How effective are text-to-donate services?

In today’s guest post, Eric Bryant shows us another technology tool that can automate parts of your nonprofit’s operations — automated donations, in this case. Eric is the head of Gnosis Media Group, which provides text-to-donate services for nonprofits and other organizations. 


There is a plethora of research out there indicating that your nonprofit will raise more money with an SMS donation service in your fundraising mix than it will without one. Offering SMS donations to your donors increases the number of opportunities your organization will have to collect donations from your prospects.

Consider these statistics:

  • mGive reported that nearly 85% of prospective donors surveyed said they would like to give more money via mobile.
  • Mobile donations increased 45% in 2015 during the giving season, according to an NPEngage article.
  • In one recent year, PayPal experienced a 31% increase in mobile donations during #GivingTuesday
  • CallHub, an SMS tech company, reported that texting yields 8x higher engagement rates than email and a 19% clickthrough rate, the highest of any medium
  • In a 2016 survey, GiveByCell, a text to donate provider, reported that 34% of donors were more likely to give via mobile than they were in 2015.
  • Dunham & Company, a nonprofit marketing agency, found that 1 out of 4 donors uses her mobile device to visit a charity’s website, social media page or blog.
  • Dunham & Company also found that 86% of smartphone users under 40 used their phones for transactions, and 53% of those aged 40-59 had done so.
  • Text Request reported that the average American sent 6 texts per day, and Nielsen reported that texting was the most widely used service in the world in 2013.

The data indicates that SMS donations increase your overall reach, giving you new audiences that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to connect with. As younger audiences have begun to move away from traditional giving and towards mobile giving, adding this technology to your fundraising mix means your nonprofit will be best positioned to meet prospective donors where they are.


Two Main Types of Text Giving Services

Basically, there are two types of text to donate services. One is a text to give; this is where a donor texts a keyword to your short code, and later donor’s mobile carrier bills him $5 or $10 extra on his bill. Once the donor pays his bill, the mobile carrier sends you the donation.

The second type is sometimes known as a service whereby the donor makes a pledge by text message. It works the same as the other, except that the donor’s phone bill is not billed. Instead, the donor is sent a payment link (like Paypal) to complete her donation.


Is Donating By Text Effective?

Absolutely. Think about it — people carry their cell phones everywhere nowadays. On the beach. In the delivery room. In the movie theater. There is nowhere people go where they do not take their phones. Texting is one of the most ubiquitous, effective forms of communication ever invented.

Texting is fast, simple and easy. And it’s built in by default into every phone manufactured. No app to download, you don’t even need a data plan or WiFi in many cases. Texting is one of the most underrated business technologies around.

For good or ill, we’re on our phones now more than ever. With text to donate, you can reach prospective donors wherever they are, and know with 97% certainty they will read your message.

So the moral is: If you’re not taking advantage of texting for fundraising, you could be missing out on an essential component of your fundraising marketing mix.

Eric Bryant is a social entrepreneur who has been building telephony and SMS applications since 2008. A creator at heart, he won a full scholarship to The University of Texas at Austin for classical piano in 1993. In 2007, he began teaching himself Javascript, PHP and Ruby in the evenings while working as a marketing professional by day.

Eric started Gnosis Media Group (GMG) in 2008, a communications consultancy whose first successful product was a text-to-donate application for nonprofits. In 2015, GMG was awarded the distinction of “Tech Company to Watch” by the Connecticut Technology Council. The following year, GMG was accepted into the award-winning ReSET Social Impact Accelerator, a nonprofit business incubator. Soon after, GMG received significant funding from Backstage Capital, a Los Angeles venture capital fund. When he isn’t coding, Eric enjoys power naps, reading philosophy, playing chess, and bowling.




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