Text-to-Give for Churches | The Ultimate Guide to Help You Get Started
Text-to-Give is a great way for churches to accept tithes and offerings during Sunday service or at an event. It's also convenient for donors as they can quickly give from their smartphones via text message. Read this guide to learn more and get started with text-to-give for your church right away!
To say texting is popular these days is an understatement. Globally, we send 23 billion text messages every day. That means text messaging isn’t only popular – it’s the norm. Text-to-give for churches is vital in our new world of virtual services and our increasingly cashless society. Now more than ever, offering your supporters as many options to give as possible is the key to a successful fundraising campaign.
Chances are you already accept different kinds of offerings from your congregation like cash, checks, or online contributions. Why not provide an even easier way to give?
With a better understanding of why text donations are important and how to use the feature, you’ll be ready to launch an exciting new campaign for your church in no time.
What is Text-to-Give for Churches?
Text-to-give is just what it sounds like: a supporter giving to your church through text message. Sounds great, right?
You want to give your congregation many opportunities to tithe in whatever way is easiest for them. Text giving is an important option to offer for a variety of reasons and one that is only gaining popularity in the world of churches and religious organizations.
With Donorbox’s text-to-give functionality, your church members and donors will text your Campaign ID to a given phone number, complete the donation through a simple donation form following the link provided, and receive an instant thank-you text message acknowledging their gift.
Text-to-give is an automated, easy way for your supporters to donate to your church or religious organization. Read on to see why your church should consider adding text giving to your fundraising plan.
10 Reasons Why Churches Should Run Text-to-Give Campaigns
Text-to-give is popping up all over the place in churches and other religious organizations as a new fundraising addition or alternative to crowdfunding. Since fundraising as a church is unique and requires a solid plan in order to be successful, read on to learn why text giving might be a great fit to help your church reach its goals.
1. Text-to-give is easy
Since texting is such a common way of communicating, chances are your congregation is most comfortable using text as a technology at this point. When you tell them that text donations are easier and will greatly benefit the church, they’ll be more intrigued to know how.
With Donorbox, text giving involves only a handful of steps for you to set up and even fewer steps for your supporters to successfully give to your church.
And it stays easy. After your supporters initiate text-to-give as an option, all they have to do to tithe in the future is use the repeat donation feature that requires them to send a simple text message, no filling up forms or inputting details required. That means they can give anywhere, anytime. They also have the option to set up recurring donations, so they can give at a regular interval that works best for them.
2. Text-to-give is fast
Once your supporters send their first text message, they get the link to your online form right away. Within minutes, they can make a donation.
No more fumbling to type in a URL on a small mobile keyboard or waiting for an app to download. Text giving is immediate—which means a potential donor won’t lose steam and forget to come back to give later.
Donorbox’s repeat donation feature makes repeating donations even quicker. More on this later!
Instead of paying for a kiosk to accept donations or even an expensive credit card processing software, text giving is a cheap alternative that brings fast results.
With Donorbox, adding text-to-give to your campaign only costs you $19 a month.
4. Convenient for donors
No one carries a checkbook anymore.
Well, almost no one. In a recent survey conducted by Onovative, they found that 4 out of 5 people don’t carry a checkbook. Travis Credit Union found that only 16% of consumers said they regularly carry cash and only 37% carry it “sometimes.” They also found that when people do carry cash, it’s only an average of $46.
Although some members of your congregation might bring their checkbook explicitly to tithe, chances are many forgot or only have a little bit of cash on them.
While they may not carry cash or a checkbook, they most likely have their phones. Asurion found in a recent study that Americans check their phones 96 times a day! Hopefully, they aren’t checking their phones during church service, but that means they almost certainly do have their phones on them. By giving them an easier way to give with the tools they do have, you’re both making them feel welcome and encouraging them to give more regular amounts than whatever cash they happen to have on them.
When it comes to church fundraising, text giving is an incredibly convenient option. By asking your supporters to use text giving, you’re giving them a shortcut to connecting with your online presence and completing their donation in only a few minutes. That’s a win-win!
5. Get your funds sooner
When your church accepts cash and checks, chances are it takes a while for those funds to reach your accounts where they can support your church. They need to be processed by your account managers, recorded, and deposited. With text-to-give, you only have to wait for the funds to be transferred to your account virtually.
6. Keep your supporters’ information secure
Asking your congregation to write down their credit card numbers on an offering envelope is not only old school—it potentially puts their information at risk. Cash and checks might also end up lost or in the wrong hands, meaning you might miss out on donations that were meant for your church.
Once your church starts a campaign with Donorbox, you’ll be asked to choose a payment processor: either Stripe or PayPal. You should spend some time considering which payment processor is best for your church. The good news? Both help you securely collect donations.
