Acquiring new donors can be very expensive for Non-Profit Organizations (NPO). Text2Give offers a simple way for NPOs to collect a small amount of money ($5 or $10) from a large number of donors. Users simply text a keyword (ex LIBRARY) to a short code (20222) to donate. The money is instantly charged to their mobile phone bill. So the giving couldn’t be simpler. The tough part is getting them to give. You have to use traditional and digital marketing to build awareness about your campaign.
Best places to promote your campaign:
- Live Events: Live events are the perfect venue for Text2Give. We have found that you will not see great success with signage alone. Anytime you have a live audience becomes the perfect time to make the ask. Taking advantage of the spontaneous donation is the key.
- Social Media: Create a customized Facebook application to build awareness. Donors can enter their mobile phone number into the app and automatically get a text to their phone to complete the donation. Twitter is also a great way to get the word out about your campaign.
- Partners: Engage corporate partners to share the word about your campaign. Text2Give donation amounts are small. It is all about building as much awareness about your campaign as possible.
- Print: At live events, make sure the keyword and short code are available via signage, in the program and in targeted direct mail promoting the event so donors can easily access it and learn more about the cause.
Keys to getting your campaign noticed:
1. Clearly state where donations are going: People want to know what their money is going towards and they need to care about it. If they have just been educated on a troubling issue they are more likely to make that connection that their $5 will go towards fixing that issue vs. a general ask for a donation. http://customer.givebycell.com/gbc/marketing/gautemalanTextBooks
2. Make people feel something: Using images and compelling headlines that immediately evoke emotion will help you drive donations. People need to immediately connect with the cause and feel compelled to donate. Here are a couple examples of how to do it. SAD: http://hua.org/blog/view-our-new-commercial-about-puppy-mills/ FUNNY http://ihateballs.com/
3. Create a sense of urgency: Even if there is no said “disaster” you can still evoke a quick action from your audience by creating a timeline or goal that needs to be reached by a certain date. At live events you can even use the real time reporting to keep people updated about how the campaign is doing. Ex. We’re half way there. Please donate before the end of the show to help us reach our goal of $10,000.
4. Connect with people when they are most receptive: At one organization they found by simply moving the sign to the front entrance as people are waiting in line to buy tickets for an event was more successful than the sign at the exit or even within event. They found that people in line were bored and were more likely to read the sign and do something about it.
5. Celebrity Influenced: Society responds when their favorite celebrity is supporting what they too feel is a great cause. Examples include Alicia Keys at American Idol: http://www.dosomething.org/blog/celebsgonegood/idols-give-back-15-million
Text2Give campaigns can be a cost effective solutions for acquisition, but without the right approach to drive awareness, you won’t see the results.
Last month I wrote a blog Text2Give – Is Mobile Fundraising Right for Your NPO? Text2Give is a great vehicle for new donor acquisition because it is automatic and only asks for a nominal donation. However, limiting current donors to only $5 or $10 donations doesn’t make sense. So, I wanted to introduce another mobile giving option, Text2Pledge. Text2Pledge is a great addition to a live event or annual fundraising gala. Supporters can donate any denomination right from their mobile phone and the charity keeps 100% of the collected funds. Here a quick snapshot of the differences between Text2Give and Text2Pledge.
||501(c)(3) organization that meet Mobile Giving Foundations minimum requirements including having annual gross revenues in excess of $500k and being in operation at least one year.
||Any 501(c)(3) organization
||$5 or $10 donations
||Donations are charged directly to the donor’s wireless carrier.
||Charities receive the pledge’s mobile number and dollar amount to follow up and collect funds.
||Typically 8-12 weeks.
||Can be setup in about 2 weeks.
||24/7 real-time access to web-based reporting tools.
Who To Target: Text2Pledge often works best with existing donors who like the convenience of donating via phone, but don’t want to be constraint to a low dollar amount.
