging styles and donation prompts or incorporating new payment options to accommodate donor preferences.

Find Tools That Work for You

Leverage the power of text-to-donate with Classy Live. The donation process is easy with just a few steps:

  1. Define the keyword for your event or campaign on Classy Live.
  2. Have supporters text the keyword and the amount they want to donate to your code number. For example: Text “MYEVENT 50” to 888-555-1234 to donate $50.
  3. Once supporters send the text, they’ll receive a mobile-friendly URL directing them to your Classy-powered donation page. Ensure this donation page is on brand to align with your unique campaign and elevate your nonprofit story.

Learn more about Classy Live’s features, from text-to-donate to the Classy Live mobile app, paddle-raise functionality, and table seating management. Classy Live offers various event management tools to power in-person, virtual, and hybrid event experiences.

Make It Easier with Rally Corp

Rally Corp’s integration with Classy empowers nonprofits to easily incorporate text-to-donate capabilities into their Classy fundraising strategies. This integration streamlines the donor experience to make it as seamless and engaging as possible.

When donors engage with your Classy fundraising pages and donate via text, their contact information gets automatically added to your Rally Corp SMS/MMS campaigns. This saves time and ensures your donor database is always up to date, allowing for more targeted and effective campaigns moving forward.

Contacts from Classy then get tagged in Rally Corp’s text-to-donate platform, letting you create more personalized and targeted text messaging campaigns. This level of segmentation means you can tailor your messages based on donor interests, past donations, and engagement levels, leading to more effective fundraising efforts.

Explore the Classy x Rally Corp Integration

Increase Donor Stewardship and Event-Based Giving with Text-to-Donate

Text-to-donate is a great way to meet your donors where they are, whether at your next event or a spring appeal. Take advantage of the ubiquity of mobile device usage to fundraise without compromising opportunities for donor stewardship.

Copy Editor: Ayanna Julien

Article Source:

  1. “Smartphones in the U.S. – Statistics & Facts,” Statista, last modified June 6, 2023,
woman in white shirt and glasses looking at cell phone

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