With text-to-give, you don’t ever have to store anyone’s credit card information. They can use Donorbox’s secure online donation form to enter their information in a way that is Payment Card Industry Compliant.
Donorbox also allows you to enable payment systems your supporters use all the time like Google Pay, Apple Wallet, and even PayPal. This makes a potential supporter feel even more secure—and it saves them even more time by automatically inputting their credit card information!
Picture this: instead of having to share a lengthy URL with members of your congregation every time you want to encourage them to give online, you just remind them to text “GIVE” (or just your campaign ID) to the text giving number already stored in their mobile phone. Then you can sit back and know that your church is getting donations in the easiest, safest way possible—without any additional upkeep on your end.
With a platform like Donorbox, text giving is entirely automated. This means that your supporters’ texts will always be answered quickly and effectively with the information they need to complete their contribution.
8. Encourage regular giving with recurring donations
Beyond the ease of asking your supporters to simply text a short keyword (like YES) to repeat their last donation, you can make things even simpler by asking them to set up recurring donations.
Recurring donations are donations that automatically draw from your supporter’s credit card at an interval they agree to. They can log into their account at any time to update their giving preferences. With Donorbox, you can offer the following intervals as recurring donation options:
Pro tip: With your Donorbox online donation form, you can also let your donors know which interval you prefer. If you would like your text giving feature to serve as your weekly offering, you might mark that you prefer weekly donations. Here’s an example of what the recurring donation option looks like on a Donorbox form:
This means more donations for your church and an easier, more regular way for members of your congregation to tithe.
9. Increase outreach & accept donations without a physical presence
Accepting offerings only through passing the plate or even mobile kiosks means your supporters have to be in the building to give to your church. After a year like 2020, we know that it pays to have options and that in-person meetings aren’t always possible.
Even beyond that, text-to-give options and mobile-friendly donation forms mean you can reach out to anyone with a mobile phone and encourage donations. Whether they have your address or are only interacting with you through online channels, your congregation should easily be able to give to your church on their own time and even from their own homes.
10. Text-to-give is more private
While passing the offering plate is a good way to encourage donations at the moment, text giving means your supporters have a more discrete option to give—where they won’t feel pressured to give more than they can or worried their gift is too much.
With text-to-give, they can give an amount that works for them and stay connected with your church in a more direct, personalized way. With recurring donations, they can give regularly and adjust their giving schedule to whatever is most comfortable for them.
At the end of the day, you want to support your congregation and your community. Offering a more discrete way to give means your supporters can feel good giving however much they can, whenever they can.
How to Set Up Text-to-Give For Your Church
As a church, you have a unique opportunity to connect with your supporters either live and in-person or through virtual communications. So how do you incorporate text giving into your fundraising plans?
Read on for the specific steps you should take to start accepting text-to-give donations. You can also watch this short video on how Donorbox’s Text-to-Give feature works – explained with steps!
Setting up text-to-give is a way for churches to collect donations in an increasingly cashless world. With a platform like Donorbox, the setup process couldn’t be easier.
Make a Donorbox Account. Setting up an account is quick and free to get started.
Start a new campaign and create an online donation form. You can customize every aspect of your donation form to match your church’s branding.
Link your campaign to your preferred payment processor: Stripe or Paypal. You should take some time to consider which payment processor is right for your organization.
Enable text-to-give on your Donorbox dashboard. Text-to-give is located under the Add-ons dropdown and takes only minutes to set up.
5. Once text-to-give is enabled, your church will be assigned a unique campaign ID. You can locate your campaign ID on your dashboard under “campaigns.” Note that you have to have text-to-give enabled first—so don’t skip that step!
6. Share your campaign ID with your supporters! During your service when you would usually pass around a collection plate, consider encouraging your congregation to try giving with their smartphones by texting your campaign ID number to 1-855-575-7888. You could also add your campaign ID and the text-to-give number to your program, website, and other materials for easy access.
With our short code plan, it gets even easier – a shorter number to remember and type in!
7. Be sure to customize the thank-you message your church members and donors see after they complete their donation.
8. Instruct your congregation on how to use the repeat donation feature. When you’re asking for donations during a service, remind your members that they can text the keyword YES to the same number to repeat their last donation amount. But what’s necessary here is to select the box ‘Save information for future use’ on the donation form during making their first donation.
That’s all! Donorbox handles sending automated thank-you texts and emails with the correct donation receipts. With just these eight steps, you can have text-to-give integrated into your church’s fundraising plans.
Now that you know how to set up text-to-give on your end, you might be wondering what it looks like for your supporters. Read on to see in detail the steps your supporters have to take to give to your church through text message.
1. Your congregation wants to support the church—now they can, even if they don’t have cash on them. Their first step is to text your campaign ID to 1-855-575-7888. With the shortcode plan, donors need to send ‘GIVE’ to opt-in for text messages and then send the campaign ID to the same shorter number 801801. They’ll then receive a text with a link to your online donation form that automatically adjusts to their mobile device for a seamless, easy-giving experience.
