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Text-to-donate vs. text-to-give

Nearly all (96%) of Americans own a cell phone and 25% of donors use their mobile devices to find nonprofits that they didn’t know existed. With so much access to and time spent on our phones, let’s dig into how you can use these devices to your advantage and up your text giving game.


We love the ease of implementing text-to-donate for any size nonprofit organization. In this scenario, you prompt donors to text a keyword or code to your chosen number and from there, they are presented with a reply text that provides a link to your campaign landing page. There are no minimum requirements to set up this type of program and you are in control of the messaging and landing page content that your donors receive.

Benefits of text-to-donate programs

  • There’s no limit to how much a donor can contribute
  • There are options for recurring gifts
  • Less overhead for nonprofits
  • Any size organization can implement

In a text-to-donate campaign, you also receive your money rather quickly and you are able to collect donor information so they remain in your CRM for future engagement.


Text-to-give campaigns are quite simple in that once it’s set up, the phone company does a lot of the heavy lifting for you, but you also need to be a pretty large organization with expansive reach for these to be successful.

The short of it is that through text-to-give, donors are asked to contribute a set dollar amount by texting a specific keyword to a displayed number. Their donation is then collected via their phone bill and then the phone carriers provide lump-sum checks to the organization at the campaign’s end.

Benefits of text-to-give programs

  • Appealing to donors to choose from easy (smaller) donation amounts
  • Automated collection by phone carriers
  • Works well for national and international NPOs

Keep in mind that there are some non-negotiable regulations for these types of campaigns to work. One is that you must be a nonprofit 501(c)(3) status in operation for at least one year, and the other is that you must earn a minimum of $500k in gross revenue each year. It is also a more costly option overall as there is overhead to pay the organization that will be needed to work as the ‘broker’ to go between your organization and the cell phone companies to get your donations into your accounts. Lastly, in a text-to-give program situation, you may not always be able to collect the donor information for follow-up or to ask them for gifts going forward.

An important note: Be transparent about the technical differences between text-to-donate and text-to-give campaigns. To your donors, they may sound like one and the same and they are not always knowledgeable that one uses their phone bill and the other is a direct-to-the-source landing page option. Provide easy explanations and directions so it’s crystal clear to donors.

Learn more about text-to-donate campaigns

Many online giving platforms have text-to-donate options built into their system. At 4aGoodCause, we provide users with the ability to configure text-to-donate keywords on any donation page campaign. We would love to show you how it works!

For additional best practices and additional tips on how to boost your text giving program, check out our free webinar on demand, “Text-to-donate for nonprofits: Benefits, use cases and steps to launch your next campaign.”

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald is the President and Founder of 4aGoodCause, the fundraising CRM that makes recurring, monthly giving a breeze for small nonprofits.

For over 25 years, Ronald has had the joy of doing what he loves, building online solutions that make a difference in the world. He’s helped raise millions of dollars online for small nonprofits across the country. Connect with Ronald on LinkedIn.

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