How It Works: Displaying a live webpage with a real time pledge counter and instructions on how to pledge at your live event can be very powerful. Donors can write quick messages of support with their pledge, like “$500 in memory of my mom” or “$1000 from ABC Corp. We’ll double it if you pledge $1k too.” They can even just pledge anonymously. Seeing the funds grow right there at the event and allowing members to get involved in a personal way by adding a message generates excitement and an energy traditional pledge cards can’t.
1. Get the Crowd Warmed Up: It can be a little tough to be the first one to donate. Break the ice by integrating instructions on how to donate right into your agenda. “Everyone get your phone out! Start a new text message by entering 95613…” Actually submit a pledge so participants see it on the screen and have staff walk around and help donors that are unfamiliar.
2. What Was That Number Again? You probably can’t or don’t want to leave the live webpage up for the entire event. Integrate Text2Pledge instructions at the tables or in the program allows guests to access them easily. Then keep reminding them through the night to participate. This is particularly powerful after a moving speaker or video. You can also acknowledge the pledge counter when a large donation comes in or a message calls out a challenge or a touching sentiment.
3. Stop the Presses? Mobile giving offer convenience, instant gratification and a green alternative to pledge cards. So, it’s alluring to want to drop the traditional methods from your budget. However, mobile giving is still a relatively new concept. Offering traditional pledge cards, even in limited quantities, in addition to Text2Pledge is advised until wide spread adoption is obtained. You will have a few folks that like the way they’ve always donated and don’t want to change. You don’t want to miss out on any pledges however they come in!
4. Don’t Forget the No Shows. Typically Text2Pledge works best during live events, but since it employs mobile and web based technology, it can be accessed from virtually anywhere. So let key donors that can’t be at the event know about the webpage. They’ll see the pledges rolling in and can donate remotely. It gives them the ability to be involved even when they can’t be there in person.
Have you started using or investigating mobile giving for your NPO? If yes, how is it working? Do you have other lessons learned you can share with other charities considering adding it?
When news of the devastation in Haiti was all around us, the Red Cross made a simple plea – Text a $10 donation to help the relief effort. Did you donate? I did. After watching countless stories about the toll taken I took a couple of seconds to text a keyword and donate. It was effortless and made me feel that I was helping, even though it was in such a small way. Ten dollars doesn’t seem like much to give, but because it was so simple and the need so great the Red Cross raised $32 million with these small donations. What is even more incredible is that 95% of the donations came from new donors!
Text2Give has only been around for a couple of years, but because the donation requests are low, the billing is automatic and sending a text message so familiar it is changing the way charities acquire new donors. The real power of Text2Give is in its immediacy and its ability to expand the number of people involved in charitable giving. People can donate at the precise time they are emotionally moved to make a contribution.
So is Text2Give the right approach for all non-profits or for all fundraising efforts? Here are some things to consider when determining if it is right for your organization:
1. Not all non-profit organizations (NPO) will qualify. The NPO must meet the following requirements:
- They must be exempt from income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
- They must be registered as a soliciting charity in all states in which the solicitation will occur. In the event of multi-state solicitations, the NPO must be a registered as a soliciting charity in all states requiring registration, unless sponsored by a qualified 501(c)(3) organization who is registered in all states requiring registration.
- The organization shall be in good standing in its state of incorporation and have been operational for at least one year.
2. Text2Give works best for acquisition campaigns. Mobile Giving allows you to reach a larger, more diverse audience and offer them the opportunity to act quickly, easily and on their terms. Once they have donated, engage them via a text campaign to strengthen the relationship and educate them about your cause.
3. Text2Give needs to be integrated into your fundraising strategy. As I mentioned, Text2Give allows people to donate at the precise time they are emotionally moved to do so. Therefore, integrating it into live events or in response to a global tragedy, like Haitian relief work well. However, many NPOs don’t address global tragedies or have lots of live events. In order to get the most out of this tool you really need to find many opportunities to insert Text2Give into your campaigns – press releases, social media, web, etc. There’s an art to determining when to push your traditional fundraising methods and when to use Text2Give, but in order for mobile giving to be successful it needs to be a strategic tool.
Not familiar with Text2Give? Check out one of our current campaigns with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation – text REEVE to 20222. Note: You won’t be charged unless you confirm the donation.