How to Set Up Text-to-Donate | Step-by-Step Guide

How to Set Up Text-to-Donate | Step-by-Step Guide

how to set up text to donate

In 2020 alone, we all sent 2.1 trillion text messages. That’s an increase of 52 billion messages from 2019. 2021 is bound to increase even more.

That’s why more and more organizations are turning to text-to-donate to help pump up their fundraising numbers by using a mode of communication almost everyone is comfortable with. It’s quick, easy, and effective for your donors—and it can be just as quick and easy for you to get started.

With just a handful of steps, you can take advantage of this one element of mobile giving that is becoming more and more accessible for all sizes of organizations. In this article, we’ll show you how to set up text-to-donate with Donorbox’s easy-to-use tools.


What is a Text-to-Donate Campaign?

Text-to-donate campaigns use keywords and an organization-specific text-to-donate number to allow donors to support your organization directly from their mobile phones. The steps for your donor should be simple: text the keyword (like “GIVE”) to the number and receive a link to the organization’s online donation page. Complete the donation online, and boom! The donor has successfully contributed.

You can share your keywords and text-to-donate number with potential donors in a variety of ways including in-person, through social media, and on any physical handouts, you have.

Text-to-donate can work for an organization of any size. It does work particularly well for causes that have some urgency like emergency relief campaigns, churches, schools and universities, and political campaigns. If your organization doesn’t fall into one of those categories, text-to-donate can still help you fundraise for specific campaigns.

Pro tip: If you are new to text to give fundraising – give a read to the Text-to-give ultimate guide  – the blog covers all the basics of text-to-give fundraising, top platforms, best practices, and more.

how to set up text to donate


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

Text-to-Donate and Text-to-Give are essentially the same—both are ways to donate via mobile texting/SMS. Although both of these terms are used interchangeably, there are some technical differences between the two.

Text-to-donate is a form-based method, meaning your donors text a keyword to a number and receive a link to give through your online form. This means your organization gets access to the contributed funds right away. Also, that you ultimately have control over filing your donor information, encouraging recurring donations, and thanking your donor right away.

On the other hand, text-to-give is a carrier-based method, which means your donors give via text message; no form involved at all. They text a keyword to the text-to-give number and whichever amount they choose to donate is added to their phone bill. Although this can be a useful method, it means your organization has to wait until the carriers process the donation and get the funds to you.

Note: Donorbox offers an easy way for mobile giving with their feature Text-to-Give, which allows donors to quickly give via their mobile phones and repeat the donation. The donors receive a text containing the link to the donation page that is hosted on Donorbox, where they fill out the donation form and donate. They can also repeat the donation by simply sending an easy-to-remember keyword, without having to fill the donation form again.

Read on to see how easily you can set up a text-to-give campaign with Donorbox so you can make this important option available to your donors ASAP.

how to set up text to donate


How to Set Up a Text-to-Donate Campaign

If you think text-to-donate could be a useful fundraising tool for your organization, here are the steps you can take to make it a reality. In this section, we’ll look at the following steps:

  1. Set a Campaign Goal
  2. Build Your Donation Form on Donorbox
  3. Create a Text-to-Give Campaign on Donorbox
  4. Find Your Campaign ID
  5. Promote Your Campaign ID Across All Marketing Channels
  6. Use Repeat Donation Feature to Increase Donations

We have also created a video to show you the steps to set up a text-to-give campaign with Donorbox. Check it out here –


Step 1: Set a Campaign Goal

This step is important with any new fundraising adventure. Get your key team members together and ask the following questions:

  • Do we have an urgent need to build this campaign around? This can be new supplies for your work in the community or funds to help your community.
  • How many donations do we need in order to fulfill those needs?
  • Is our goal realistic? Can we break it down into concrete examples for our donors? Remember that donors respond to fundraising that’s open and honest about what the numbers can do. Be sure to tell donors exactly what their donation can do. I.e., “with a donation of $30, we can provide one household with one meal.”
  • Will we reach this goal with text-to-donate alone or will we incorporate other fundraising efforts?

Once you have a clear idea of how this campaign will work and what you need to get from this campaign, you can move on to actually creating it on Donorbox.