This is what it looks like for them:
2. They’ll complete their donation on your online donation form, also powered by Donorbox. To be able to use the ‘repeat donation’ feature, donors must check the box ‘Save information for future use’ (shown in the 2nd image).
Here’s what the online donation form looks like for them:
3. They’re done! They’ve successfully given to your church. They receive a text and email receipt confirming their donation.
4. In the future, they can give again easily by using Donorbox’s repeat donation feature. All they need to do is text the keyword “YES” to the same number to confirm they’d like to give the same amount and then send CONFIRM. This makes giving during your weekly services a breeze!
Donorbox makes text-to-give easy for your church and your congregation. You could be only a few steps away from a new kind of collection—one that’s fun and secure. And will help bring your church’s fundraising into the future.
5 Text-to-Give Best Practices for Churches
Once you have a text-giving setup, you might be wondering…what’s next? How does your church make the most of this new fundraising option?
Keeping some best practices in mind will help your church use all the text-to-give features to its full advantage.
1. Use simple donation keywords
Keep your donation keywords as simple as possible. You don’t want your supporters to have to type out more than they absolutely have to—so keep keywords short and clear!
With Donorbox, there is a list of reserved keywords you can share with your supporters to make giving a snap. Here are the keywords your supporters can text to the text giving number:
Your campaign ID. As mentioned above, you can access your campaign ID from your Donorbox dashboard. This short string of numbers only has to be entered once by your supporters to initiate donations to your campaign.
GIVE. This keyword allows any supporter who has already initiated text-to-give with your church to give the same amount—again! This means an easy donation process for them and another donation for your church.
CONFIRM. This keyword is prompted from the follow-up text sent after the keyword GIVE. This allows your supporter to confirm that they’d like to give the same amount. All they have to do is reply with CONFIRM and they are good to go!
STOP. Because you want to respect the privacy and preferences of members of your congregation, it’s important to give them the option to opt out of text giving if they ever need to. By texting STOP to the text-to-give number, they will stop receiving messages from Donorbox on behalf of your church.
Keeping your keywords simple and self-explanatory makes the donation process easy for your supporters and for you.
2. Walk churchgoers through the process
Although text messaging is a fairly well-known technology, text giving might be new to some members of your congregation. That’s why it’s important to very clearly walk them through the process.
Consider creating some easy-to-access materials with your church branding to explain this process (and to highlight how easy it is!). Here are some ideas to show off the process:
Create a flyer to pass out during your services. Keep it short and simple with interesting graphics so the necessary information like the text-to-give number and your campaign ID are easy to find.
Perform a skit or make a video walking your congregation through the steps to give to your church through text-to-give. It can be funny, on-mission, and informative!
Have the information clearly posted around the church and on your website. Since you’re likely operating in both in-person and online spaces, be sure to post the information everywhere your audience might need it.
Your supporters will appreciate the easy new option to give—and your clear instructions on how to get started!
3. Promote the text giving option
Beyond just showing your congregation how to use text-to-give, you want to make sure you adequately promote it as a convenient new option to support your church. This means making sure the option is clearly promoted on your usual communication channels like:
During service. When it comes time to pass the offering plate, make an announcement about text-to-give. If you handed out a flyer before service, remind your congregation to check those steps to see how they can easily give through text. Highlight the recurring donation option—and the convenience—to show your members the value of this new option.
Through social media. Remember how text giving is great because it means you don’t have to have a physical presence to solicit donations? That means you have to use your virtual platform to get the word out! Make a graphic that’s clean, attractive, and branded with your church’s colors and font.
On your website. Consider making a permanent section on the homepage of your website that highlights the text-to-give option. Although your supporter is already on your website, reminding them that they could give through text message means they might choose that option in the future.
Church bulletins or newsletters. If your church sends communications out to your congregation regularly, remember to include the text-to-give information to encourage them to easily give from home.
Promoting your new text-giving feature in as many ways as possible means you’re doing the most to get the word out. There’s no point in offering text-to-give if no one at your church knows about it!
4. Offer recurring donations
Make the most of text-to-give by offering recurring donations on your online donation form. This means that through just one text, members of your church could set up regular donations at an interval that works for them. And your church has a steady stream of contributions without any extra work!
Network for Good estimates that recurring donors give 42% more per year than a one-time donor. Beyond that, recurring donors are typically even more involved than only the recurring gift.
5. Follow up with donors
Let your church members and donors know they’re appreciated! Whenever you initiate a new giving option, it’s important to let your donors know that they successfully made a contribution. They’ll feel more secure in their giving next time.
