The Fundraiser - Practical advice and insight for the charity sector

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7 tips to get the most from text donation services

Text giving can be an important approach in individual fundraising when used correctly. However, all too often we hear of failed campaigns. Here we identify seven key learnings and approaches to ensure maximum income generation…

Firstly, some definitions:

  • Keyword – the word that supporters will text to make their donation
  • Channel – the amount being donated e.g. £1, £5, £10, £20
  • Text number - the telephone number your supporters will text the keyword to. Note that charity text numbers in the UK begin with 07. 

1. Choose a memorable keyword

Text giving platforms should allow you to select your own keyword. Choose one that is short, memorable, relates to your cause and does not have homophones (e.g. avoid words such as NIGH, BARE,DEER). Always test the ease of the keyword with your colleagues and friends before committing to it.

2. Plan a verbal ask carefully

If you ask people to give but have not warned them in advance then they will have forgotten the keyword and text number whilst fumbling for their phone and going to their phone’s text service.

Find a time at the beginning of an event to explain there will be a text give opportunity at a later point. Then, when the ask is made your audience will know they need to pay attention.

3. Be present (don’t be a voice of God)

When making an ask be visible to your audience if at all possible, rather than relying on a microphone and speakers.

When the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation made a text ask at rugby stadiums, Doddie Weir walked to the centre of the pitch: £25,000 was donated.

4. Demonstrate the process

Make a verbal ask from the stage, take people slowly and patiently through the process; ideally holding a phone and mimicking the actions. Do not rely solely on printed communication and signs to encourage donations; they don’t work.

5. Offer Gift Aid and monthly giving options

Choose a text donation service that allows the donor to add Gift Aid and convert their one-time gift into a regular monthly donation. The DONATE service does this.

6. Make it easy

Support any verbal communication with printed communication, e.g. on-screen, on tickets, banners etc. Work hard to ensure audiences can remind themselves of the text giving process during the event.

7. Announce and thank

Audiences love to know how much has been given. Thank verbally, announcing (or better, showing) the amount raised.

William Makower is Founder Trustee of National Funding Scheme.         

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