Fundraising by Text is the New Norm

Texting is now a commonly preferred method of communication between individuals and the organizations they trust. So, fundraising by text messaging is a no brainer.

Everyware is a software company that provides Text to Give and Two-Way Messaging solutions for modern nonprofit organizations, the ones who recognize the great connection and collection potential that comes with text messaging. After working with nonprofit organizations of all kinds to roll out their text-based fundraising and donor connection initiatives, we have seen what works best and what should be avoided. We have decided to compile the lessons learned into this list of best practice strategies that are sure to help your nonprofit make the most of text messaging technology.

Follow These 5 Strategies for Text Based Fundraising Success

  1. Market Your Mobile Number
  2. Text Everyone You Know
  3. Ditch the Short Code
  4. Pre-Event
  5. Event Day

Strategy #1: Market Your Text to Give Mobile Number Far and Wide

Build it and they’ll come, yes. But not until you TELL them you’ve built it. Strategy #1 is to plan a major awareness campaign for your organization’s new and convenient Text to Give option.

Market. Your. Mobile. Number!

Plaster it everywhere! Everywhere you put your website or email address, also put your text messaging number. Whenever you tell your community to “Donate Now” or “Follow us on social media” also include “and Text Us at (Enter designated text messaging number here).”

Do not hang another sign, put out another collection box, publish another social post for the cause without “Text [DonateKeyword] to [MobileNumber] Give” prominently situated as your Call to Action. Update your team’s business cards and email signatures to include your mobile number and even a Text to Give button embedded. Email your contact list and invite them to save your number.

Or better yet, enact Strategy #2 ...

Strategy #2: Text Everyone You Know

You probably have a donor management platform or a spreadsheet with a list of names and numbers for your active contributors and volunteers. And you now have a Text to Give two-way messaging number. Strategy #2 is to mobilize your base. Email them. TEXT them!

Whether you manually import your contact list to your messaging platform or integrate with your contact management platform to stand up your first Welcome Message Campaign - load in those contacts and send them a “Hello.”

We recommend sending a personalized welcome message that’s short and sweet. A little intro, an invitation for your contacts to stay engaged and take advantage of the Text to Give option. If nothing else, it’s an invitation to get your contacts to just save your messaging number to their phone.

Try something like these example Welcome Text Messages:

  • Hi [CONTACT FIRST NAME], Thanks for sharing our mission to help disadvantaged kids! Save this number to your phone and text any time for updates, questions, or volunteer opportunities. - Karen, Everyware4Hope
  • Or you could try something more systematic with fancy keyword automations for opt in replies: “Hi [CONTACT FIRST NAME], Text back the code word Flipper to opt in for quarterly text updates from [ORGANIZATION NAME] and please save this number to your contacts.” This is your no-pressure, Just-Saying-Hi welcome text that’s great for preventing ‘Who is this?’ replies to your messages later on.

Strategy #3: Ditch the Short Code

After working with many clients on their SMS fundraising efforts, the team at Everyware has discovered the crucial differences between long codes: ten-digit phone numbers like the ones we know and text Mom on, and short codes like ‘Text 1234 to donate to this no-reply line.’ Both have their merits. Here’s our take…

Long Code Send Strategy

We suggest sending text campaigns to your donor contact list from your trustworthy ten-digit mobile phone number. One that forwards to your office should a donor wish to follow up with a call. One they may have already saved to their phone’s contact book (because of your excellent mobile giving number marketing mentioned in Tip #1). The drawback to sending a text campaign to donors from a long-code phone number is that cell carriers will only let you send 1 message every 1-3 seconds. This means you have to strategically time your ‘Send’. You have to chunk and sequence your outbound messages. It’s not an instant launch with a kick-back-and-wait for donations to roll in method. It’s more of a Send, pause, breath, repeat method. Trust us, this approach will produce the best results over time.

Short Code SEND Strategy

In contrast, using a short code allows you to send to thousands of donor phone numbers at once. You don’t have to think too hard about your timing. You just send and you’re off.

The drawbacks: Your donor can’t see your saved phone number in their address book. They may not realize it is you texting them and delete the text right away. Cell carriers tend to block these massive, short code text campaigns too, more so depending on the volume coming from one number. You must apply for the short code you want to use, don’t get to keep it forever, and depending on your messaging platform, may have to pay an extra fee.

But again, you do get to blast the texts instantly, which we understand for some live fundraising events, makes plenty of sense.

Strategy #4: Pre Event

Outbound solicitations by text are NOT recommended without preempting your audience with advanced marketing. We already recommended Welcome messages and announcements of your new Text to Give mobile number. You should also use pre-event announcement campaigns to rev up your audience before a big fundraising event day.

Here are some Rev Up Text to Give Pre-Event example messages:

  • “Don’t forget Giving Tuesday is this week! Give to #Everyware4Hope live on 12/1 and the Future Foundation will match your donation!”
  • “Countdown to the #Everyware4Hope5K 7 more days till the race! Register & tell friends to text #Everyware5KTeamSandy to pledge donations to your race team”

Make sure in text, email, or any marketing material leading up to Fundraising Day, you provide very specific calls to action for your donors. Even though it’s easy to text a word and follow prompts to give a donation, it’s a good idea to give donors a nudge by telling them exactly how this thing is going to work. For example:

Remember, if you’re using a long code number, to make sure there is enough time between the full outbound text launch and the live event start time to get all your preshow messages out … well … pre-event.

Tip #5: Live Event Day

Although promoting your Text to Give mobile number prior to an event is of the utmost importance, it’s also just as important to promote during the event itself.

Shoot a Today’s the Day text message saying something like:

  • “Good Morning! See you at the track for Everyware4Hope5K. Racers and walkers pick up packets under the red tent.”
  • “Today’s message should set you on a positive path for the week. See you at 10 AM service, friends.”

Your emcee should direct attention to your Text to Give number, which of course is prominently placed at the main podium, on the announcer screen, on volunteer t-shirts, and in various other easy-to-see spots around the venue. Throughout your live event, remind attendees to text the fundraiser’s code word to make donations and pledges from their phones. Make it easy for your event emcee to fund the need by also posting your Text to Give number on the day’s promo video footers, pop-ups, event t-shirts, brochures, banners … you get the idea.

Be the Next Text Fundraising Success Story

Finally, here is a recap of the 5 strategies for successful text-based fundraising the Everyware team deems important:

  1. Market Your Mobile Number
  2. Text Everyone You Know
  3. Ditch the Short Code
  4. Pre-Event
  5. Event Day

We have many more ideas, case studies from our nonprofit clients, message templates and more to share. If you’re not already set up for text messaging and Text to Give, it’s so easy to get started with an account at, or text us at (561)-404-1462 and we’d be glad to lend further expertise.