Luckily with Donorbox, your thank-you process is automated. When a supporter gives through text giving, they automatically receive a text and an email thanking them for their donation. The email also includes the correct receipt for their donation. You can even customize the email so every donor knows how much your church appreciates their support, as shown in the image below.
Where Can Churches Use the Text-to-Give Feature?
What’s one of the best aspects of implementing text-to-give in your church? It can be used pretty much anywhere.
We’ve looked at how text-to-give frees your supporters by giving them the option to donate from anywhere, anytime. With the right practices in place, so your congregation understands how easy text-to-give is, they can give to you from anywhere at any time.
Here are some places where your church can use text giving:
Specific fundraisers. If you have a specific campaign you’re running, you can use text-to-give to solicit donations for a specific fund, mission trip, or church-wide initiative.
Church events. Does your church have any summer gatherings? How about a fall festival? Having text-to-give ready-to-go means collecting contributions at those events will be easier and more secure than ever.
Virtual drives like marathons. The trend of hosting distanced, online marathons has been rising since 2020. Ask your supporters to sponsor a runner through your text-to-give donation option.
However you decide to use text giving, you’ll be providing a dynamic donation option that your congregation will love to use.
Get Started Today
Now that you know why your church should run a text-to-give campaign and how easy it is to set one up with Donorbox, it’s time to act. By signing up for a free account, you can have your Donorbox online donation form and text-to-give add-on up and running well before your next service, meeting, or newsletter.
Don’t miss out on a chance to collect donations in a way that aligns your church with the times. Your congregation brings their phones to church—it’s time to let them support you that way.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Text-to-Give
Still have questions about how text-to-give can work for your church? Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions.
1. Which is the best text-to-give service for small churches?
If your church is on the smaller side, you’re likely concerned about one thing: budget. Donorbox’s text-to-give add-on is only $19 a month. That’s less than 63 cents a day. If you can get even just a handful of donations through text-to-give each month, it will soon be paying for itself. But if you want a more customized and convenient feel for your donors, you can go for our short code plan as well. It gives all benefits of the basic plan as well as a shorter text number 801801 (easier to remember and type in) and a custom keyword for your campaign. Know more here.
Here’s a tip: consider asking a member of your congregation to sponsor text-to-give for your church. They can simply give a monthly donation through your Donorbox online form that you can allocate for your fundraising expenses.
2. How will the donors know when their donations are processed?
Thanks to Donorbox’s automated features, your donors will know right away that their donations have been successfully processed. If they donate via text-to-give, they will receive both a text message thanking them for their donation and a thank-you email with the correct receipt. It’s important that your donors know as soon as possible that their donation went through. That’s why choosing a platform with automated thank-you messaging is vital for churches.
3. Are text donations ever charged to the donor’s mobile phone bill?
Text-to-give can be interpreted in two different ways:
Through a text message, a user agrees to donate a smaller amount through their phone bill. This means that they pay for the donation when they pay their monthly phone bill, and their cell phone carrier is responsible for distributing funds. This means the church or religious organization benefiting from the donation has to wait to receive their funds, too.
A user texts a keyword to a text-to-give phone number and receives a link to the church’s online donation form. The user completes the form and submits their donation, getting charged immediately. The church gets the funds directly from their preferred payment processor without waiting for the next billing cycle.
Although some larger churches still opt for the first option, many churches prefer the quicker access to their funds that the second option provides. The second option also prevents your donors from feeling confused at the end of the month when they see an extra charge on their phone bill.
With Donorbox, you get your text-to-give donations as soon as they hit your payment processor. No waiting around for funds to be distributed—and no complicated accounting.
Plus, Donorbox’s repeat donation feature means your donors can give the same amount again, easily.
4. How can donors donate to my church using Donorbox’s text-to-give functionality?
Although this article walks you through the step-by-step process of text giving, you might still be wondering generally how it works. Here, we’ll break the process down into three easy steps:
First, your donors send your unique campaign ID to 1-(855)-575-7888. (with the short code plan, they need to opt-in for text messages through the ‘GIVE’ keyword and then send the campaign ID to 801801.)
They receive a link to your church’s online donation form. Upon clicking that link on their smartphones, it automatically opens in their mobile browser.
Donors complete the donation form and hit submit. That’s it!
They receive an automated thank-you text message and email with their receipt.
Next time they want to donate, all they have to do is text YES to the same number. Once they confirm they’d like to give the same amount to your church again, they’re done—the donation goes through easily and quickly.
And you’re done, too! The funds hit your account right away so you can do the most to support your church, your congregation, and your community.
Lindsey spent years wearing many hats in the nonprofit world. Whether she was helping arts nonprofits with their messaging and content, planning a fundraising gala, writing an NEA grant proposal, or running a membership program with over 400 members, she learned how to navigate – and appreciate! – the fast-paced world of fundraising. Now, she loves sharing those hard-earned lessons with the Donorbox community.