Nonprofit SMS Marketing

Event-Based Text-to-Give: What It Is and How to Do It Well

Event-Based Text-to-Give What It Is and How to Do It Well

Nonprofit organizations can ask for donations in myriad ways. For example, common tactics include a TV ad promoting a phone number that supporters can call, to signs that include an organization’s website. But one of the most effective modern methods is text messaging.

In the United States, more than 97% of people own a cell phone. The number of smartphone users has more than doubled since 2011, reaching 85% in 2021. The ubiquity of these devices is an excellent opportunity for nonprofits to streamline fundraising and make mobile donations as painless as possible. 

SMS messaging is a highly effective tool for nonprofits in general. But this technology is particularly advantageous as a part of in-person fundraising events. By focusing donations into one secure texting pipeline, gathering donations at an event is easier than ever. A nonprofit working to expand its reach and increase fundraising should take advantage of our collective reliance on smartphones. When people trust that SMS donations are a safe way to donate, they’re more likely to invest in a cause they care about—and it just takes seconds to send money.

Let’s dive into the details of text-to-give and how to incorporate it into your events. 


What Is Text-to-Give?

Text-to-Give (or text giving or Text2Give) is a way to direct and encourage donations using SMS messages. It is an effective fundraising channel for nonprofits, valid for a wide range of applications.

Your nonprofit promotes a “short code” phone number. These are usually 5 to 6 digit numbers, making them much easier to remember than longer personal phone numbers. Supporters send a predetermined keyword to this short code, opting them in to receive donation links and other messages. Once the donation link is sent back to the subscriber’s phone, they can tap the link and donate whenever they would like. This link goes to a donation webpage through their smartphone web browser. Donations are then available through credit cards, debit cards, or even by adding the amount to their upcoming cell phone bill. 

Event-Based Text-to-Give What It Is and How to Do It Well

Keywords and Donation Pages

On the nonprofit organization’s side, you will need to register a short code and decide on specific keywords. After a supporter sends a keyword and taps on the link, the donation page itself should be straightforward and mobile-friendly. Each step should be clear for people new to this process or less familiar with their smartphones.

Text-to-Give is becoming more and more popular with nonprofits since there isn’t a minimum donation amount and the system only needs to be set up once. Encouraging quick donations of any amount is an excellent way for nonprofits to gain a groundswell of support. This method of giving also creates a sustainable subscriber list of donors for the future. While text-to-give should be central to all fundraising campaigns, it is perfect for in-person events. 


How to Use Text-to-Give at Events

Set up a specific time for people to text your short code and submit their keywords at your event. If appropriate for your nonprofit, designate keywords for different initiatives and programs. Instead of posting the short code and assuming attendees will follow the steps, integrate your SMS donation links into the event. Although text-to-give may seem confusing or difficult for an in-person gathering, that perception couldn’t be further from the truth. Try the following tips to use text-to-give at your next fundraising event.


Tips for a Successful Event-Based Text-to-Give Program

Make the text-to-give process straightforward.

Communicate the steps required for text-to-give as clearly as possible. Try explaining things a few different ways while avoiding repetition. Some attendees may have never sent text messages to a short code or donated online before, so do everything you can to ensure they feel comfortable doing so. 


Designate time for text-to-give.

While people can text your number and send money at any time, set aside a block of time during the event specifically for people to text their donations. Text-to-give is a streamlined process and shouldn’t take very long, but it’s easy to let conversation, presentations, or food and beverages dominate your guests’ time and attention. Don’t miss out on donations because people were too distracted or engaged in other activities. Make the designated text-to-give time fun and encourage giving within that short, focused window. 


Be transparent.

Provide clear information and give supporters options for how they want their funds used. Use different keywords and provide options on your donation web pages so supporters can choose where their money will go. Show them the impact their donation will have. Be as transparent as possible to help them feel more comfortable donating.


Send follow-up messages after the event.

The event may end, but your text-to-give program doesn’t have to. Let attendees know they can use your short code to stay in touch. This is also a perfect time to mention options for recurring donations and future funding opportunities. Send attendees and donors follow-up messages and thank-you texts after the event. They’re a valuable part of your nonprofit’s future. If they feel appreciated and receive updates on your cause, they’ll be more likely to continue supporting your organization. 

Event-Based Text-to-Give What It Is and How to Do It Well


Boost Your Fundraising with Text-to-Give

Nonprofit events can be stressful and overwhelming, but a text-to-give system can make a big difference. Consolidating your fundraising efforts can help you focus on the event itself. By setting up a subscriber list and asking supporters to send keywords to donate during the event, meeting your fundraising goal will be easier than ever. Not only that, but you’ll also be setting up your team for future success. 

Tatango offers advanced tools and clear dashboards for organizing your text-to-give strategy. Track progress, set goals, keep subscriber data secure, send follow-up messages, and much more. To learn more about text-to-give and get started preparing for your next event, contact our team of experts today.

Jump to Content