How to set up a text donation service for your charity

How to set up a text donation service for your charity

We hope you find this guide to setting up a text donation service for your charity useful. If you want to proceed to set up a service for your charity, please contact a service provider (for example, JustTextGiving or instaGiv) directly.

Receiving donations via SMS text messaging has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its ease-of-use and convenience for people who are on the go, short of time, or don't have cash on them. Around 89% of adults in the UK own a mobile phone, so it's a fundraising channel with huge potential.

Using a text donation service, you can create a unique code that makes it possible for people to donate simply and quickly - typically, this donation is then added to the user's monthly phone bill or debited from available funds on a non-contract mobile phone.

In 2010, the campaign to raise funds for the earthquake aftermath in Haiti drew lots of attention to 'mobile giving'. Yet text donations are by no means limited to large, well-known organisations; charities of all shapes and sizes can benefit from setting up such a service. Here are a few tips on how this can be done.

Identify your objectives

Brainstorm with your team and discuss the reasons why you want to launch a text donation service. What added benefits will you or your supporters gain from it? Do you have a budget in mind? Do you need to retarget donors after they have made their initial donation with a view to building a long-term relationship? Use these ideas when selecting your service provider and promoting your campaign.

Find a service

Shop around for a text donation set-up service best suited to your charity. One of the most popular platforms is JustTextGiving by Vodafone: a free service, with no running costs or commission, where your charity will receive 100% of every donation, plus Gift Aid. The drawbacks are that the maximum donation amount is £10, plus you will not be able to access any donor data, meaning you won't be able to contact them in the future. Regular donation by SMS is an exciting development as it puts monthly giving and communication into one device (the mobile phone). A service that offers this is instaGiv: their platform offers a whole range of social media tools and is designed specifically with the idea that text donations can be gathered on a regular, monthly basis, without the need for direct debits or credit card details.

Register for a campaign code

Registering your charity with a service provider is a relatively simple process, but you should have important details - such as your charity's registered name and commission number - at hand. You will also need to have decided on your campaign keyword (the code that donors will write in their text) before you begin. This is usually six figures long and can contain both letters and numbers. Try to make the keyword memorable and related to your charity name or cause.

Start promoting

Once you are set up with your service and have your keyword it is time to promote it. Although it shouldn't replace your existing donation methods, it makes sense to promote it alongside your existing methods on your website and any newsletters or flyers. In addition to this, promoting text donations at fundraisers (such as summer fetes and fairs) can be very effective; people may not bring cash to these events but are still keen to make a donation.

Please note: Markel UK do not endorse or recommend any one product and this information is intended as a guide only.


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