How to Use Text-to-Donate to Power Your “Giving Tuesday”

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September 15, 2022
Anna Davies
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“Giving Tuesday” has been a way to reflect, give back, and donate in the run-up to the holiday season. The concept was introduced in 2012 as a global generosity movement and is being recognized this year on on December 1st.

Of course, this year, local, national, and international organizations have greater needs than ever before. The COVID-19 crisis has led to people facing economic hardships, and organizations are facing uncertainty in giving. That’s why Giving Tuesday can be a great way for small businesses and local organizations to connect with nonprofits to drive donations, cement partnerships, and use the power of text-based connection to encourage people to give to campaigns. Here’s how — and how to do it for your business.

Text-to-Donate: Look at What Works

Recently, T-Mobile partnered with Little League to create the T-Mobile Little League Call Up Grant Program, which helps kids play in Little League by covering registration fees. Not only did T-Mobile donate $10,000 for every home run hit during the World Series, but it encouraged individuals to text the phrase “Little League” to a textable number to trigger an automatic $5 additional donation from T-Mobile toward next season's registration fees in the texter’s local community.

T-Mobile Little League Call Up Grant

The result? An initial $20,000 spend resulted in an incredible 866,000 opt ins and $2 million donated to the Call Up Grant Program.

This multi-layer text-to-donate initiative has several elements that small businesses and local organizations can mimic.


1. Partner with a Local Organization

Before you create a text-to-donate campaign, consider: Is there an organization that makes sense to work with? Maybe your company has a connection with it, or maybe an employee or founder has a larger story they can share on your website or social media feed. Having a very clear “why” can make it easier for people to donate. The donation does not have to occur in a vacuum, either. One of the reasons why T-Mobile’s campaign was successful is that they targeted donations toward the recipient’s zip code. That allowed recipients to feel like they were helping in their community. For Giving Tuesday, it can be helpful to organizations in need and to your cause if you focus on the community angle, and find a project that means something to you and makes a difference to your community.


2. Find the Feel-Good Factor

With so many communities suffering, it can be tough for would-be donors to assess where to give. The T-Mobile and Little League partnership was able to pinpoint a small, specific, tangible need that would make a difference in the recipient’s local community. While T-Mobile donated their own funds for the $5 additional to go toward registration fees in a texter’s local community, picking a small number that makes a big difference can allow people to give spontaneously.

3. Put Some Skin in the Game

T-Mobile putting up serious cash showed donors that it wasn’t just doing lip service. The company was willing to provide donations and explaining why the donations were important. Matching donations can be a great way to have a “we’re all in this together” mentality that can make people feel excited and incentivized to donate.


4. Make it a Game

Commit to a set number going to charity, but encourage people to interact with the initiative by setting up some sort of challenge. T-Mobile donated major sums based off home runs, but you can be creative depending on your resources and your industry. Maybe you donate $50 for anyone who actually orders a Ghost Pepper taco, or donate if people can correctly answer obscure store trivia.

The point: Make it fun, make it dynamic, and make it something people will keep coming back toward.


5. Make it Simple

The best thing about text-to-donate campaigns is that they can be spontaneous. Having a number and message to text can make it easy for everyone to get involved. Lowering the barrier to engagement — one number to text, proactive texts to customers asking if they’d like to donate — can allow a donor to respond in the moment, instead of pushing the ask aside for later — which can very often turn into never.


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