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How to Use SMS Fundraising for Your Nonprofit

Get a handle on SMS fundraising and how it can help your nonprofit increase donations and engage with donors.

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July 28, 2023
Kathleen Crampton
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Reading time about 5 min

They say that money isn’t everything, but that’s not always the case in the nonprofit world.

If you’re part of a nonprofit, you know how crucial it is to acquire funding. Donations help you provide services, pay employees, and keep the organization afloat. While there are many fundraising ideas for nonprofits, one of the most effective is SMS fundraising.

Learn how to use this tactic to get donations quickly and easily – so you can continue to fulfill your nonprofit's mission.

What Is Text-to-Give Fundraising, and How Does It Work?

Text-to-give fundraising is a type of mobile fundraising that allows nonprofits to simply send text messages to their donor base, who can then text to donate. It’s a convenient tactic for nonprofit organizations to request donations at scale and a convenient way for donors to give.

It works like this:

You use an SMS marketing agency, like EZ Texting, that incorporates a contact management system. That way, you can organize current and potential donors and schedule and send the right messages to the right people at the right time. Then, your donor either a) texts a keyword to a dedicated short code or b) taps a link in the message that takes them to your donation page.

If you go with option a, once the donor texts the code to the number (like “GIVE” to 123123), they’ll receive an auto-reply with a link to your mobile donation page. (Hint: This is all done via your SMS marketing service.) Another way to receive payment with this option is by using a software service that allows the texted code to trigger a charge to the donor's cell phone provider (who later transfers the payment to your nonprofit and bills the donor).

If you use option b, the donor can give a gift by tapping the link to your mobile donation page.

How Can SMS Fundraising Help Nonprofits?

Timing is everything. With SMS fundraising, your nonprofit can quickly engage with current and potential donors. While you don’t want to spam your campaign base, well-timed and personalized messages can keep your donors engaged and boost attendance at fundraising galas and other events.

Some events, like disaster relief, require immediate responses. When you utilize text-to-give fundraising, you’re upping your chances of getting instant donations – because people open and read text messages more frequently and much faster than emails. SMS fundraising allows you to reach people instantly with time-sensitive information. A donor can learn about and donate to a cause in less than a minute.


Tips for Using SMS Fundraising

So, how do you use SMS fundraising to increase engagement and boost donations to your cause? Here are our hot tips for using text fundraising effectively.


Keep Messages Clear and Impactful

While the open rates for text messages are quite a bit higher than those for emails, that doesn't mean you get your reader's attention for free. With text marketing for nonprofits, you need your messages to convey why you want the person to donate clearly. What is the event or need that's triggering your fundraiser? Briefly state it, and provide the tangible solution (aka how this person's donation will help).

If you’re worried that you can’t accurately convey the full context of the fundraiser or the cause in a text message, don’t worry! You can include more information on your mobile donation page. The text message serves as the first step.


Provide Consistent Messaging

One of the tenets of a successful marketing campaign is ensuring that your brand messaging is consistent across all touchpoints – nonprofit fundraising campaigns are no exception.

Ensure you're promoting your fundraiser consistently in your text messages, social media posts, email campaigns, and website. While, in this case, your goal is to have people text to donate, they may be seeing your fundraising campaign on different channels, so it’s crucial to give them a cohesive experience.


Include a CTA

You want your donors to take action, so make it as easy as possible for them to do so. Include a clear call to action (CTA) that includes either a short link that takes them to your mobile donation page or a dedicated text-to-give fundraising short code.

It’s important to create a sense of urgency along with your CTA to motivate the person to donate ASAP.



This is another instance where your SMS marketing service makes your life much easier.

Because your service should have a contact management system, you’ll have access to your contacts’ names and other helpful information. Use the contact’s first name in your text messages to help them feel more personally connected to the fundraiser.

Fostering a personal connection with clients and customers is important in any marketing campaign as you’re growing your business. But it's especially so for nonprofit fundraising – it helps foster relationships so potential givers can become lifelong donors.


Follow Up with a Thank You

Always, always, always send a follow-up message thanking the person for their donation. It's a polite practice and a way to communicate the donation's impact on your cause.

How To Write a Fundraising Text Message

So, how do we put these tips into action? Here are some sample fundraising text messages you can use to inspire your nonprofit's campaign.


Sample SMS Message

This message is personalized, clear, and concise with the problem/solution and invites the reader to take action with an emotional CTA plus a text-to-give code.



Sample SMS Message

This text-to-donate message creates a sense of urgency by noting that it’s the person’s last chance to give. The message is short and impactful, providing a clear CTA and a link to the mobile donation page.



Now that you have the tips and tools for SMS fundraising under your nonprofit belt, it’s time to start a fundraiser. Once you’ve determined the fundraising event, use these best practices to reach a wider audience, boost engagement, and increase donations to your cause.

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