Step 2: Build Your Donation Form on Donorbox

You’ll need to create a campaign on Donorbox after signing up for a free account. Once you’re in your account dashboard, simply click “Create Campaign” to start.

how to set up a text to donate

After entering your campaign information, you can customize both your donation form’s appearance and what kind of information you’d like your form to collect from donors.

Here’s what the donation form editor looks like on your end:

how to set up a text to donate

Once you have your form to your liking—keeping in mind options like recurring donations and asking your donors to cover your fees—you’ll need to choose your preferred payment processor. Once that’s all set up, you’re ready to start working on your text-to-give component.


Step 3: Create a Text-to-Give Campaign on Donorbox

From your Donorbox dashboard, go into “Add-ons” and enable Text-to-give. You may choose the basic plan or the short code plan that includes all the benefits of the basic plan as well as a shorter code number 801801 (that’s easier to remember and type in) and a custom keyword for one of your campaigns.

It’s that easy to get started! You’ll soon be on your way to collecting fast donations through Donorbox’s text-to-give feature.


Step 4: Find Your Campaign ID

Once enabled, you can find your unique campaign ID by returning to your main dashboard and looking at your campaign. This is the unique code your donors will text to the Donorbox text-to-give number (1-855-575-7888 or the short code number 801801) to initiate giving to your organization.

how to set up text to donate

Your donors can simply text your correct campaign ID to the text-to-give number to start the donation process. They can text STOP if they ever want to opt out of text-to-give. Anyway, Donorbox only texts them in response to their keywords.

With the short code plan, your donors will need to send an opt-in keyword ‘GIVE’ to initiate the text-to-give process with Donorbox, and thereafter, they will need to send the campaign ID.

Here’s what it looks like from your donor’s end when they send a campaign ID to the text-to-give number:


Step 5: Promote Your Campaign ID across All Marketing Channels

Once you have your campaign ID and the text-to-give number handy, it’s time to share it with the world.

When it comes time to promote this exciting new option, consider sharing with the following channels:

  • Social media. Of course, you’ll want to make a post outlining the text-to-give process. Create an easy-to-read and attention-grabbing graphic with your campaign ID and the text-to-give number centralized. If you use Instagram or Facebook stories or even Facebook Live, make some fun, engaging content encouraging your followers to try it out.
  • Email. When you send an email to update your current donors (or potential donors), include a section announcing this new fundraising option. Donors will appreciate having another way to give and soon-to-be donors might take advantage of the option!
  • Direct mail. Sending something out to your supporters is a great way to announce this new feature and to encourage some new donations. Create materials that look good and are clearly written with instructions about how to use text-to-give to support your cause.
  • In-person. Do you have an office, an upcoming event, or a weekly gathering? Spread the news about text-to-give in person via an announcement or signage that people can engage with.


Step 6: Use Repeat Donation to Increase Donations

Once someone gives to your campaign via text-to-give with Donorbox, they can give again by simply sending the keyword “YES”. They’ll be asked if they want to give the same amount again and all they have to do is text “CONFIRM.”

This means that you can encourage donors to give again in an even quicker way than ever before. The quicker the giving, the more likely you are to increase repeat donations and the more overall contributions you’ll have.


Set Up a Text-to-Donate Campaign Today

how to set up a text to donate number

You already know how important it is to give your donors as many ways to contribute to your organization as possible. Whether you’ve been collecting donations online, through the mail, or in person, you want to be sure to offer each donor a way to give via their preferred method. And inevitably, for some of your donors, their preferred method will be texting.

There’s a reason why there’s a meme about young people preferring text messages over phone calls; texting is low effort, easy, and fast. With Donorbox’s text-to-give feature, adding a text-to-donate option to your fundraising strategy is just as easy on your end.

To learn more, check out these text-to-give FAQs. For more fundraising tips, check out the rest of our nonprofit blog.

Lindsey Baker is a writer and nonprofit professional, drawing from her experience working various roles at an art nonprofit. Over the years, she has learned keen administrative and development strategies to make every aspect of a nonprofit's fundraising strategy shine.

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